Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Plastic
March 22, 2021 7:07 PM - Season 8, Episode 6 - Subscribe

This week from the White Void of Sad Facts--The shootings in Atlanta of eight people, six of them Asian women, and the terrible response from police authorities. And Now: Even During A Pandemic, Local News Cannot Be Trusted With St. Patrick's Day. Main story (22m): plastic. Think we live in a golden age of recycling plastic? Think again: less than 9% of plastic made gets recycled, and over half of all plastic ever produced was made since 2005. How did we get to this point, when plastic recycling has been promoted for decades?

F.37: "HBO Maximus Maximus," SNYDER CUT
posted by JHarris (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was notably harsh about the previous episode but have nothing but love for this one.

Really all it takes is one McGoat in the void and I'm good.
posted by tjgrathwell at 10:12 PM on March 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have to admit that while I'd heard complaints about recycling and sorta believed them, watching this really exposed the depths of my ignorance and naivete.
posted by mark k at 11:30 PM on March 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

The wishcycling scam is legit and depressing.

Closed loop recycling is certainly possible, but the energy costs (total, on top of the infrastructure, including waste management) of doing so is so far more than making more from virgin raw material.

Even if internal combustion engines get replaced, a lot of petrochemical extracts get used in the production of plastics.


Nice to see a little bit of the old whimsy in ragging on Totes McGoats though.

Noticed that Oliver made a small joke that his writers were tired and could use a week off-air, which they will.

What odds do you give that the recycling segment was canned, and was filmed months ago, to use when they needed to fill in half a show? Absolutely nothing wrong with it, especially given the show's past chops.
posted by porpoise at 11:51 PM on March 22, 2021

I am utterly baffled as to what kind of recycling pun Totes McGoats must be (?).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:56 PM on March 23, 2021

That was a bit of a head scratcher and maybe that's the gag about "goat head mask cheap" (that particular mask does show up for me in google shopping, but not the top item).

The only thing I can see if that goats will eat anything. Metal signs, barbed wire, car tires, etc.

Well, except for roots - they're much better bio lawnmowers than sheep since, unlike sheep, they won't eat plants down to the roots (and kill the plant).
posted by porpoise at 1:48 PM on March 23, 2021

Totes McGotes is itself already a slang term. To what extent it was, uh...extended to actual goats is, yeah, maybe 1930s cartoons about them eating tin cans? That's recycling, of a sort.
posted by Guy Smiley at 2:39 PM on March 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

The documentary Plastic Wars, is where many of the clips come from. In Canada you can stream it on CBC gem.

Bonus summary link.

Knowing that the plastic we come across everyday will not be recycled and will last longer than the pyramids is daunting.
posted by ecco at 8:38 PM on March 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

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