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Unmasking the Truth in Dirty Business documentary

Dirty Business is an eye-opening documentary that unveils the shocking truth about the global trade in plastic waste from British households.

Keywords: Plastic waste, Recycling, Environmental impact, Global trade, British landfill problem, Sky News investigation, Yutao Chen, Documentary. Three words: Eye-opening, Challenging, Revealing


Dirty Business, directed by Yutao Chen and released in 2018, is a hard-hitting documentary that unveils the shocking truth behind the disposal of plastic waste from British households. The film exposes the disturbing reality that thousands of tons of plastic scrap, collected for recycling, end up in landfills across the globe.


The documentary follows a Sky News investigation that reveals the alarming extent of the global trade in plastic waste. From Poland to Hong Kong, piles of plastic waste from the UK find their way to various sites, leading experts to conclude that landfill disposal is the only viable option. Dirty Business raises pressing concerns about the financial incentive to export plastic waste rather than recycle domestically, thereby inflating UK recycling rates and neglecting local recycling investment.

More Film Analysis


Dirty Business adopts an investigative approach, utilizing detailed research and on-the-ground reporting to expose the depth of the plastic waste issue. The film explores the economic, political, and environmental factors that contribute to the prevalence of this problem.

Historical and Factual Context

The global plastic waste crisis has escalated as countries, including the UK, struggle to manage and recycle their waste. This documentary provides essential context for understanding the complexities of plastic waste management and the implications of misplaced investment in recycling.

Key themes in the film

  • Global plastic waste crisis
  • Mismanagement of recycling efforts
  • The impact of economic incentives on waste disposal
  • The role of investigative journalism in exposing environmental issues

Film Comparisons

Dirty Business can be compared to other environmental documentaries such as "Plastic China" and "A Plastic Ocean". However, it sets itself apart by focusing on the international trade aspect of the plastic waste problem.

Noteworthy Moments

One of the most significant moments in Dirty Business is the revelation of how exporting plastic waste has become a lucrative business, potentially inflating the UK's recycling rates and diverting resources from domestic recycling efforts.


This documentary has been praised for its rigorous investigative work and its ability to shed light on a pressing environmental issue. Critics have commended its direct approach and in-depth exploration of the global plastic waste crisis.


Dirty Business is a must-watch for anyone interested in environmental issues, particularly those related to waste management and recycling. Its revelations are both enlightening and alarming, highlighting the urgent need for improved waste management strategies.

More film information:


  • Genre: Documentary



  • Yutao Chen: Director
  • Sky News: Investigative team



  • UK
  • Poland
  • Hong Kong

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

  • How can the UK better manage its plastic waste?
  • What role does international trade play in the global plastic waste crisis?
  • How does the financial incentive to export waste impact domestic recycling efforts?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. If this film was a famous book, it would be Silent Spring by Rachel Carson because both discuss the environmental impact of human actions.
  2. If this film was a famous song, it would be "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell for its environmental message.
  3. If this film was a famous piece of art, it would be "The Gleaners" by Jean-François Millet, which depicts the struggle of the poor against waste.
  4. If this film was a famous celebrity, it would be David Attenborough for his commitment to raising awareness about environmental issues.
  5. If this film was a color, it would be blue, representing the vast oceans filled with plastic waste.
  6. If this film was a music style, it would be protest folk, for its urgent call to action against an environmental crisis.