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Swimming in Waste: Analysis of the Documentary Dive Essay

Jeremy Seifert’s informative documentary The Dive looks deeper into the American enigma of how and why we have 96 billion pounds of food waste a year in our country when 1 billion people a day are starving worldwide. Seifert tells his viewers’ information that can prove there in lay a serious problem. For example there is 96 billion pounds of food wasted every year in America which is enough to feed the nation of Haiti for 5 years and 1 in every 7 households in the United States is at risk of going hungry.

Throughout the 2010 film, Seifert delves into several questions that lack emphasis from the American population that should be able to provide at least that. What is it about a corporations liability concerns that makes it okay to allow so many to go hungry? Why not limit food productions overall or ration purchasable amounts at retail grocery establishments to help control over buying unnecessary excess? Where do changes need to take place first to start a chain reaction of progress forward in helping to diminish these staggering statistics?

But what Seifert does point out is that large corporations are not willing to address the questions even when they are confronted with the information. Simply put, the amount of food being overly produced in America needs to be looked at from a much deeper point of view since we have more than enough production and yet people are starving in our own country and countries around the world. It is not as complicated of a topic as many make it seem to be; after all we have the products to give to those who need it, it is just a matter of getting it to them if we are willing to do that the problem seems to be solved.

Frequently the film stresses how much waste the retail chains have each day and how little they are donating to the facilities that have a need for much more than they have or are given. The recurrent scene of the dozers plowing through the large amounts of waste in the landfills reminds us of the staggering amount of waste each year. Seifert was able to show through example that way more food than one family can consume is discarded daily. He began with dumpster diving to show his family could eat food that was clearly still good and have more than enough.

Seifert’s friend the chef shows through example how properly cooking the food that had just hours before been in the dumpster, make “garbage” into a delicious meal. The need to clean all the blueberries and strawberries and then freeze them because there was way too many is a prime example. Seifert is appearing to try and bring to light the problem of how much is being wasted and tossed away when it could clearly be donated to those who would be appreciative to use it. Not pointing the finger at the company who are not donating all they really could.

One of the main objectives of the film is to bring to light how little attention is placed on how large of an issue the food insecure and starving population is when the waste amounts are so high. An illusion is created with the dumpster diving scenes, in that it portrays simplicity in getting food out of the dumpsters and eating it is so easy. As stated at the end of a few of the dumpster scenes, a lot of facilities are starting to lock up their dumpsters and its surrounding area. So what if you are homeless and have no way of cooking the food that you could potentially get out of the dumpster?

There would in lay the corporations point of view of being held responsible for the products you got from them. Also the liability issue should you get hurt while in the dumpster area or getting in and out of the dumpster itself. Seifert respectfully uses many friends and his own family to help get the message across. Even though he could have included more face to face interviews about the situation at hand rather than phone conversations, but that is forgiven when it is revealed that the film had only a $200 budget for production.

Raising a valid point with the information given throughout the film, Seifert’s tone is sometimes portrayed with a sense of sarcasm by using his own ability to waste the free food he got from the dumpster dives. By being able to question his own food waste integrity and that of his family Seifert raises the question to the viewer of a persons’ value of food even when it is free is so low due to the abundance at their fingertips, its true meaning, value and importance is lost.

Jeremy Seifert gets the information across quite well by backing up his point with facts and hypnotic stop-motion animation illustrated through the food waste he gathered from dumpsters. In conclusion, yes there is a lot of food waste building in our landfills every year and we as a population need to make changes to this but it does not mean that there is no hope of changing for the future generations.


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