Jeremy Irons at the EU Commission

Brussels, Belgium. 7th March 2013 — British actor Jeremy Irons participated in a talk about plastic waste at the EU Commission. Jeremy was invited by EU Commissioner Januz Potonik to talk about plastic waste in the world. He added his voice to an EU campaign to ban non-recylable plastics, including plastic bags.

 

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From The New Age

British actor Jeremy Irons brought a rare touch of glamour to the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels on Thursday to talk about an issue close to his heart: Trash disposal.

“I refuse to call it waste. ‘Waste’ is a verb, it is what we do. We are wasting our resources,” he said.

His appearance at the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, was in support of a drive to find ways of reducing the mountains of plastic rubbish generated annually, much of which ends up in the world’s oceans.

“What I’ve tried to do is glamourize trash,” Irons said, conceding that it was not an issue that won many votes.

Irons dismissed the tendency to shelve recycling as a matter to be dealt with after resolving more pressing issues, such as the economic crisis.

He said it didn’t take much effort for people to separate their rubbish, adding, “It doesn’t cost me anything to put out my separate bins and I get rather a pleasure out of it.”

The actor said: “We can make money out of recycling,” adding that it also generated jobs.

He referred to the 12 million euros (15.6 million dollars) that Ireland had made by introducing a 15-cent charge on plastic bags, which he said had also reduced the use of new bags by 92 per cent.

Irons said that by contrast his country, Britain, was doing “spectacularly little” on recycling, failing for example to tax plastic bags – “a symbol of waste.”

He said disorganization and vested interests – specifically those of the companies earning money off rubbish disposal and incineration – stood in the way of progress towards better trash management.

Ultimately, however, Irons said it was up to individuals to bring about change – by refusing to buy plastic water bottles, reusing and repairing old goods or by composting, as he did.

“I’m just a bloke,” the actor said. “There are a lot of blokes and women around in the world,” adding that it was their behaviour that would help bring about change.

“Politicians will therefore, in their normal fashion, be able to follow the current mood,” he added.

Last year, Irons produced and featured in a documentary film, Trashed, highlighting the issue of rubbish disposal and the need for more recycling.

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Getting Trashed with Jeremy Irons – from the Wall Street Journal

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Jeremy Irons narrates The Majestic Plastic Bag – A Mockumentary

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HealtheBay | August 14, 2010

Help stop our 19 billion bag-a–year habit in California and put an end to plastic pollution. Tell your Senator to support the AB 1998 at http://www.HealtheBay.org/BagBill

You can make the difference.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. Aug. 16, 2010 – As the California Senate prepares to vote on AB 1998, Heal the Bay, an environmental watchdog organization that promotes safe, clean and healthy coastal waters has released a film [http://www.healthebay.org/mockumentary/] charting the “lifecycle” of a plastic bag to promote awareness of plastic pollution in California and beyond.

The mockumentary, filmed in the style of a nature channel documentary program and playfully titled “The Majestic Plastic Bag,” is narrated by Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons and tracks the “migration” of a plastic bag from a grocery store parking lot to the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the Pacific Ocean.

Though lighthearted in tone, the short film hammers home the stark reality of California’s plastic bag pollution situation: 19 billion bags are used every year, creating over 123,000 tons of unnecessary waste, costing taxpayers $25 million in cleanup costs a year. Less than five percent of all single-use plastic bags are recycled, with many ending up as litter and in the ocean as plastic pollution.

“Rather than lecturing the audience, we wanted to create a film that would capture people’s attention with humor,” said Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay. “At the same time, we saw this as subversive way to make viewers realize the serious, far-reaching problem of single-use plastic bag pollution.”

The Senate is expected to take a floor vote on AB 1998 by the end of August. The measure would create a uniform statewide policy for addressing all types of single-use bags. The Governor has indicated his support if the bill reaches his desk.

If passed, the landmark bill would make California the first state to ban single-use plastic bags at supermarkets, convenience stores and large retail establishments with pharmacies; limit the distribution of paper bags at these stores to encourage consumers to adopt reusable bags; and require reusable bags to be available for purchase at these stores.

“The big goal and challenge for me was creating a piece that was both entertaining as well as informative. I come from the world of comedy, and I believe strongly in the power of humor as a way of making accessible that which otherwise could be inaccessible, uninteresting information,” said director Jeremy Konner of Partizan Pictures.

The film was developed in collaboration between Konner, the creative team at DDB LA, creative director Kevin McCarthy, writers Sarah May Bates and Regie Miller, and Erik Haase, DP. With little to no budget, the entire project was created solely with donated time and resources – many from Heal the Bay supporters within the industry who believe in the concept and the cause.

The film was shot on location throughout Los Angeles and is available on the Heal the Bay website, http://www.healthebay.org as part of its marine debris education and advocacy work. Earlier this year, Heal the Bay launched the first part of this campaign with “Trash Your Friends” [http://trashed.healthebay.org], an April Fool’s Day prank, in which users could “trash” a website with animated garbage to call attention to plastic bag blight. The campaign became an Internet hit for its inventive take on raising awareness about the serious issue of pollution.

More information about AB 1998 and plastic bag pollution is available at http://www.healthebay.org.

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