Collecting Plastic. Making Art.
As you know, since I started this project in June of 2007, I’ve been collecting my own plastic waste and posting it weekly, and now monthly, on this blog. Why do that? Because in the beginning, I had no idea how much plastic waste I was actually making. In order to see what areas needed improvement, I had to collect it and see what I was generating in the first place.
Beth Terry’s plastic trash collection, Week 2
Collecting my plastic and displaying it publicly helps me to be more mindful of what comes into my life and how I treat the materials of this world. It helps me think twice before grabbing that drink in a plastic-lined paper cup or accepting one more plastic straw automatically inserted into my drink. It encourages me to contact companies before ordering their merchandise to see if they will ship my purchase without any plastic packaging. And it actually humbles me and helps me to be less judgmental of the perceived shortcomings of others. No one is perfect, right?
Last year, I challenged Fake Plastic Fish readers to take the challenge with me and collect their plastic waste for just one week to look at and analyze their own plastic consumption. The challenge is not about making judgments or comparisons with other people. And it’s certainly not about guilt. It’s just a way to take an objective look at the plastic that makes its way into our lives, to find plastic-free alternatives, and to realize the limits to what we can do as individuals. Our modern culture does not make it easy for us.
It’s been about a year since I threw down the gauntlet. Those who have taken the challenge have learned a lot about what plastic is in their lives and ways they can personally reduce. Some found they were generating more plastic waste than expected. And some actually discovered they were using less than they thought. Everyone woke up to the fact that plastic is all around us and infuses our daily lives in ways we often don’t realize.
Be Part of a Fabulous Art Installation!
We need your plastic!
For those who haven’t taken the challenge yet, I’ve got an exciting project to announce. Friends of mine are doing a big art piece at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco on June 3 this year in celebration of Jacques Cousteau’s 100th Birthday. There will be 4,000+ people attending, as well as the Cousteau grandchildren. The art pieces are ALL about Plastic Pollution – and should be very thought provoking and edgy.
We can be a part of this artwork. The team needs plastic to put in different elements of the piece – all of it single use disposable plastic. This is a great way to engage with this critical issue of how plastic is literally killing the sea, and help put it in some art that thousands of people will see – hopefully making them aware of the crisis.
The Challenge is Easier Than Ever
Whether you decide to contribute your plastic to the art piece or not, I would like you to collect, tally, and upload your results to the Show Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge web site. In fact, I’ve made it much easier to do by creating a form for you to fill in and a simple way to upload your photograph.
Check it out. See what others have done and get inspired!
So will you do it?
Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post if you’d like to participate in the challenge or have questions about it. Make it fun. Do it with your friends or your kids or do it alone. It’s your project. You decide how you want to do it and how many of the questions on the form you want to answer. If you don’t have a scale to weigh your plastic, don’t worry. The picture is the most important part. That, and your feelings afterwards. Please help others learn that using plastic doesn’t make us bad people, but looking at how it affects our daily lives and thinking about ways we can help change the world can only make us better.