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PBS NEWSHOUR Presents: The Plastics Problem

Plastic recycling ready for resale in a facility in Manassas, Va.
Courtesy of PBS NewsHour/Lorna Baldwin
Plastic recycling ready for resale in a facility in Manassas, Va.

Encore Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 5 at 11:30 a.m. on KPBS TV / On Demand

“The Plastic Problem,” a PBS NEWSHOUR special, ​explores how plastic is impacting the world and ways individuals can break their dependence on plastics. It follows the 2018 Peabody Award-winning five-part ​PBS NEWSHOUR​ series that explored the environmental threat from plastic pollution and potential alternatives. Viewers will gain a deeper understanding of why the global extensive appetite for single-use plastic is one of the largest environmental threats.

Traveling to multiple cities including Toronto, Canada — and with reports from the edge of the jungle in Malaysia, the Pacific shores of Costa Rica, to the rocky beaches of Easter Island — NEWSHOUR’s t​eam discovers extensive environmental damage plastic has already caused as well as potential solutions in plastic management.


This report features interviews with Roland Geyer, Industrial Ecologist, University of California, Santa Barbara; John Coyne, Vice President, Legal and External Affairs, Unilever Canada; and Bea Perez, Senior Vice President of Sustainability, Coca-Cola.

PBS NEWSHOUR: The Plastic Problem

Dig Deeper:

Video and Article: Why your recyclables might have no place to go By Paul Solman

Video + Article: Why it will take more than basic recycling to cut back on plastic. By Amna Nawaz, Lorna Baldwin

Watch On your Schedule:


The film is available on demand with the PBS Video App, on YouTube or at

Join The Conversation:

PBS NEWSHOUR is on Facebook. Follow @NewsHour on Twitter.


Produced by Executive Producer and WETA SVP ​Sara Just​; Executive in Charge of Production ​James Blue​; Senior Producer ​Lorna Baldwin, Emily Carpeaux​; Producer Rachel Wellford; Associate Producers ​Maea Lenei Buhre​ and ​Ryan Connelly Holmes; Editor Jeff Cook​; Creative Director ​Adam Serraf​; Cinematographers ​Tyler Bedgood​, ​Lisa Berglund​, Malcolm Brown​, ​Mike Fritz​, ​Jason Lelchuk,​ ​Denis Levkovich​, ​Jay Kemp,​ ​Eric O’Connor​, Devin Pinckard​,​ Dale West​, Susheel Younas​; audio, design, and additional staff:​ Quinton Hooper​, ​Jules Rahman Ong​, ​Leah Margois​, ​Samantha Trinh​, ​Ashley Viera​, ​Alex Kemp​, Rebecca Oh​, ​Bryan Wood​, ​Barbara Carvalho​ and ​Laura Santhanam​; Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown​ and Correspondent ​John Yang​; and ​Amna Nawaz​ serves as host.