Film focuses on banning single-use plastics

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BENNINGTON — Bennington College is hoping its upcoming screening of a documentary on how New York elementary students eliminated single-use plastics from their school cafeteria will inspire similar action in the area.

The college's Center for the Advancement of Public Action is showing "Microplastic Madness" at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The event, which will be held at the Center, is free and open to the public.

The film features fifth-graders from a Brooklyn public school who worked to get rid of single-use plastics from their cafeteria after spending two years studying microplastics' harmful effects on marine life, according to the Center.

The students collected local data and led community outreach, including using the information they gathered to testify and rally at the New York City Hall.

The documentary aims to "inspire many millions of people to stop using single-use plastics," according to its website.

CAPA decided to bring the film to Bennington because it considers the documentary "a great educational opportunity for students and community members," said Judith Enck, senior fellow at the Center who teaches courses on combating plastic pollution.

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Enck, who also appears as an interviewee in "Microplastics Madness," said she hopes the film will inspire students and other area residents to take similar action. A representative of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union will be attending the screening, she said.

The hourlong documentary, an official selection at next month's Boston International Kids Film Festival, was produced by Cafeteria Culture, a New York City environmental education organization that works with young people to promote zero-waste schools, plastic-free waters and climate-smart communities. It is a project of The Fund for the City of New York, a charitable organization.

The film director and Cafeteria Culture media director, Atsuko Quirk, will be at Bennington College to talk about the documentary as well as take questions from the audience after the screening. The event will run till 9 p.m.

To find out more about the film, visit microplasticmadness.org.

Vermont signed into law this year what is considered the country's most comprehensive single-use plastic ban.

Taking effect next July, it prohibits retailers from providing customers with single-use plastic bags at checkout, plastic stirrers, as well as coffee cups and food containers made from what's commonly known as styrofoam. Plastic straws are available upon request. Stores can provide customers with paper bags for a fee of 10 cents.


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