I've been reading about microplastics and generally thinking about trash, as Portland has been overwhelmed with garbage lately. I know the trash that ends up on streets from our houselessness problem is a mere fraction of how much we throw away legally. So for the month of August, I gave my house the Plastics Challenge: collecting all the plastic we normally throw away. This is minus all yogurt containers and soda bottles that are already recycled by the city. That's JUST thirty days below.
It was sobering. And made me mad at Trader Joes. Who needs plastic on cucumbers??? But there is good news.
- Oregon's bottle bill of 10cents/bottle provides less garbage and more labor opportunities.
- Oregon's plastic bag ban means these have all but disappeared. Ditto with plastic straws.
- Also, we CAN recycle all the produce/chip/cereal bags and the clamshells and styrofoam, which was the bulk of our trash. Just not the usual way. We joined Ridwell, which takes a rotating cast of strange recyclables (halogen bulbs! batteries!)
Which is still too much and I know can't bring myself to trash anyway. I'm dreaming of ways of turning it into art. Here are some mobiles and other acetate experiments from the studio. I'm inspired by the Washed Ashore, who turns beach trash into huge community projects.