“Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it,” says Ricky Fitts, played by Wes Bentley, in the famous floating bag scene in Alan Ball’s 1999 satire American Beauty. We can all agree that this moment of beauty in the Oscar-winning film is just trash. Yes, trash. Plastic that is going to disintegrate in hundreds of years. So, a question arises: Where might the famous bag of American Beauty end up after 20 years? Well, if you ask Greenpeace, this famous piece of plastic remains exactly in the same spot, waiting for the time to pass and turn it into nothingness.

Luckily for us, and the environment, Greenpeace has spotted the bag in the same place and made a video that fights against the single-use plastic. Under the hashtag #ChileSinPlásticos, the scene marks the 20th anniversary of the comedy-drama, while it poses a question where the bag might end up today and where it will be in the future considering the fact that it takes around 400 years for plastics to decompose.

The worldwide initiative to end the use of single-use plastics—titled ‘Break free from plastic’—was put together in partnership with creative agency McCann Santiago de Chile and presents a new call to action.

Countries in Latin America, with Chile amongst them, are taking huge steps to combat the use of plastics. To do so, Greenpeace needs to make people change their behavior first. By questioning the iconic scene from the Hollywood movie, Greenpeace asks the viewers a series of painful questions: Where would this world be if we continue to use plastics and throw it in landfills and oceans? Would the world look the same? Or would we end up buried in the trash?

In a statement, Greenpeace uncovers their reasoning: “For Greenpeace, it’s very important the pressure we can generate to the politicians and companies, but we also want to connect with people in a friendlier way, from closer things such as sports or cinema. In this case, the protagonist is a bag from a movie, but our ambition is to raise awareness that all the plastic we throw will end inevitably in a landfill, in a river or in the ocean, being part of the 8 million tons of plastics that reach the ocean every year.”

We all can most probably agree with the beauty of the iconic film scene, but at the same time, we would also like for that bag to be recycled somewhere. Don’t you agree? Or would you let the bag act as the main protagonist for the next few years? Let us know by sharing your eco-friendly opinion below!


Client: Greenpeace

Agency: McCann Santiago de Chile