An upcoming movie outlining solutions to the global environmental problem of plastic waste is taking viewers to Cherokee County.
"Plastic Earth," written, directed and produced by Woodstock resident Jack Winch and native Georgian Janice Overbeck, has scenes shot in Cherokee County and takes audiences across the Atlantic Ocean, to locations including the Netherlands and Australia.
The documentary, which comes out Tuesday, looks at plastic waste's effect on the environment and various solutions and technologies to combat the problem.
"There's more than one solution — it's not just 'don't litter,' and it's not just 'come up with new products,' it's also about what we need to do with the problems already there in the oceans," Winch said. "We took every aspect of this problem and came up with 10 solutions that we give in the film. These range from waste-to-energy, composting and recycling, to name some."
The film includes Hobgood Park in Woodstock with a cleanup effort done by members of the community with Keep Cherokee Beautiful, Winch said. At the Cherokee County Recycling Center, Overbeck talks to Recycling Center Troy Brazie about what efforts are being made to keep waste from reaching oceans.
"We started locally to show what's going on, but we didn't want it to be just a local film, so we locked in interviews with different companies that are making strides in changing solutions to plastic wastes," Winch said.
The film then follows Overbeck on her trips to various cities and countries for interviews with scientists, environmentalists, startup CEOs, educators, and experts on the topic of plastic waste, pollution, and microplastics with organizations such as the Ocean Clean-Up in the Netherlands, RWDC in Athens, Georgia, Licella in Australia and Copenhill in Denmark.
Winch and Overbeck, along with their coproducers Gunar Overbeck and Scott Seydel, through the interviews and discussions with experts, discovered that there are solutions to the "plastics crisis," Winch said.
"One of the coolest things we have in the film is this waste energy plant in Copenhagen, Denmark called Copenhill," Winch said. "They built a facility to put out steam instead of smog. They take the waste from the city, and by the time it comes out of the tower, it puts out steam. The facility is so clean, that they were able to make the top of the building into an artificial ski slope. That's just one of the interesting places we visited filming this and if cities can put these kinds of things in their communities, we can solve a lot of the problems out there relating to waste and plastic."
The interviews and filming were compiled and shot from early 2021 into 2022, Overbeck said.
The two got involved in the project after realizing they both shared the same interests in film making, as well as detailing different issues going on in the environment and ways these problems can be fixed.
Before "Plastic Earth," Winch was working on a project with Dr. Michael Good, who was the owner of Town and Country Veterinary Clinics locations in Cobb and Cherokee County, before Good's death in 2021. Overbeck is a friend of Good, and asked Winch if he would be interested in creating a documentary on environmental issues. Winch said he was interested, and the two got to work, Winch said.
"Plastic Earth," hosted by actor and comedian Rob Riggle, is scheduled to release in the U.S. and Canada Tuesday on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes and all on-demand services for Dish, Comcast and more. A worldwide release will come at a later date, Overbeck said.
The trailer for "Plastic Earth" can be found at bit.ly/3jESMUT.
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