Should we stop recycling plastic?

Copper River Watershed Project will host an at-home community screening of the documentary “The Story of Plastic,” followed on Monday, May 4, by an online Q&A. Photo courtesy of Picture Motion

Recycling your used plastic is a good thing — isn’t it? A new documentary screened by the Copper River Watershed project throws doubt on the effectiveness of plastic recycling programs.

Residents interested in watching “The Story of Plastic” online can contact CRWP Operations Manager Shae Bowman to receive free access to the film. The film will be available to view until 7 p.m. Sunday, May 3. The CRWP will also host a live community discussion on Zoom at 4 p.m. Monday, May 4. Invitations to the community discussion will be sent to those RSVP for the online screening.

The CRWP recently suspended its plastic recycling program, citing the fact that much “recycled” plastic ends up being dumped into the environment or burnt as a cheap source of fuel. Only around 9 percent of the plastic produced since 1950 has been recycled, according to the producers of “The Story of Plastic.”

The best solution to the problem of plastic pollution is to reduce consumption of single-use plastic items, Bowman said. This includes not just plastic soda bottles, but small items such as sauce packets and the sachets that hold powdered drink mixes like Crystal Light. These small sachets are an outsize contributor to plastic pollution, Bowman said.

“The Story of Plastic” exposes the often overlooked complexities of plastic pollution and should help residents understand why the CRWP ended its plastic recycling program, Bowman said.

“It’s worth watching,” Bowman said. “It ends on somewhat of a hopeful note about things that we can be doing to positively affect the situation.”