Blog: EarthSpirit
by Mayah

Art:Plastic Wreath

Eco Art with a social conscience: plastic bags are dumped in landfills and end up in the ocean by the BILLIONS each year across the United States.

Date:   8/7/2012 2:54:46 AM   ( 10 y ) ... viewed 5113 times

Photo: Martin Poole/Thinkstock(1) from AAA Westways Magazine; July/August 2012 issue

"Plastic Bag Wreath" by mayah (c)2012

"Eco Art by mayah" utilizes reused materials and eco-friendlier art supplies. This 14" diameter wreath is made from reused: plastic bags, corrugated cardboard, magazine photo from AAA Westways Magazine; backed with recycled aluminum foil. Non-toxic glue. Reused leather hanger.


When I saw the photo of the stacked plastic bags in the AAA magazine article, I knew immediately that I wanted to use it in an art piece; the photo sat on my art desk for about a month until inspiration suddenly struck late last night; I was up the rest of the night cutting plastic strips and gluing them on to the round cardboard backing. I cut out the magazine photo of the plastic garbage bags, mounted it on cardboard, and glued it to the center of the plastic wreath.


I live in Southern California and was struck by the facts that were listed in the accompanying article about the immense waste generated by paper and plastic bags in the city of Los Angeles alone: "According to L.A.’s Bureau of Sanitation, an estimated 400 million paper bags and 2.3 billion plastic bags are used each year in the city. But only about 21 percent of the paper bags and only 5 percent of the plastic make it into the recycle bin; the rest end up in landfills." (2) What the article doesn't mention is that much of the plastic ends up in the ocean, endangering marine life that gets tangled up in or swallows the debris.(3)

The city of L.A. has a population of about 4 million people. The United States of America has about 300 million people. Doing some simple math, that means that about 30 BILLION paper bags and 173 BILLION plastic bags are used each year in the United States. Again using the L.A stats, that means that about 24 BILLION paper bags and 164 BILLION plastic bags are NOT RECYCLED end up in the landfill...or the ocean...EACH YEAR.


When I was a kid we didn't use plastic bags; we took our groceries and other purchases home in paper bags; the bags were reused to wrap packages, do art work, or as trash bags. And, of course, over time paper bags degrade, especially when wet. Not so with plastic. The solution is simple, of course, one we all know: bring your own cloth bags, not just to the grocery store but everywhere you go shopping. Wash the bags out on occasion.

I still have a dilemma when it comes to kitchen trash bags. Paper bags just don't hold the wet gunk so I re-use plastic bags that I've saved up for several years from the grocery store, shopping trips, and the occasional bag that finds its way to my front porch from charitable organizations or as packaging for the latest telephone directory (that's where I got the bags for this art--I never throw away an empty bag). When my supply of saved bags runs out, then what? I'll have to BUY PLASTIC BAGS!!

Of course, there are plastic bags made from RECYCLED PLASTIC--the only eco way to go. I've tried biodegradable plastic bags made from corn but unfortunately, they work all too well and degrade the first instant anything wet comes into contact with them, spilling their yucky content directly into my kitchen trash can. The best bags I've found so far are these:

Seventh Generation: Recycled kitchen and garbage trash bags:    

 Let me know if you've tried any other products that work for you re: trash bags.


                     Everything we do as consumers makes a difference. It Matters.



Amazing Art from ocean trash!    "Washed Ashore Plastics, Sea Life & Art is the vision of artist and educator Angela Haseltine Pozzi. This community art project turned the ugly reality of ocean trash into" 15 massive, beautiful, "sculptures of the marine life we strive to save, inspiring us all to re-think our use of plastics and change our habits."

Art: Rain Forest Toucan
Eco Art with a social conscience:
Rainforest Alliance

Art: Protect the Spirit Bear: Spirit Bears only live on the coast of British Columbia. Their habitat is endangered by the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry 500,000 barrels a day of oil from the Alberta tar sands directly through the home of the Spirit Bear.

Art: Gorilla Chocolate   Eco Art with a social conscience: Fair Trade, Shade Grown, Organic Chocolate

Art:"North Meets South"  Eco MaG with a social conscience: Ice melting in Northern/Southern hemispheres threatens animal species and indigneous people's way of life.




(1)   Thinkstock  : Millions of royalty-free images from Getty Images, iStockphoto and Jupiterimages; the images are all copyright-free but unfortunately, you need to pay to download images. The photo I used in my art was cut out of a magazine, not taken from the internet.

(2)Ocean Plastic:  "Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than 1 million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris. Marine debris is manmade waste that is directly or indirectly disposed of in oceans, rivers, and other waterways. Most trash reaches the seas via rivers, and 80% originates from landfills and other urban sources. This waste, which is also consumed by fish and can entangle sharks and damage coral reefs, tends to accumulate in gyres (areas of slow spiraling water and low winds) and along coastlines.

There are 5 major ocean gyres worldwide. In the Pacific Ocean, the North Pacific Gyre is home to the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch', a large area that is approximately the size of Texas with debris extending 20 feet (6 meters) down into the water column. It’s estimated that this 'plastic island' contains 3.5 million tons of trash and could double in size in the next 5 years. Researchers have also estimated that for every 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of plankton in this area, there is 13.2 pounds (6 kilograms) of plastic. Common marine debris items includes things like cigarette butts, cans, plastic bags and bottles, styrofoam, balloons, lighters, and toothbrushes. Discarded or lost fishing gear such as lines, nets and buoys are especially dangerous to sea life."


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Comments (25 of 113):
Re: Art: Wounds of… kermi… 21 d
Re: "Queen Corona"… Mayah 23 mon
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Re: Brain Teaser S… Mayah 24 mon
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Re: Spirit/Ancesto… tfola 27 mon
Re: Eco Art: Alter… Mayah 4 y
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Re: Spring Eco Car… Mayah 4 y
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Re: EcoArt:Measure… kermi… 4 y
Re: Spring Eco Car… YOURE… 4 y
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Re: Handmade Art B… Mayah 5 y
Re: Handmade Art B… YOURE… 5 y
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