It might sound dramatic, but our world is quickly turning into a plastic wasteland. You might be wondering how this can be – after all, the world is a pretty huge place… Well consider this, every year we produce around 300 million tons of plastic and only around 15 percent of that gets recycled. The rest is sent to landfills where it will either take hundreds of years to break down into tiny pieces of plastic “dust,” or it will get washed into the ocean, where it will break down on a similar timeline.

Every year around 8.8 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans, and scientists estimate that this influx of plastic, paired with rampant rates of overfishing, will lead to a scenario where this is effectively more plastic in the ocean than fish – and this is all set to happen by 2050. On land, plastic is expanding across natural landscapes, it is not uncommon to find plastic bags and bottles blowing through even the most remote of settings.

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If you’re anything like us, Green Monsters, you probably find this overwhelming takeover of trash pretty frustrating. But the fact is, the majority of people are more content enjoying their short-term convenience rather than thinking about long-term consequences. To bring light to the current state of our plastic problem, artist Vilde Rolfsen created a series of thought-provoking images called “Plastic Bag Landscapes” that portray the potential future for the world’s landscape.

From far away, this photo could easily be mistaken for a glorious mountain range.

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But in actuality, these are crumpled up plastic bags that Rolfsen found on the street.

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The contrast between the apparent beauty and the grave realization that this beauty is made from trash sends a subtle but powerful message to viewers.

Series of photographes created by photographing plastic bags

Rolfsen explained in an interview that her work isn’t overtly political, but rather aims to encourage people to refuse single-use plastic bags and opt for reusable alternatives. 

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On her website, Rolfsen closes the series with a very poignant message, “Plastic bags are a huge contributor to the landfill waste and are extremely harmful for our oceans and the creatures living there. Do not say yes to a plastic bag when shopping.”

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Art has the incredible ability to change the way we relate to issues. Seeing plastic juxtaposed with natural landscapes is sure to make people see the connection between their daily habits and the larger impact they have on the world. For more from Vilde Rolfsen, check out her website. 

So What Can YOU Do to Help?

If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way  into landfills and the oceans.

As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.

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Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.

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All image source: Vilde Rolfsen

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