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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home

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November 06, 2009

Movie Review Friday: Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that's currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home (2007)

Available on DVD; watch the first 20 minutes here

Garbage! is an in-depth look at the typical family's environmental impact. Living in a consumer-driven, pollution-oriented society, filmmaker Andrew Nisker became concerned for the type of environment his young son would grow up in. Interested in analyzing households' waste output, Nisker asked the McDonald family to hold onto every single piece of trash for three months.

As the McDonalds (Glen, Michele, and their three children) begin to save paper plates, candy wrappers, Christmas packaging, and everything else, Nisker traces the family’s eco-footprint to find out where their stuff comes from and ends up. To avoid health violations, the family disposed of “wet garbage” (compost materials such as food scraps, cat litter, and diapers) once a week but kept track of the weight thrown out. Nisker also examined the family's habits involving recycling, transportation, water, and energy.

Nisker’s journey from the McDonalds' home in Toronto took him to local supermarkets, rivers, and recycling plants, but also to landfills in Michigan and topless mountains in West Virginia. He interviewed community members about the impacts of detrimental production practices on the environment and people’s health, doing an excellent job of revealing an out-of-sight-out-of-mind disconnect that exists between consumers and their environmental footprints.

The film is informative and easy to follow without being overwhelming. Nisker’s passion for change is refreshing and original. His commitment to the cause is demonstrated in part by his emotional struggle to part ways with his precious, albeit polluting, Jeep. Garbage! presents a fantastic experiment about household waste paths and is a must-see for anyone interested in environmental issues; Nisker really does prove that “the revolution starts at home.” 

--Michael Mullaley

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