The Sixth International Marine Debris Conference is taking place this week, March 12-16, 2018. March is also the month when many North American students head to the beach for spring break.
So this is a great time to discuss beach trash – which is unfortunately an unlimited source of art supplies. It is estimated there is 315 billion pounds of plastic in the oceans (according to PBS NewsHour).
Sculpture Artists who Work with Plastic Beach Trash
Cindy Pease Roe
Fiber Artists Who Incorporate Beach Trash
Beach Trash Photographers
Beach Trash Artists who Focus on Lumber, Cigarettes and Sea Glass
What can you do to address beach trash?
- No More Plastic Straws – An organization called Strawfree.org says 500 million straws are thrown out in the US every day. I have both metal and bamboo straws that work great.
- Make Your Own Bucket and Shovel – Sometimes my family forgets to bring a bucket and shovel. One option is to cut a plastic milk jug. You can cut the handle of the milk jug to make a little shovel, while using the base as a bucket.
- Join a Beach Clean-up – You can clean up beach trash any day, but if you’d like to join a global event, there is an International Coastal Clean-up annually where you send in data. It’s an example of citizen science and an opportunity to get friends out to help clean up. This year, the International Coastal Clean-up is September 15th, 2018.
- Enter a Beach Trash Art Contest – In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA hosts an annual beach trash contest. There is a contest called Splash Trash that is open until May 1. Visit splashtrash.org to vote for your favorite beach trash art entries.
- Replace Plastic as Much as You Can – I’m going to teach you a new word, which is nurdle or N-U-R-D-L-E. This is a common plastic beach trash also called “mermaid’s tears,” and they are the raw material from which plastic objects are made. A huge amount of nurdles are in the ocean because they get washed out to sea during the manufacturing and transportation process. They look like fish eggs so many marine wildlife eat them. As long as we keep buying plastic items, there will be nurdles. So anything we can do to replace plastic with non-plastic, let’s do it.
Trashmagination’s Beach and Ocean Art
On my birthday, I often host a Newfie Screech-In which is a humorous ceremony to swear people in as honorary Newfoundlanders! Here I am as the Codmother:
Washed Ashore Exhibit at the National Zoo, Summer 2016
- Script for this podcast episode about beach trash art (not a transcript but gives the main ideas)
- The Trashmagination podcast theme music is Kitchen from the Marian Circle Drum Brigade.