Plastic Pollution Solutions

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Plastic trash on the beach.

Plastic production is expected to quadruple by 2050, compounding waste levels and climate effects. By raising awareness, modeling reusable behaviors on TV and greening sets, entertainment can play a pivotal role in helping audiences envision a world free from single-use

On Screen

The Media Impact Project, in collaboration with Plastic Pollution Coalition, conducted a content analysis to measure the prevalence of single-use plastic and reusable items in popular scripted television shows. They analyzed 64 episodes of 32 popular shows from the 2019-2020 season.

28 Average number of single use plastic items featured per episode.
93% of plastic was not disposed of on screen
13% of TV shows included dialog about plastic pollution


  • Allow characters to be plastic-conscious. Storylines and dialogue are not the only way to show this. Character traits can be subtle ways to show both awareness and solutions to the plastic problem.
  • Swap out single-use plastics for package-free or non-plastic reusable items where feasible.
  • Avoid replacing single-use plastics with bioplastics, as many bioplastics are also problematic.
  • Show how plastic pollution is connected to human health issues, environmental justice, and the climate crisis.

Kat Cora, director of Marry Me, said that after reading the Habits of Waste initiative Lights, Camera, Plastic?, she made it a point to write reusables into the script, allowing stars like Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson (pictured) to bring their personal passions for reducing plastic to their fictional characters.

On Set

38,400 Number of water bottles studios purchase every 60 days
$5,489 Money saved every 60 days when studios switch to water coolers and reusable bottles.
6% Amount of savings when studios buy compostable dishware.
  • You can also do away with disposable dishware altogether. Imagine a set where each person has their own plate and set of utensils.
  • You can set up dishwashing stations and help nurture a cooperative team mentality.
  • If you use a catering company, ask them to supply reusable plates and utensils.
  • Crafty is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste. Buy in bulk. Get a giant bin of pretzels, a huge bowl, and a set of tongs.
Philadelphia-based Fishtown Films has been a zero waste production company since 2016. Later this year, they will be releasing their first full-length feature, Citywide, a production that generated only 16 oz. of trash during three years of filming.