Could depictions of single-use plastics on TV shows go the way of cigarette smoking, becoming a taboo that Hollywood wants to avoid on screen?
The Plastic Pollution Coalition and some well-known performers, including the new president of the Screen Actors Guild, actress Fran Drescher, are behind an effort trying to do just that.
The new initiative, called "Flip the Script on Plastics," hopes to shift public opinions about single-use plastics by getting TV programs and movies to stop showing them on screen. Instead, they want entertainment to portray characters either with reusable bottles and containers or packaging-free alternatives.
"The campaign is really focused on getting single-use plastics out of film and TV," said PPC CEO Dianna Cohen. "We are in the process of de-normalizing single-use plastics in our lives."
PPC released a report in November, with the University of Southern California's Annenberg Norman Lear Center, examining how single-use plastics are portrayed on TV and giving recommendations to studios and show creators. It's also doing outreach in the entertainment industry.
The PPC effort has an ally in Drescher, who became president of SAG-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in September and formed a green council to work with environmental groups.
She put her support behind the effort in a Jan. 19 PPC webinar.
"I am excited to be working with you and excited to be making the elimination of single-use plastics the first cornerstone of the green council effort," Drescher said. "We have a responsibility to put content out there that normalizes the direction we want to be going in."
Drescher and SAG-AFTRA did not respond to a request for comment, but she's long spoken out on plastics topics, like a 2016 video encouraging Californians to vote in a referendum for the state's plastic bag ban.
"We had to be taught not to drink and drive; we had to be taught to buckle up for safety," Drescher said on the PPC webinar. "We had to be taught not to litter, and we have to be taught not to use single-use plastics."