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Trashed is a provocative investigation of one of the fastest growing industries in North America. The garbage business. The film examines a fundamental element of modern American culture...the disposal of what our society defines as "waste." It is an issue influenced by every American, most of whom never consider the consequences. Nor, it seems, the implications to our biosphere. At times humorous, but deeply poignant, "Trashed" examines the American waste stream fast approaching a half billion tons annually.
What are the effects all this waste will have on already strained natural resources? Why is so much of it produced? While every American creates almost 5 pounds of it every day, who is affected most? And who wants America to make more?
The film analyzes the causes and effects of the seemingly innocuous act of "taking out the garbage" while showcasing the individuals, activists, corporate and advocacy groups working to affect change and reform the current model. "Trashed" is an informative and thought-provoking film everyone interested in the future of sustainability should see.
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The best segments were the ones that focused on the reuse and recycling efforts of companies like Interface and Urban Ore and the individuals living the "freegan" lifestyle of anti-consumption. Unfortunately, the back-to-back interviews with local activists and government officials were tedious and didn't offer much of interest. The politicians they interviewed were predictably evasive and the community activists didn't offer anything other than repetitive preachy soundbites about how awful the current system of landfill dumping is. Neither group contributed anything interesting or useful to the discussion.
This is a good documentary and worth watching once, but it's not the kind of film that you will want to see more than that. It relies too heavily on interviews with corporate spokesmen and community leaders that don't really do more than complain about the problem instead of exploring possible solutions. This film doesn't spend enough time exploring alternatives to landfilling, the segments on recycling and reuse were good but too brief, not to mention the huge areas of the waste management industry that were completely ignored (i.e. waste-to-energy incineration plants, the very lucrative scrap metal industry, collect and reuse schemes commonly seen in Europe).
Overall, this film was good but certainly not great.
"Trashed" is an excellent media tool for learning about the problems and opportunities associated with waste. It also reaffirms that there are many topics for us to deal with as a society, but that there are already countless people raising awareness and working on solutions.
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