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​"Plastic Wars" documentary screening

​"Plastic Wars" documentary screening

Posted by Katie Deska on Oct 5th 2023

In recognition of America Recycles Day the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center, in collaboration with campus partners, will host a film screening and panel discussion of Plastic Wars, a Frontline documentary that's sure to spark conversation. 

Thurs., Nov. 16

3:30 to 6 p.m. 

@ MSU Recycling Center, 468 Green Way, East Lansing 

Before and after the film, attendees will have the opportunity to explore the MRF and see how MSU processes plastics and other campus recyclables before shipping them to local and regional vendors for conversion into post-consumer recycled content. Find out how MSU keeps it local, sending 95% of bales to Michigan processors. 

Doors open at 3:30 p.m., and the screening begins at 4 p.m. At the conclusion of the film, around 5 p.m., a moderator will facilitate a half-hour panel discussion combined with an audience Q & A session. The conversation will be moderated by MSU student Dani Vincent, who works as the Sustainability Assistant with Student Life & Engagement and is majoring in Environmental Studies & Sustainability.

This free and public event is offered in collaboration with Student Life & Engagement, student Eco Reps, and the Film Studies Program. Plastic Wars is presented in partnership with WKAR, the local PBS and NPR affiliate station based on campus

RSVP is strongly encouraged for planning purposes.

About the Film

Aired in 2020, Plastic Wars briefly highlights the history of how we got into this plastic pollution mess to begin with and reminds viewers of its relationship to the oil industry. In doing so, the film illustrates the challenges consumers face when trying to reduce single-use plastics -- an action that runs counter to the profit motives of oil companies.

Through investigative journalism and interviews with insiders, Plastic Wars brings to light the ways in which plastic production and disposal often exacerbate environmental and social justice issues across the globe.

The film addresses some of the myths and truths around the impact of recycling and offers insight on why the legitimacy of recycling has been questioned in recent years. While Plastic Wars remains focused on recycling, it doesn't shy away from showing us why that isn't the only solution we need.


Muhammad Rabnawaz is a professor, educator, author, inventor, and entrepreneur. Since 2016 he has been a professor in the School of Packaging at Michigan State University. He has developed and taught three advanced-level courses for MSU students and two short online courses for industry professionals on packaging sustainability. He has filed over 45 patent applications and has been issued nine patents in sustainable packaging, recycling, and multifunctional coatings. In addition, he was awarded the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Faculty Laureate, MSU Innovator of the Year Award, the NSF Career Award, and Senior Member of US National Academy of Inventors. 

Pedro Noel Doreste is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Diaspora Solidarities Lab and incoming Assistant Professor in Film Studies at Michigan State University. He received his PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago. He is a historian of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx media whose research surveys cinematic contact zones between the global North and South, diasporic and exile filmmaking, and avant-garde film cultures in the Hispanic Caribbean. His work has appeared in Reception, Aniki, Atenea, Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas (forthcoming), and in the edited collection Latinx Media. He loves his dogs, Congrí and Ossie! 

Jill Brown is an expert in the recycling industry, with nearly two decades of experience. She has held various positions from procurement officer to account executive and managed a private material recovery facility in Battle Creek, MI. Since returning to Metro Recycling Solutions as an account executive, she's worked hard to create connections between generators across the country and buyers around the globe. Her mission is to help reduce waste streams by connecting businesses with environmentally friendly solutions for their scape materials so they can find longer lives beyond their original use. Through her expertise and commitment to protecting our planet, her vision is that one day all businesses, homes, and communities alike will have access to these sustainable solutions that can revive discarded items into valuable resources. 

Sean Barton is the Operations Supervisor for Processing at the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center. He and his team are responsible for managing MSU's waste as a resource by processing over 7 million pounds of recycling and hundreds of thousands of pounds of food waste through vermicomposting year-round in a passive solar hoop house. Diverting material from the landfill, identifying markets for new recyclable materials, maintaining a healthy worm population in a cold climate, supporting research are all part of our daily operations. He is an MSU alumnus, the worm wizard, and a landfill hater.


Dani Vincent is s a third year student studying Environmental Studies and Sustainability, with a minor in Environment and Health, Business. Dani works with MSU’s student life and engagement office as the Sustainability Assistant and Eco-Rep Coordinator. She is passionate about sustainability and educating others on how to implement sustainable habits into their everyday routines. Dani is currently looking into becoming a Sustainability Consultant or research in environmental public health, as well as considering going to grad school. 

The film is generously provided by WKAR, a presenting partner. MSU Recycling Center is located at 468 Green Way, East Lansing, MI 48823.

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Event contact: Katie Deska | | Education Coordinator, MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center

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