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ANU Film Group

Coombs Lecture Theatre

Acton, ACT 2601

Australia

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As the world’s biggest plastic waste importer, China receives ten million tons per year from most of the developed countries around the world. With high external costs impacting the local environment and health, these imports are reborn here in these plastic workshops into “recycled” raw materials for the appetite of China - the world factory. This waste is then exported back to where they came from with a new face such as manufactured clothing or toys.

Plastic China quietly explores the human impact of the global plastics and recycling trade and exposes its dirty, dusty, smoke-ridden underbelly. The documentary follows two families living in China’s Shandong province, who work in the rudimentary plastic workshops that are the final destination for some ten million tonnes of plastic waste annually imported from foreign, highly industrialised countries.

To make this film, director Wang Jiuliang rented a home near the village of his subjects and, over 18 months, informally filmed and chatted to them among the mountains of plastic they sort for processing and on-selling back to the West. Among many poignant moments, we learn that one of the families was forced to migrate to Shandong from western China for work. They cannot afford to send their nine-year-old daughter to school, who instead works and plays among the plastic mountains, learning about the outside world in snippets through the bits of rubbish that end up in her ‘backyard’.

Overall, Plastic China paints a hard-hitting vignette of the many difficulties suffered by people eking out their existences at the bottom of China’s supposedly glittering ascent into capitalism, and will make you question your role in contributing to the world’s undeniable garbage problem.

Come along to Coombs Lecture Theatre for a free screening of this award-winning documentary, proudly hosted by the ANU Film Group and ANU Learning Communities. Complementary food will be provided, so please ensure you sign up on Eventbrite for catering purposes!

For more information, see https://www.plasticchina.org/.

Length: 82 minutes
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ANU Film Group

Coombs Lecture Theatre

Acton, ACT 2601

Australia

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