Thoughts on 'Bag It,' a conscious-raising documentary that turns an amusing, but critical eye towards packaging.


I love books, bookstores, libraries and one librarian, my wife.

Today’s libraries are a multimedia resource way beyond books. On a recent visit to my local library, I stopped by the DVD section and, on impulse, checked out the movie “Bag It-Is Your Life Too Plastic?”

I also like movies, and this one seemed to be about packaging, more or less, and it looked like it could be interesting.

I was right on both counts, and in fact it was as much about packaging as about bags. And it was very interesting and even conscious-raising. Bag It casts a cynical eye on grocery bags and on packaging, especially disposable packaging and particularly bottled water and other single-use packaging.

The story is about Jeb Berrier, an average Joe and actor, who has an epiphany. His story begins in a simple way: Jeb buys a single cup of peach yogurt and the grocery clerk bags it. This sets the whole tale in motion when he wonders about plastic bags, saying, “Just because plastic is disposable it doesn’t mean that it just goes away.”

The scene cuts to a landfill. “There is no away,” Jeb adds.

Thus begins a journey as Jeb learns about plastic bags, plastics, packaging and related stuff.

We do, too. Consumerism, waste and ocean pollution also play prominent roles. Even Bisphenol-A puts in a special guest appearance as a villain.

At the core of this movie is this insightful question from Jeb: “Why make something that’s going to last only a few minutes out of something that’s going to last forever?”

It stopped me in my tracks even though I was sitting down.

Bag It is a thoughtful, amusing movie with a catchy soundtrack.

And if that doesn’t butter your popcorn, then know it’s also largely about packaging. It’s one thing when the packaging industry defends itself against environmentalists, but is another thing altogether when it must defend itself against an average Jeb or Joe or Josephine, who repeats that age-old question we’ve all asked since we were kids and still need to ask, “Why?”

The movie provides food for thought that’s often tough to swallow, not because it might not be true, but because it probably is true.

If you are interested in packaging, this movie is worth your review, too.