Winner 2018

The Plastic Problem

PBS NewsHour

In The Plastic Problem, PBS NewsHour correspondents Jeffrey Brown, Amna Nawaz, and Paul Solman take an in-depth look at how our dependence on plastic is affecting ecosystems worldwide, choking landfills, maiming wildlife, and washing ashore even on remote and once-pristine shores such as Easter Island. The series effectively describes how our appetite for durability and convenience has created a pervasive and overwhelming problem—one that has become more acute now that China has adopted much stricter requirements for plastic imports. An exploration of how the recycling industry developed and its limits, the series also examines potential solutions to take its place such as bans, compostable materials, and innovative reuse. In this way, viewers are pushed to confront the difficult truth that recycling—a virtuous habit for many Americans and the basis for one of our longtime leading exports—will not solve a growing crisis. Each segment complicates our understanding of an amazing yet environmentally challenging material that undergirds so much of modern life. For such important and evocative coverage, we award The Plastic Problem a Peabody.


Executive Producer: Sara Just. Producers: Lorna Baldwin, Sarah Clune, Mike Fritz, Emily Carpeaux, Murrey Jacobson. Correspondents: Jeffrey Brown, Amna Nawaz, Paul Solman, John Yang. Editors/Designers: Bob Hartman, Adam Sarraf. Cinematography: Malcolm Brown, Jason Lelchuk, Eric O’Connor. Digital: Nsikan Akpan, Julia Griffin, Travis Daub.