Jeremy Irons has played some serious douchebags: Scar, Claus von Bülow, Simon Gruber, the ultimate caricature of the 1% in Margin Call, the cauldron in Once Upon a Halloween (oh, did you miss that one?). The point is, it’s a little disconcerting to see him tromping around a Lebanese dump in rubber boots and a sad little straw hat, empathizing with a Palestinian refugee who picks trash for a living. But just because he’s so good at being villainous onscreen doesn’t mean that he can’t have his concerned celebrity cause movie. And the cause Irons chose is garbage.

Trashed, a documentary directed by Candida Brady and executive-produced by and starring Irons (with a score by Vangelis), looks at the toxic effects an endless worldwide buildup of waste has on our health and environment. To be honest, I kind of wish such a powerhouse of film-industry talent had tackled a slightly more cutting-edge or original issue — I mean, Jeremy Irons’ voice over a Vangelis theme is a surefire way to lend gravity to any situation, and it just seems a bit of a waste (ahem) to use such drama to approach what I see as a pretty broad, old-school environmental issue: We throw too much shit away! We should recycle instead! Yeah, and did you know there’s a hole in the ozone layer?

That said, Trashed lays out the scope of the situation pretty effectively, starting with the problem of our dumps filling to capacity, leading many cities to resort to incineration, which may get rid of the trash itself, but releases dioxins into the environment that ruin farmland and cause cancer and birth defects. These toxins have become so prevalent that everyone contains low levels of them in their body, but high levels can be especially harmful to developing fetuses. This means it can take a generation after initial exposure for the effects to become obvious.