Segments in this Video

Waste Solutions and Managing Emissions (06:48)


Chantal Jouanno warns that France is facing a shortage of waste disposal options; many people are opposing incinerators for health and environmental reasons. SYCTOM is addressing the problem of fumes from a waste incinerator by using computer programs to analyze the particles and filter out toxic ones. The solid toxic waste that remains is then stored under concrete.

Grocery Store Recycling (04:42)

Solid waste residue has been used in road construction, but the heavy metals and toxic substances pollute soil and water. Recycling helps reduce the problem of waste; aluminum, steel, paper, and glass recycling is common, but recycling of cell phones, batteries, and plastics is still low. Supermarket manager Bruno Mandroyan is reducing waste from over packaging through recycling stations at the store.

Waste Management in Japan (05:48)

Due to a shortage of space, Japan has created waste islands, but toxic leakage threatens Tokyo Bay. A large festival in Japan manages its waste by recycling everything to use for the festival next year. In some areas people sort waste into up to 34 different bins, and in Kamikatsu 80% of waste is recycled and unwanted things are donated to a town free shop; founder of a citizens group Shibuya Kenzo hopes to try this model on a larger scale.

Waste Reduction and Composting in Europe (07:57)

In a French town, onboard weighing ensures that each person pays for the exact amount of waste they produce, while recycling is free. In Barcelona, vacuum waste collection turns organic waste into fertilizer; similarly in Rennes, a team collects organic waste and turns it into compost. A farmer’s association brings this to the next level by collecting local organic matter and making compost to rebuild soil fertility on farmland.

Transforming Waste into Value (06:44)

Organic waste can become fuel through methanization, a growing industry in France; Serge Balestra explains that the plants work like a cow stomach, digesting green waste to produce gas. Many companies avoid environmental laws by illegally transporting waste containing toxic substances to developing countries, but engineers have discovered processes that turn these items into precious metals.

Design for Recyclability (04:07)

To dispose of airplanes, the industry dismantles and extracts metals, but the surplus of unrecyclable items has led designers to use more recyclable materials. Some architects are using locally-sourced recycled materials to build structures; Kevan Trott presents his self-sufficient home built from recycled materials.

Preventing Pollution and Contaminants (07:18)

Some micropollutants are found throughout environments and cannot be removed; several large waterways in France are polluted with PCBs, and an outbreak of PCB poisoning in Japan led to a strict ban and a decontamination process. The Reach Directive requires European chemical industries to test new molecules for potentially dangerous qualities. Huosheng Hu is programming robots with a homing device to detect pollution.

Pharmaceuticals in Water and Treatment (06:33)

Earth's waters are contaminated with indestructible molecules from medical drugs that wastewater treatment is not equipped to address; Riccardo Petrella explains that an aging society is taking more new drugs which are transferred to the environment through urine. Helene Budzinki has found over 3,000 pharmaceutical substances in French rivers. In preparation for a mission to mars, the European Space Agency is creating a self-sufficient system which treats and recycles 100% of waste.

Credits: Waste Your Life (00:47)

Credits: Waste Your Life

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Waste Your Life

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Plastic and electronic waste, old medicine thrown into the sewage water--when buried, this waste seeps into our groundwater and resurfaces in the water we drink, and when incinerated, it spreads noxious fumes in the air, which we end up breathing. Around the world, the race to turn waste into viable resources has begun. Today’s waste may well be the treasure mines of tomorrow. This informative and engrossing documentary takes us to countries like Japan, Spain, France, Switzerland, Scotland, and Belgium and even to the European Space Agency’s laboratories to come up with an optimistic list of the solutions of the future. We watch how houses can be built out of recycled tires, and we learn how marine waste can be detected using homing carps—proof that we do possess one truly inexhaustible and completely recyclable resource: human innovation.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL150314

ISBN: 978-1-64347-708-4

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.