movie documentary watching popcorn recycling documentaries

Recycling is something most people are taught about at a young age, but how much do you really know about it? Do you know what happens to your plastic water bottle after you toss it away? Do you know why plastic in the ocean is a problem? Whether you’re looking for new ways to be sustainable, or new videos to watch in your spare time, this list is sure to surprise you with shockingly informative points about recycling!

  1. A Plastic Ocean

    This 2016 film (literally) dives into the plastic pollution problem in-depth and provides an eye-opening perspective on how plastics are polluting our oceans. If you need another reason to recycle, this documentary will have you convinced.

  2. Recycling Alone Isn’t Enough – Here’s Why
    15 min video

    This Ted Talk recording considers many facts about recycling to explain why it’s so important, and where the issues lie within the system. This video is a great resource that will get you thinking about how to recycle properly.

  3. The Life Cycle of a Plastic Bottle
    4 min video

    Have you ever wondered what happens to plastic after you toss it? This short, animated video explains what happens to single use plastic when you’re done with it.

  4. PBS- The Plastic Problem
    1 hour video

    This PBS segment explores the problems with plastic, interviewing a number of experts and uncovering some startling truths about plastic pollution.

  5. Plastic Paradise

    You already know the problems surrounding the ocean plastic crisis, but have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? This documentary will shock you with some incredible footage and insightful interviews that will change the way you think about recycling.

  6. Why You’re Recycling Wrong
    4 min video

    Have you ever been confused about whether or not to recycle something? Of course you have, it happens to all of us! So, what do you do when you aren’t sure? Recycling contamination can be just as much of a problem as not recycling at all – and here’s why!

  7. Why China Doesn’t Want Your Trash Anymore
    11 min video

    You may or may not already know that China has been purchasing the world’s trash for decades. However, that came to an abrupt end in 2018. This quick video explains why China wanted it in the first place, why that’s changed, and what that means for other countries.

  8. How Recycling Works
    9 min video

    Even some of recycling’s biggest fans don’t know the full production of the industry. This video explains in a simple way how recycling works from the moment you toss something in the bin.

  9. Tracking your Plastic: Exposing Recycling Myths
    20 min video

    CBC created this 20-minute documentary segment to track Canadian plastic all the way to Malaysia, uncovering what really happens to it.

  10. The Clean Bin Project

    The Clean Bin Project follows a couple that attempts to go waste free for a full year, highlighting the problems with plastic packaging and single use plastic and identifying the struggles that arose on their journey. It not only reinforces the importance of zero waste, but aims to inspire on how to be less wasteful in everyday activities.

We know that there are so many recycling resources out there, but some of them can be quite heavy and hard to read. Videos, however, are a great way to learn while maintaining your attention!

Because these videos are so influential, we want to make sure this list stays updated with the most current and informative movies and clips. Once you’ve finished binge-watching this entire list of videos, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, and any other videos you’ve found in your searches. We would love to hear from you!