Documentary Tip “Plastic China” – a wake up call to our society

Wow. Adam and I watched this movie here in Bali and it’s just so heartbreaking:
I don’t know if you know – I didn’t – but many Western Countries (like USA, Germany, Australia…) and more developed Asian countries like Japan are shipping their toxic plastic garbage to China! YES, you read exactly. Not sure how developed you can call this.

I really recommend you to watch the documentary “PLASTIC CHINA”, it’s only 26 minutes but goes very deep and I feel just shocked because that’s not the way to go: Children playing with old injections, mothers breastfeeding in garbage, polluted rivers and sick habitats which were used to live in a peaceful green village.

“But are you sure that Germany (GERMANY!!) and the USA are shipping their plastic garbage? Somehow I can’t believe it – I taught they’re recycling!”

I feel you. I was shocked too. But they’re really shipping their garbage to China – it’s not a secret but of course which government is going to shout out such dirty practices.

Dive into some articles:

in English
A lot of US plastic isn’t actually being recycled since China put up its Green Fence
Here’s why Germany’s hot new import stinks
US states banned from exporting their trash to China are drowning in plastic
China doesn’t even want to buy our garbage anymore

in German
Dreckige Geschäfte: Westliche Müll-Exporte nach China
Ab nach China
Wie deutsche Firmen an Asiens Müll verdienen
Wie EU-Mitgliedsstaaten exportieren immer mehr Müll
Tödlicher Müll in China
Kostbarer Plastikmüll: Der Kampf um alte Flaschen

The problem is that there is so much garbage that it seems they reached their capacity and can’t handle it anymore… So recycling definitely isn’t a solution!

“Wait but I taught recycling is okay??!”

So most of the population in our world thinks that recycling is okay but actually recycling doesn’t really exist as we think – it’s a really cute fairy tale if you ask me. You can only down- or upcycle something. Means you can never make a plastic bag again out of a plastic bag. So plastic never really disappears or comes back to what it was once. It’s much more important to create less plastic waste because only this will make a real difference. Also if you use plastic, re-use it or up-cycle it. Also always keep in mind that it always takes energy to create something, ship it and then finally “recycle” it.

But if recycling isn’t a solution… what should we do then?

1.Consume less and choose consciously.

Ask yourself if you really need something new or if there is a possibility to rent it or buy it secondhand (there is almost always such an option!) because the best thing is to buy something that is already in our consumer cycle instead of buying something new – even if it’s supernatural and sustainable.

Means buy only what you really need, really re-use your stuff and make it valuable – see things as something you RE-use and not as single-use-item. Also, buy less packaged stuff and anything that isn’t from natural material – choose quality instead of quantity. It also feels much better to have less stuff but really care for it. Adam and I made a great video where we’re sharing our tips and taking you on a conscious grocery shopping adventure.

Just google (or search on facebook for groups) ZERO WASTE / BULK OPTION + Your Hometown and you’ll maybe find a local zero waste shop and community. On Zero Waste Home you can find a great app with bulk options in your local region.

2. Reuse and upcycle your garbage! Imagine that your garbage can be a source of amazing creativity? Yes!

A few great ideas how to upcycle and reuse plastic packaging:

Upcycle That (wow!)
Design Rulz – such cool ideas for home interior & design!
30 Mind-Blowing Ways To Upcycle Plastic Bottles At Home And The Office
50+ Ways to Upcycle Plastic Bags

And there is a lot of inspiration on Pinterest or just google “upcycling plastic”

And if you create garbage and can’t upcycle it, take care to really sort it and create the biggest possibility possible that it arrives where it will be “properly” recycled. Keep in mind that recycling means actually down-cycling – a plastic bag will never be a plastic bag again.

3. Get inspired & educated – check out these awesome people who spread inspiring zero-waste content:

Waste Land Rebel

Trash is for Tossers

Plastic Free Vegan

Girl for a clean world

Waste wisely

Sustainably Vegan

To finish this blog post I wanna share a statement
from the minimalist’s documentary by sociology professor Juliet Schor with you:


“We are too materialistic in the everyday sense of the word, and we are not at all materialistic enough in the true sense of the word. We need to be true materialists, like really care about the materiality of goods.”


PS. What do you think about this topic?
And how do you understand that last statement?