About this project
Two years ago, I started running – both for general exercise and race preparation – and decided to pick up aluminum cans abandoned along the roadside. A run one day down Big Cottonwood Canyon yielded 21 pounds of cans and the like, and this project took shape. Since then, I’ve run farm roads and busy routes, rounding up heaps of trash along the way in an effort to demonstrate the gross excess with which the average human litters. I’ve grabbed over 90 pounds in cans alone, but they’re only a small part of the problem. To that end, my focus has shifted to documenting the use of single-use plastic bags in Utah.
From April 22nd to May 22nd, I plan to drive to the four “corners” of Utah to take the first steps in my endeavor. My travels to the four corners, one week in each, will include state and national parks, rural communities, and Indian reservations. I’ll work to promote and document the clean-up of plastic bags and aluminum cans and create more awareness of the devastation that single-use plastic bags have on water systems, agriculture, and livestock in this state. Along the way, I’ll try to collect water samples and stories that will detail said negative effects, which I hope will create enough scientific evidence to stimulate discussion on plastic bags, as well as encourage voluntary recycling. During this time, I’ll also actively participate in local half-marathons, 10k’s, and 5k ‘fun runs’ to try to increase local awareness via discussions and meetings with mayors.
While I travel, I’ll photograph and paint the natural beauty of Utah, documenting that which litter and plastic bags are effectively destroying. On Saturday, June 1, 2013, I’ll host the Spring Art Adoption, a local art show featuring works from over 25 local artists. Here, I’ll show the collected prints, paintings, and garbage collected from across Utah.
Hauling so much trash across the state will take a toll, both on the environment and my wallet. I plan to offset my carbon footprint by purchasing trees from the local non-profit, www.TreeUtah.org, which works in conjunction with Salt Lake County’s One Million Trees program. I will also be taking a petition and surveys from Recycle Utah to gauge individual awareness about the dangers of plastics in our communities. More information about recycling in Utah can be found at www.momentumrecycling.com.
I shot this video where the proposed West Valley City Skatepark will be built. That is after all the liter is removed. https://vimeo.com/62275556
My wife and I spent Easter Sunday cleaning up our highway for a few hours, which became the trailer for this Kickstarter. This is what we brought home: https://vimeo.com/63100990
Risks and challenges
I hope to have this project fully funded on Earth Day, April 22, 2013. I will be traveling by truck and hauling my trash back to be recycled in SLC, UT. Worse case scenario is my truck breaks down or I'm injured in the process of walking county roads. After the show at the end of May I plan to ship out all photos, shirts and paintings after the display of the art installation.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As I travel around the state I hope to have petitions signed in each country to help awareness of the destruction of plastic. You can also fill out a survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Z59TKTZ
60,000 plastic bags are consumed in the U.S. every 5 seconds...that's one billion bags per year! Less than 5% of plastic bags (HDPE) that were generated in the United States in 2010 were recycled. Plastic is the most common type of marine litter worldwide, and comprises up to 90% of floating marine debris. Plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into small particles that persist in the ocean, absorb toxins, and enter our food chain through fish, sea birds and other marine life. Cows eat plastic bags, causing their death and economic loss to the cattle industry. Plastic bags litter our roads, state and national parks, harming Utah's billion-dollar tourist industry. The cleanup of plastic bags and bottles is costly as states and local governments spend millions annually to landfill plastic bags and clean up plastic litter clogging storm water drains and destroying scenic vistas.
Did You Know . . .
Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources. An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to 1 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter.
The Solution: A Plastic Bag Ban
Plastic bag bans produce the fastest and largest results in reducing plastic bag use. Charging fees for bags can produce income for local and state governments or retailers, and may eventually lower grocery prices. Curb-side recycling is NOT the answer because it is fails to reduce consumption, it is costly, recycling rates are low, contaminated plastic bags cannot be recycled, and the market for recycled plastic bags is limited to composite building materials—e.g., Trex—that are not recyclable.
The state of Utah is approximately 85,000 square miles and it's going to take a lot of gas to cover the entirity of it. I wish there was a less carbon reducing footprint for the project, but unfortunately I'll be hauling a lot of trash along the roads. Most of the funding is for gas ($1,300) a National Parks pass ($75) printing film ($150) buying locally produced art panels ($130) buying reusable/recycled shirts and handbags ($80) camping costs ($100) and food ($400) and shipping (?) plus the installation of the final project.
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- (15 days)