From shifting consumer behaviors to holding corporations accountable, raising awareness about plastic pollution can go a long way in helping tackle the plastic crisis. In an effort to do exactly that — though in a rather unconventional way — environmental non-profit Washed Ashore uses the aesthetic value of art to spread its environmental message.
Using plastic waste collected from beach clean-ups, the organization creates giant animal sculptures that, since the non-profit launched in 2010, have appeared at various events, both locally and as a traveling exhibit.
The idea behind the organization’s mission is the brainchild of Angela Haseltine Pozzi. Living in a coastal town, Pozzi had a front-row seat to the crippling consequences of mismanaged plastic waste that washed out to the waters.
A long-time artist and educator, she launched Washed Ashore in alignment with her lofty goals to help rid the ocean of plastic debris and educate the local and global community about the urgency of the problem.
The current art collection consists of more than 75 pieces, each taking the shape of a large animal and incorporating plastic found during clean-up efforts. Thus far, more than 10,000 volunteers have been involved in the project, collecting and processing over 20 tons of plastic waste.
To celebrate Washed Ashore’s 10-year anniversary, the non-profit is now pivoting to also make unique pieces of jewelry from ocean plastic. In addition to offering a new way to continue the conversation about ocean pollution, the proceeds will help cover operational costs for the organization, such as beach cleanups.