Story of Plastic Film

Thank you for your interest in the topic of plastic and plastic pollution.


In this blog you will find comments/reviews about the Story of Plastic film from local experts and members of the Plastic Reduction Working Group, as well as resources related to the topic.


Story of Plastic


Please find the following information below:


  • Commentaries on the Film
  • Questions and Answers
  • Local Resources
  • Plastics in the News
  • National and International Organizations
  • Mariner East Project


Commentaries on the Film

Cathi Lehn, Sustainable Cleveland Manager, City of Cleveland Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

See here for comments


Lisa Beursken, Recycling Coordinator, Republic Services

Every year since he was eight years old my father went to Pennsylvania to go fishing with his family.  My father continued this tradition with us.  The pipeline entered Potter County Pennsylvania somewhere in 2011-2012, where my family has been going fishing for over 50 years. Sometimes people can’t see past the short economic shot in the arm versus the long-term effects that fracking has on their health, community, and livelihood by contaminating groundwater.  Residents there were and still are experiencing methane in their drinking water, health issues, air quality concerns, and pipeline explosions.  Although my family continues the tradition of fishing there, we never eat the fish or drink the water.  I will continue the family tradition of taking my son, but we will not eat the fish or drink the water.


From grassroots litter clean-ups, beautification projects to the government policy changes of banning bags and single use plastics we are starting to see change. Change….change in society, change in behaviors, change in consumerism.  We are in the middle of a waste revolution where consumers want responsible producers to provide an end of life plan, a circular economy with their products.   That waste revolution starts with plastic, how to manage what we already have, how to reduce or redesign plastic materials so they are bio-based and biodegradable. 


Reduce, Re-use, Recycle – they are the three words that were ingrained in me since the third grade. So why is it that there was so much emphasis on recycling the last step and not reduce or re-use?  Why were we not taught to think about waste and product end of life when shopping?

Why were we not taught to reuse like the generations before us?  Why were we taught to be reactive instead of proactive?


Jill Bartolotta, Extension Educator, Ohio Sea Grant

The film The Story of Plastic is a wonderful film about the issue of plastic pollution. Unlike other films, The Story of Plastic talks about many of the health concerns associated with the manufacturing of plastic and management of plastic waste. The film also connects climate change to the overuse of plastic and improper management of plastic waste. Overall, The Story of Plastic does an excellent job of introducing the many issues arising from a global society that is dependent on plastic. A story that gives the facts but addresses the human side of the problem as well.


Questions and Answers

  • Question: Where can someone recycle the plastic containers that contain kitty litter?

Answer from Carin Miller: Assuming s/he means the bucket-style containers of kitty litter, there are no recycling options for this kind of plastic. The best bet is to offer them up on a site like, NextDoor, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. I know many people who do this and they usually get someone who is willing to take these items and repurpose them. They are great for storing things like bird seed, pet food, potting soil, compost, etc.


  • Question: If we were to impose a tax on plastic products made from virgin, unrecycled plastic such that products made from that plastic were more expensive than products made from recycled plastic, how much would that add to the prices consumers pay?

Answer from Jill Bartolotta: I am not sure of the exact number but it is more costly to recycle plastic than to make it from virgin plastic (at least right now since oil prices are so low). So items made from recycled plastics will cost more than plastics made from virgin products.


  • Question: Would a tax be an effective means of increasing recycling and reducing plastic contamination of the environment?

Answer from Jill Bartolotta: We have seen bottle deposits as effective means for people recycling plastic, cans, and glass bottles in other countries (Norway is a very good example) but also here in the US. Michigan has a bottle deposit program and they find very few, if any, cans or bottles on their beach cleanups because these items have a value so people are more willing to take them back because they get money. It is not a tax but a bottle deposit program.


Answer from Kristin Hall, Director of Sustainability, City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability: An example of what your question refers to is being considered in California with their single use packaging proposal. Legislation such as this face the challenges of enforcement just as the single use disposable grocery bag bans encounter.


Should Governments Slap a Tax on Plastic?


Local Resources

  • Sustainable Cleveland’s Commitment to Waste Reduction & Recycling

Blog by Chief of Sustainability Dr. Jason Wood


  • Sustainable Cleveland Waste Reduction and Composting Blog


  • Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District


  • Surfrider Foundation-Northern Ohio Chapter


  • Drink Local Drink Tap


  • Sierra Club Ohio Chapter


  • Great Lake Erie Boat Float


Plastics in the News

Plastic pollution, explained

Microplastics have moved into virtually every crevice on Earth​
August 7, 2020


Can ocean plastic cleaning projects actually clean all the ocean plastic?

August 6, 2020


Maldives records highest level of micro plastic pollution on the planet

August 6, 2020


Can we kill plastic?

August 3, 2020


Resurgence of single-use plastics amid coronavirus crisis has environmentalists worried

August 1, 2020


More NEWS here


National and International Organizations

  • NOAA Marine Debris Program


Great Lakes Marine Debris Action Plan


  • Story of Stuff

  • BreakFreeFromPlastic


  • Beyond Plastics


  • The 5 Gyres Institute


  • Algalita Marine Research Foundation


  • BrightMark


Mariner East Project

Mariner East: A pipeline project plagued by mishaps and delays


IEEFA report: Financial risks loom for Shell’s Pennsylvania petrochemicals complex

Pipeline to Scotland


Plastics: The New Coal in Appalachia?


Shell’s Plastics Plant Outside Pittsburgh Has Suddenly Become a Riskier Bet, a Study Concludes