Like the “Lights, Camera, Plastic?” campaign we wrote about recently, the Flip the Script on Plastics campaign wants Hollywood to join the fight against plastic pollution by urging popular television shows, movies, and media to stop showcasing single-use plastics and trade them in for more sustainable alternatives.
The campaign highlights a new report by USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center which was commissioned by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. This report analyzed 32 popular TV shows that aired over 2019 and 2020, including “You,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Succession,” and “NCIS.” The findings show that every single episode featured at least one single-use item and that the average is 28 single-use items per episode.
On top of the 2,300 single-use plastic items identified in just 64 episodes, researchers also found that 93 percent of the episodes did not include the disposal of these single-use plastic items, which they say creates a narrative of “magically disappearing trash” that fails to address how damaging these items are for our environment. When characters were shown disposing of their waste, 80 percent of the time, they were littering.
“Decades of research show that scripted entertainment plays a powerful role in shaping our social norms, attitudes, and behavior on a wide variety of health and social issues,” said Dana Weinstein, Project Specialist at USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. “This, entertainment can be a highly effective medium for modeling sustainable practices and systems.”
The Plastic Pollution Coalition hopes that if Hollywood leads by example by only showing sustainable alternatives to plastic on screen, others will be encouraged to opt for eco-friendly options as well.
“We are shaped and formed by what we watch. Media has the power to reimagine the world and blaze a trail to a regenerative, reusable, refillable, healthy, thriving, plastic-free world for all living beings, if only we commit and act now,” says co-found and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition Dianna Cohen.
The Coalition is already collaborating with actors, showrunners, writers, and major names in Hollywood to push their initiative further.