The Recycling Myth

Tom Costello & Benedict Wermter


In the last few years the plastic pollution crisis has become an international scandal. Pictures of dead animals, littered rivers, and polluted oceans have shocked the world. The plastic packaging industry has declared it knows how to solve the problem: recycling. Increasingly, bottles, boxes and sachets are proudly stamped with the words ‘100% recyclable’ as brands compete to reassure consumers that their packaging purchases are guilt-free. But if recycling is really the solution, why is the world pumping out more virgin plastic than ever before? Could recycling really be the ultimate greenwash? We follow the money into an industry that’s designed to hide the problem rather than solve it. We track the black-market brokers who hunt for countries to dump our plastic, waste moguls getting rich by burning trash, and the organised criminals for whom waste smuggling is now as lucrative as human trafficking. And we show how some of the biggest consumer-goods brands on earth spin the recycling fairytale as a way to allow them to continue polluting without consequence. As we all pick up the bill for a world drowning in plastic, the film asks: who is getting rich?


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