The bigger picture: learning about plastic pollution through documentaries

To fully understand the climate crisis and the many components that cater to it as well as affect it positively or negatively, one must read a lot of content. There are literally millions of articles, books, movies as well as blogs about the topic, and everything seems correct but then again somewhat unbelievable.

You feel overwhelmed, anxious, lied to and sad at the same time. Sweat starts dripping down your forehead as you think about all the wrong decisions you have made. Your stomach starts turning at the thought of how much you contributed to this madness. Let me meet you right there – you are not alone. I went down a similar path and felt sick to my stomach about my ignorance over the last 20 years. 

But this should not keep you from making the right decisions in the future. Let me tell you though – right now it seems like a clear cut. ‘I will go vegan as of today’ or ‘I will never use plastics again, zero waste here I come!’ – but it is not that easy. Often there is more to a particular aspect of environment protection than it seemed at first. You have to dig deep to understand what really needs to be done right now and what should be a subject for the future when we have achieved the big things we need to change this instant. 

To make your journey to a more eco-conscious and eco-friendly life easier, we want to provide you with free information and save you loads of time by offering you shortcuts to data wherever possible. So, here are our top documentaries to watch on the topic of “plastic pollution”.


1. Until recently, the BBC Documentary “Drowning in plastic” was available through Youtube for free. Now it has been taken down as it seemed to violate BBC’s rights. I am currently searching for a different place to watch it, but I have not yet succeeded. Stay tuned!

2. Sky has a whole series on Youtube called “Ocean Rescue” where they shed light on different aspects of the plastic pollution problem. It’s free and well worth a watch! A personal favorite episode of mine, as I am from Europe, was “Dirty Business: what really happens to your recycling.”

Watch “Ocean Rescue” 

3. Another free Youtube documentary that is inspirational would be “The Plastic Age” starring Pharrell Williams.

Watch ‘The Plastic Age’

Through abonnements

1. If you have Netflix, I highly recommend watching the documentary “A Plastic Ocean”. I think this, as well as the BBC documentary “Drowning in plastic”, is a great starting point to get a good overview of the problematic situation. It may leave you anxious and eager to get going with change, but that is what we need anyway!

2. “An Inconvenient Truth” is maybe already a little bit old, but for some, it is a core-piece to watch when starting on your sustainability journey. The sequel of this movie though, is debated to be a little bit off the track and not relevant. You can watch the documentary through amazon for free if you have “amazon prime”.

Buy or borrow

1. Another great film that will make you rethink single-use plastics is “Straws”. It’s crazy to think about how many straws people use each year by just drinking at bars or restaurants – we could save a lot of plastic waste by using reusable straws instead!

Borrow or Buy ‘Straws’

2. “Plastic Paradise” is a movie centered around the great pacific garbage patch, which is the biggest in the world. Often we believe that plastics thrown in the dustbin will be recycled or disposed of correctly – this movie will teach you otherwise.

“Borrow or Buy “Plastic Paradise”


We hope these documentaries help you on your way to a LowImpact-Lifestyle and make you curious to learn more about environmental protection. In our follow up posts, we will provide you with documentaries about “veganism”, “environmental activism” and many more. 

You will also find a list of book recommendations related to the topics soon!

Let us know if you have any addition to our documentary-list and tell us what you think about the movies!

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