Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  55 minutes
Date:  2015
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
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Racing To Zero

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Follows San Francisco's innovative efforts towards achieving zero waste, thereby dramatically reducing the city's carbon footprint.

Racing To Zero

Only one third of the waste in the United States is recycled or composted. Why? Industry, through its practice of planned obsolescence, plays a major role; our lives are almost totally dependent on unrecyclable petroleum products. In order to reach zero waste, we need to change our relationship to garbage and view the things we discard as resources, rather than waste.

RACING TO ZERO examines our society's garbage practices in terms of consumption, preparation, use and production, and discovers some amazing solutions in San Francisco, which is successfully taking the necessary steps to reach zero waste. Cities all over the United States have instituted zero-waste policies of their own, and it is through these mandates that we are challenged to think differently about not only how we handle our garbage, but what it can become.

'Informative and inspiring. It reminds us that nothing in nature is waste, only food for another cycle. By highlighting the culture of zero waste developed in San Francisco we can see that another world is possible. We just need the determination and vision to make a zero waste world a reality. As a professor in environmental policy and sustainability, this film demonstrates the innovation and public policy that is possible when we tackle complex environmental problems like garbage.' Anna Baptista, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management, The New School

'In this inspiring and path-breaking film, Diana Fuller and Christopher Beaver not only address the most profound issues raised by the waste we produce, they also tell us with great accuracy what we can do about it. How we can best re-use and re-purpose our waste without being imprisoned by it. It opens up important new conversations if we are to become a more sustainable society.' Dr. Helene Cherrier, Associate Professor of Economics, Finance and Marketing, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University

'Racing to Zero is a remarkable story of the economy, technology, and multidisciplinary strategies needed to address the pressing need to reuse and recycle waste. An insider's peek into the recycling, compositing, re-purposing industry will provoke discussions at a variety of scales in the fields of environmental studies, resource management, architecture, engineering, biology, and chemistry. The film challenges us to think about the life cycle of all raw materials and products.' Dr. Alison G. Kwok, AIA, LEED-AP, Professor of Architecture, University of Oregon, Co-author, The Green Studio Handbook

'Viewers will get a sense of where the discards we throw into garbage, recycling, and compost bins go, and the environmental implications of choosing to discard into those bins...Education is vital to effective recycling and composting, and this film gives a clear and accessible set of instructions to facilitate successful resource reclamation. Viewers also get a sense of the hard work often anonymous people do to reclaim value from the discards. Racing to Zero conveys the crucial message that discarded material is not worthless trash but rather potentially valuable resources.' Carl Zimring, Associate Professor of Social Science and Cultural Studies, Pratt Institute, Author, Cash for Your Trash

'Encouraging and inspiring...I recommend this film for city planners and other officials thinking about implementing sustainability goals, for entrepreneurs wanting ideas of how to turn recycling into a career path, and activists who want to activate new ideas and energy for their organizations...Quite helpful for business, economy, or political science students.' Cherice Bock, Whole Terrain Journal

'This well-done film encapsulates of many of the issues of importance in modern-day waste management...It presents potential solutions according to the philosophy of 'zero waste,' a hopeful movement that seeks to reuse-recover-recycle all objects and materials in use in modern day American society, especially as they are being implemented in San Francisco.' David Tonjes, Assistant Professor of Technology and Society, Stony Brook University

'Racing to Zero reframes the conversation--not around what waste is--but what waste can be--a resource to us all. As a guy who has made a beautiful home out of an old rusty dumpster I've seen how these sort of transformational conversations in education can be the impetus towards a new awakening--one that can impact the largest challenge we face as humans. Zero waste is a journey as much as a destination and students would enjoy watching this film only second to taking a dive into a dumpster, litter-ally.' Dr. Jeff Wilson, Dean and Environmental Studies Professor, Professor Dumpster of The Dumpster Project, Huston-Tillotson University

'What you will learn from this video is very valuable: that waste is an increasingly complex material, that there is a tremendous amount of science and human effort needed for reusing and recycling it, and that--despite such difficulties--it is possible to make great strides in getting it out of our air, soil, water, and bodies. Optimistic but not naive.' Dr. Zsuzsa Gille, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Author, From the Cult of Waste to the Trash Heap of History: The Politics of Waste in Socialist and Post Socialist Hungary

'Racing to Zero is an inspirational overview of San Francisco's progress towards closed-loop solid waste management. The video details a comprehensive approach that goes beyond municipal solid waste and food waste by demonstrating implementation of e-wastes, plastics, and clothing reprocessing. San Francisco's program is an excellent example for other cities.' Dr. Thomas DiStefano, Chair and Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Bucknell University

'Both instructive and inspirational, Racing to Zero offers an honest and hopeful portrayal of one city's dream of rebirth and a possible end to America's waste nightmare. Including interviews with scholars, waste workers, small businesses, politicians and farmers, this film will be an invaluable resource to educators and environmental reformers alike.' Joshua Reno, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, SUNY- Binghamton University, Co-editor, Economies of Recycling: The Global Transformation of Materials, Values and Social Relations

'This video is excellent...Congratulations to San Francisco for daring to be idealistic and hats off to this film team for showing us how a dream can become a practical reality.' Dr. Paul Connett, Author, The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Chemistry, St. Lawrence University

'Inspiring...eye-opening...The film moves along at a brisk pace, introducing a wide range of public and private individuals - including policy makers, entrepreneurs, residents, waste management workers, and researchers. Each plays a part, and the film clearly demonstrates how each contributes to the city's goal of zero waste.' Jen Wong, Educational Media Reviews Online

'Rousing film exhorts us to join in...Even turning rubbish into art, these innovators zero in on new possibilities for greater sustainability.' Carol Harada, Mill Valley Film Festival

'An informative and optimistic film...Racing to Zero shows that it takes a tremendous effort of manpower, technology, and political will but that reducing the waste output of modern society is possible...maybe even all the way down to zero.' Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database




Awards

Best Climate Change and Sustainable Technologies Film, CMS Vatavan Environment and WIldlife Film Festival, India
Mill Valley Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Mendocino Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Columbus International Film + Video Festival
Wild and Scenic Film Festival
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
San Francisco Green Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival
Global Peace Film Festival
FICMA Barcelona International Environmental Film Festival
ReadingFilmFEST

Citation

Main credits

Beaver, Chris (film director)
Fuller, Diana (film producer)

Other credits

Editor, Maureen Gosling; original music, Dan Wool.


Distributor credits

Diana Fuller

Christopher Beaver

Diana Fuller
Christopher Beaver
Editor: Maureen Gosling
Original Music: Dan Wool
Cinematography: Christopher Beaver
Sound Design and Mix: Jim McKee
A Trash 24 Production

Docuseek2 subjects

Recycling and Waste
Resource Planning and Management
Sustainability
Pollution
Environmental Design
Energy
Urban Studies
Climate Change
Ecology
Business, Labor and Economics
Government Policy
Local Economies
Social Psychology
Sociology
Engineering
San Francisco

Distributor subjects

Anthropology
Art/Architecture
Business Practices
Climate Change/Global Warming
Conservation
Design
Ecology
Engineering
Environment
Environmental Ethics
Global Issues
Government
Green Building
Law
Local Economies
Materials Sciences
Natural Resources
Pollution
Public Administration
Recycling
Science, Technology, Society
Social Psychology
Sociology
Sustainability
Urban Studies
Urban and Regional Planning
Waste Management

Keywords

San Francisco, zero waste, carbon footprint, planned obsolescence, unrecyclable petroleum products, relationship to garbage, resources not waste, increased recycling, creative repurposing, composting, recycling organics, changes in living and consuming patterns, redwood landfill, recycling construction debris, recycling tour of city hall, inspection of bins, neighborhood recycling, glass recycling, apartment recycling, event recycling, composting in Chinatown, making compost, electronics recycling, plastics recycling, producer responsibility, textile recycling, biological hazard materials, toxic materials, non-incineration biogas for energy, corporate responsibility for compost, cradle to cradle, art from trash, garbage as resource, zero waste and climate change. school children lead the way, Robert Haley, William Rathje, garbology, Robert Shaffer, Mayor Edwin Lee, Wastebusters, Green Citizen, Goodwill, Ruihong Zhang, Recology; "Racing To Zero"; Bullfrog Films

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