How Sabrina got rid of the plastic bottle
This Summer, I asked my friend and college Sabrina, if she'd like to participate at my project Windows of Consumption. The goal was to see how she and her family would react to the project, and if there would be some kind of change happening. Read the surprising story:
Stage 1 – collecting
We agreed on x weeks of her collecting all her plastic waste. After 3 weeks, she sent me this text: "When can you come to build your art installation? The view of all this plastic makes me feel guilty. I feel like I'm invading the world with a lot of trash. What a frustration!"
Actually, this reaction didn’t come as a surprise. It is kind of the point of collecting your plastic trash- you start to realize how much plastic you use in everyday life– and if nobody’s taking it out of your sight- it’s just a splinter in your eye.🙎🏽♀️
Stage 2 – building the installation
One week later, and 2 garbage bags added to the collection, I showed up at Sabrina’s house. The pile of plastic bags already waiting in the middle of her kitchen. Her cat sniffing and exploring the bags like a new terrain, it was about to take a nap on the edge of the pile. She, her partner and kids left the scenery, so I was alone with the cat and together we started exploring the piles of plastic trash bags. 🐈
Going through the trash of people is like putting together a mosaic of little pieces of identity. The preference of dish washers, soaps, chips, yoghurts. They all told a story of every day life of Sabrina's family. Many of the products came in duplications of 5,10,20. The pattern of their consumption was slowly unfolding in front of me.
The amount of plastic was too much to place in a single window. I started to put aside the things which I fount the most. At the end of the project this would help me to define the top 3 plastics which Sabrina and her family used the most.
The fun part is attaching the different plastics on the windows. Since I never know what plastics I'll be having in front of me, I usually plan my designs completely spontaneously.
The yellow of the croissant packaging reminded me of a desert, or of a sandy beach. The plastic bags from the supermarket bakery: Hard to recycle as they are a paper with a plastic sheet attached to them. The bottle caps became fishes, and the picknick paper plates were hanging over the beach front, like multiple suns.
On the right upper side, the discount foods in bright red and on the left, the organic green plastic section. Every piece fount its place. The cat sat quietly, observing the scene.. I forgot to add It’s food containers.
40 blue plastic bottles, became the form of an ocean wave.🌊
Stage 3 – gaining awareness
Sabrina and her family came back home: “Wow, this is beautiful and terrible at the same time!” – was their first reaction. 😱
She sat down in front of the window which function of bringing light to the house has been deprived. Looking at her remnants, she recounts: " We have to change something! Not sure what and how yet, but something has got to change.."
They decided to keep the installation in their kitchen windows for the entire day and night. Diner with the kids- looking at their piles of plastic in their window. 🙂 I guess, it was then when they started making plans to get rid of the plastic bottle.
Stage 4 – making the change
Which trash did they use the most in this 4 weeks?
- 2 L plastic bottles (around 50!)
- Croissant packaging ( around 10)
- Take away packaging
- Joghurts (around 20)
She decided to first tackle the plastic bottles. ✅
For the plastic bottles, she thought thoroughly about a solution. There were 2 main reasons, they bought the plastic bottles:
1) Her family doesn’t drink water from the tab because of the content of calcium.
2) In Italy it is still costly to order glass bottles.
3) You rarely find any glass water bottles in a supermarket.
So, the simple solution that they came up with was to get a water filter for tab! 🤗 This saves them around 50 plastic bottles per month, that is 600 bottles a year. Translated to euro that would be around 500,00 euro.
The change in your consumption has to come from within. Sometimes, it helps to see with your own eyes, that the way you consume does have an impact. Sabrina and her family did an amazing change to their every day life behaviour- I am just happy that my project made her become aware, and that there was a change in the right direction.