For a year, they bought nowt and threw away nowt. Now Canadian filmmakers are “talking trash” in York with their documentary The Clean Bin Project.
What started as a personal challenge – a household competition to see who could produce the least amount of rubbish – has become a multi-award-winning movie.
Director Grant Baldwin was born in Brighton but emigrated to Canada as a child in the Eighties. He and his partner, producer Jenny Rustemeyer, bring The Clean Bin Project to the UK for a five city tour, including York, at City Screen on Wednesday, August 28.
The Clean Bin Project is a refreshingly comedic documentary about an ordinary couple and their quest to answer the question “is it possible to live completely waste free?”
Jen and Grant go head-to-head in a battle to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least landfill rubbish in an entire year.
Their light-hearted competition to refuse, reduce and recycle their way to the smallest garbage bin is set against a darker examination of the large-scale environmental impacts of our “throw-away society”.
Marine pollution expert Captain Charles Moore describes the pacific garbage patch, an island of plastic twice the size of Texas currently floating in the Pacific Ocean; and Seattle-based artist Chris Jordan shares shocking images that portray the large-scale impacts of our throw away society.
The result is a beautifully shot film that speaks to audiences of all ages, inspiring action without being preachy, and providing solid ideas for reducing refuse at home.
“We had watched a lot of environmental films that were really informative, but we always felt so overwhelmed and deflated at the end of them,” said Grant.
“We wanted to make a movie that showed how choosing to do just one thing, like reducing your trash, can be not only manageable, but really empowering and fun.”
The pair were awarded a MOBI award for journalism, picked up nine festival awards, and have toured the film through Canada, the US, and New Zealand.
“We just started as a personal challenge, but it turns out that people are really intrigued by how we managed to fit a year’s worth of garbage in something as small as a microwave,” Jenny said.
“The response has been great; people say they have been really inspired to make changes in their own lives.”
York Green Party councillor Dave Taylor said: “It’s uncanny what the filmmakers have achieved in terms of waste reduction, and if we only got half-way there we’d not need the £1.4 billion waste incinerator planned for North Yorkshire.”
Karen Cannard, who is coordinating the UK tour, said: “I am confident that this upbeat and informative documentary will inspire people across the UK to follow in their footsteps.
“This year the Rubbish Diet is also partnering Zero Waste Week from 2-8 September, so it comes at a very exciting time for grassroots inspired action!”
- The Clean Bin Project, followed by the Q&A with Grant and Jenny starts at City Screen at 6.15pm on Wednesday, August 28
- For more details see the City Screen website
- More about the film at the movie website