Unwrapping Japan’s toxic affair with plastic



PLASTIC LOVE! is a vibrant and bold cinematic exploration, unraveling the complex system of production, consumption, and waste management that surround Japan’s intrinsic love for plastic. Listening to Japan’s most innovative thinkers - from the depths of the ocean to the vibrant world of waste disposal - we start a journey searching for sustainable, Japan-made solutions that may save us and our planet from a plastic-wrapped future...


Few places have turned their relationship to materials into an art form like Japan - rice, paper, ceramics, fabric, lacquer and wood are amongst the materials that have coexisted in Japan for generations, giving rise to a culture deeply influenced by nature, community, crafts and spiritual practices. In present day Japan, these traditions seem to strike a continual balance with convenience, fast-paced city life, constant renewal and a relentless devotion to modernity. Yet, one material has emerged as a bigger threat to life on earth than perhaps no other before it: Plastic.

Few other materials in human history have seen a more rapid development than plastic. Since the 1950s, global plastic production has increased 200-fold to almost 8 billion tons in total, equivalent to more than one ton of plastic produced for each person alive today. In the next 30 years, the global plastics sector is projected to almost quadruple its production output and will account for 20% of global consumption of oil, 15% of the annual carbon budget, while it is forecasted that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by the year 2050.

Despite relying heavily on the sea for much of its food production, the oceans around Japan suffer some of the worst plastic pollution in the world, where microplastic counts are as much as 27 times higher than in the world’s oceans and plastic is already a threat to the local environment, marine life and, in turn, human health.

As Japan tries to move towards a circular economy, where materials are not wasted but reused, we examine the current system of design, production, packaging, use, and waste management to better understand larger systemic failings that, paired with widespread consumerism, love for packaging and disposability, have led Japan to become the second largest generator of plastic packaging waste per capita - in the world.
Suffering from unprecedented heat-waves, torrential rainfall, and numerous typhoons has made Japan the number one affected country by extreme weather related events in the 2020 Global Climate Risk Index, showing how the country is already suffering the consequences of the global environmental crisis right now. While local Japanese communities and cities around the nation officially declare that we are indeed in the midst of a climate emergency, we examine how our dependence plastics, paired with swiftly rising mass-production, mass-consumption and mass-waste generation, has led Japan, and the global community on a path that cannot be sustained.

PLASTIC LOVE!, is a message of hope. It will reflect on the ways in which Japan itself can provide the tools to turn this global issue around. By giving a platform to some of the nation’s most inspiring creative thinkers, social trailblazers and scientists, we are taken deep into the worlds of art and design, social innovation and profound philosophical thought - set against the backdrop of Japan’s majestic mountain ranges, serene islands and vibrant world of waste treatment facilities.


Documentary Film
Expected length: 90min
Original Language: Japanese, English
Subtitles: Japanese, English
Expected Screening:  early 2022 


MICHINAO SUENAGA— Director of Tsushima CAPPA

President of Zero Waste Academy Kamikatsu

President of Zero Waste Japan

Representative Director, Kyoei Industry
Senior Scientist, JAMSTEC
Project Hozugawa, Kameoka City

Fujimino City Miyoshi Town Environmental Center
Co-Founder, JEPLAN
Professor, Tokyo University of Marine Science

...and many more