First, an embarassing confession: I meant to write this blogpost, er, um, about a year ago. Life happens. Here it is finally. Thankfully, it is still relevant. Correction: More relevant than ever.
Just over a year ago we had the pleasure and honour of co-sponsoring - with our friends at La Forêt and The Black Sheep Inn - a Wakefield, Quebec screening of the funky, powerful, funny, award-winning, *important* indie documentary The Clean Bin Project. I'll get to why it is so important a little later.
Their mantra: "The goal is zero landfill waste. For one year we will not buy any material goods and will attempt to live without producing household garbage."
For the duration of the Project between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2009, they had three cardinal rules:
- No buying stuff. (They could not buy any material goods.)
- No producing garbage. This means “avoid packaging”. (They could not buy anything that comes in non-recyclable packaging and they had to avoid excess packaging)
- Take responsibility for your waste. (They had to take all waste produced personally by them home with them to recycle, compost, etc.)
Jen works as an environmental planner and grows a fine garden, and Grant is a self-employed music producer who likes to wear white pants (more on that in the film). Together they show just how challenging it can be in every day life to go zero waste in our consumerist, overpackaged society. As they say, it was "a competition where less is more".
We loved the film for many reasons, but obviously because it beautifully displays the problem of plastics as a key source of waste, especially in the environment. There are superb interviews with a couple of our heros, anti-plastic crusadors Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and photographic artist par excellence, Chris Jordan.
This is such an important film because it shows just how much one can have an impact at the individual level when you become aware of the waste you produce on a daily basis. And it provides ways that you can take action. Take a look at the top ten tips Jen and Grant suggest for taking action to reduce waste.
We had the opportunity to meet the smiling Jen and Grant in person at the screening in our hometown last year. Wakefield was one stop on their 7600 km bike ride across Canada screening the film in 30 different communities and inspiring folks like us along the way to work toward clean bins. These are two down-to-earth folks who are helping make this world a better place.
The film is currently screening all over the place (and picking up film fest awards as it goes). We highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance, and if not, DVDs will soon be available for purchase off their site. Even better, you could organize a screening in your community. Jen and Grant might even show up to do a fun Q&A after the film. And Grant might even wear his white pants.
Jay Sinha, Co-Owner