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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. Yet, one material has emerged as a bigger threat than perhaps no other before it: Plastic.

As the second largest generator of plastic packaging waste per capita and largest net-exporter of plastic waste in the world, Japan’s mass consumption of single-use plastic has taken on unprecedented levels. One of the highest counts of microplastic in its oceans and one of the world’s highest densities of incinerators make plastic an ubiquitous - yet hidden - threat to Japan’s land, water and air, an environmental crisis that few Japanese are aware of.

PLASTIC LOVE! follows the origins of Japan’s obsessive love for plastic from production and consumption all the way to its end-of-life, unraveling the nation’s complex past and present that have led Japan to become one of the world’s largest plastic polluters. Diving head-on into the colorful world of Japan’s unique waste management system, we witness how our everyday plastic waste travels from the curbside, to incinerators, recyclers and landfills across Japan, while some of it ends up on the shores of Southeast Asia and beyond.
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 and use, to better understand how unsustainable waste management practices, paired with widespread consumerism, love for excessive packaging and disposability, have led Japan down a path that can only be solved by a radical rethinking of our current systems.

By giving a platform to some of Japan’s most inspiring creative thinkers, social trailblazers and scientists, we are taken into the worlds of traditional arts and culture, zero waste activism and profound philosophical thought - traveling from Japan’s mass-production and waste treatment facilities, to its majestic oceans, mountain ranges and serene islands - in the search for Japan-made solutions that may save us all from a plastic-wrapped future...


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