The untold story of the global plastic crisis as demonstrated through the microcosm of the island of Bali. Plastic Diamond travels from the gates of American industry and the shady world of recycling and reveals the pioneering research uncovering the toxic truth of plant-based plastics. The film illuminates the inconvenient truth of the global plastics crisis and dissects the false hope of a magic bullet solution to mankind's consumption habits.
The plastic crisis is also a powerful allegory about choices and their consequences, the wishful instinct to believe that what is unseen is unharmed. There is a direct line between the bottle of Diet Coke thrown out in the US, the corporate lobbying and resulting weak public policy that creates a grey market for illegal recycling, and the Indonesian working the trash fields for pennies an hour. There is a direct connection between the marketing of a “miracle material” - durable! light! flexible! cheap! - and a reticence to see its attendant risks.
If Watergate was all about “following the money,” Plastic Diamond follows the trash: with the aid of hidden cameras, footage reveals the recycling centers that import illegal plastic waste, interviews with people whose health has been severely impacted by working with toxic waste, entire villages economically dependent on scavenging through plastic, and tofu companies that use plastic to cook their products.
Plastic Diamond follows in the footsteps of didactic entertainment like Silent Spring and an Inconvenient Truth, a film that elucidates because knowledge motivates change. Nothing did more to reduce smoking than the dissemination of scientific research on the harm of second-hand smoke; it is one thing to nihilistically put ourselves at risk - it’s another to risk the health of others. The developed world’s addiction to plastics has put the global environment in peril. The time for action is now.