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Trash Art

A Wave in Recycling

By E. J. StrangePublished 3 years ago 3 min read

Reusable period panties, remembering our reusable bags at the grocery store, shutting off water between soaping and rinsing, keeping unnecessary lights off, wearing pants a few extra times before washes, buying sustainable products, walking the extra few steps to the recycling, unplugging electronics in disuse, swapping out for energy saving appliances, and on and on and on. There are many ways to slash our carbon footprint. Some methods fulfilling while others can feel downright nerve wracking especially here in the U.S. where recycling and consumption reduction is not a social precedent. It can even be disheartening when you have gone that extra mile and news still tells you it's not enough. We are still burying ourselves in trash and suffocating ourselves in carbon. Hope and change always start on the smallest of levels, though. It starts with the individual and spreads like an idea until it becomes a movement. So how do we turn a ripple into a wave? I think the simple answer is Trash Art.

The U.S. alone produces 254 million tons of trash and only about 34% of that is recycled. We don’t really see the trash though. Does anyone really think about it once it's left their home? Can anyone picture its ugliness cast upon the land? For me out of sight out of mind. Right? And even if you did see the heaping mounds of rot and everlasting obstruction would you want to continue looking? I certainly don’t and I know serval around me who prefer their blissful ignorance. People can say you need to face a problem head on, but so much of us would prefer not to see through the cracks.

I saw my first trash art in a video on a short clip from Facebook. By trash art, I don’t mean to degrade the artist. I am simply referring to art that is made of various types of garbage. The particular artist that first captured my attention was Theo Jansen. He made living art out of the plastic pollution he found along the beach. I was mesmerized as his creations came alive and crept ominously across the beach horizon. Our trash was no longer hidden. It was very much in sight. However, it wasn’t repulsive and unsightly like the landfills and the floating islands of plastic in the pacific were. It was something I could relate to. It was something I could understand. It was something I could digest without having to look away in revulsion. It carried with it the pang guilt as it shamed me into realizing there was so much more I could do with my trash. There was so much more I should be doing to reduce my garbage consumption.

Art gets people thinking in different ways. It can invoke emotions. It can draw attention without repelling its audience. Art can make things understandable and approachable. I feel so often that people want to fight against the facts or even ignore them. When people are looking at art though they are more actively thinking about the problem and not instantly trying to reject the issue. For me, and I assume for others, art intrigues and makes me want to understand. It bridges that gap where I would have floundered in denial.

Not only does trash art induce awareness it has physical impacts as well. You are taking trash from landfills. It is minute honestly, but every little inch in the right direction is still an inch in the right direction. It is just as potent as deciding to buy green products or use less water. An artist taking discarded products instead of buying materials saves the amount of waste going to a landfill or drifting into natural habitats.

Change doesn’t happen overnight especially when so many of us loathe change. Emotions and constructive examples can ease our aversions and pave the way for that transition. Trash art is a prime example of this and a great way to soak into the minds of many, so I will make my little impact by supporting these innovative artists and their work. I dare you to google trash art and really look at the beauty of recycling. I also invite you to share in these beauties so the world can see and understand.


About the Creator

E. J. Strange

I am new to the writing community but hope to publish a novel one day. I am simple minded and sucker for romance.

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