Have you ever thought about how much our daily grocery shopping generates plastic waste? One artist in Ann Arbor, Michigan, wants to ensure we do just that with her latest creation: The Plastic Bag Store. This custom-built public art installation and film experience feature thousands of faux food items made entirely from discarded plastic bags, and it’s sure to make you think twice about your plastic consumption.

Source: University of Michigan/Youtube

The Plastic Bag Store is a thought-provoking, interactive experience that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of single-use plastics and their lasting impact on the environment. Visitors can browse the store’s shelves, stocked with items such as meat, eggs, and cakes made from single-use plastics collected from streets and garbage dumps. But it’s not just a static exhibit; at times throughout the day, the store will be transformed into a stage for a series of short films that use puppetry and handmade sets to tell a story about the dangers of plastic waste and the consequences for future generations.

According to Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research organization, Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually. Plastic bags are created from fossil fuels and often become waste in landfills and oceans. The Plastic Bag Store is a powerful reminder of how these single-use items can have a lasting impact on our planet.

The show, which runs until February 5th, is presented via a partnership between the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the University Musical Society, the University of Michigan Arts Initiative, and the Graham Sustainability Institute. After premiering in Times Square in 2020, it has made stops in Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Texas, and Adelaide, Australia.

The creative driving force behind the Plastic Bag Store, theater and film director Robin Frohardt, hopes the project will continue to tour and raise awareness in different communities. Her ultimate goal is for the project to become irrelevant, but she acknowledges that the problem of plastic waste is unlikely to go away on its own.

So next time you’re out shopping for groceries, think about the packaging and consider ways you can reduce your plastic consumption. Bring your bags, buy in bulk and opt for products with minimal packaging. Every little bit helps, and we can make a real difference in reducing plastic waste.

Read more about how companies like Facebook, Tupperware, Google, Dove,  Budweiser, Carlsberg, and FIJI Water are working towards reducing plastic pollution. Places around the world like Tel Aviv, California, Baltimore, Scotland and many more are banning various single-use plastics and others that are coming up with creative ways to recycle and use plastic waste.

There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using  mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!

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