Art from plastic waste

Creating creatures from rubbish to encourage awareness for recycling

The Corona 'Wave of Waste' sculpture, made of 1,580 metric tons of waste at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, Victoria. Sculptures using plastic waste gathered from East London’s beaches will be erected at Pinecreek as part of the Big Green Expo next month.
The Corona 'Wave of Waste' sculpture, made of 1,580 metric tons of waste at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, Victoria. Sculptures using plastic waste gathered from East London’s beaches will be erected at Pinecreek as part of the Big Green Expo next month.
Image: Getty Image/ Jake nowakowski

Sculptures made from plastic waste washed up on beaches as well as dumped plastic retrieved from public spaces will be fashioned into dramatic sculptures at Pinecreek to draw attention to the environmental crisis caused by single-use plastic.

Because the idea is still in its formative stages, organiser Dean Knox of Jonginenge Eco Adventure said the project may take the form of one giant sculpture of a marine creature or a series of smaller sculptures individually made by schools or other green-minded community organisations.

The sculptures will be positioned on the roadside at Pinecreek Restaurant and Farmstall during the annual Big Green Expo which takes place from September 14 to 16.

“Big Green Expo organiser Richard Patten asked that I do a display dealing with plastic awareness for the expo and I suggested a sculpture because it would get people to volunteer to pick up plastic waste in order to create it,” said Knox, who has led several large-scale beach clean-ups in the city.

The eco warrior, who is also a keen surfer, would like to see another wave of beach clean-ups, specifically at Eastern Beach and the trash hotspot behind Nahoon Reef where swirls of washed up plastic washes in and out of the ocean, putting marine creatures at risk when they mistake it for food or get tangled up in fishing line or bottletop rings.

“I have approached like-minded people at schools like Merrifield, Clarendon and Lilyfontein to mobilise their eco clubs to pick up plastic waste at beaches or open areas near their schools. I also want to get kids from Jonginenge’s Township Surf Project who we teach to surf on Saturday mornings and who live in Nompumelelo to hook up with beach clean-ups as they have done before.”

And, while schools may find it logistically easier to create their own, smaller sculptures of sea turtles, seahorses or seagulls, Knox said an impactful giant sculpture could also be on the cards and is looking for artists and other community leaders to get involved. “Many hands make light work,” he said.

“I would love to make a whale which would need a frame of some sort. It could be a welded skeleton with plastic attached to it or even a fallen tree resembling a whale onto which we can attach waste. The plan is to erect it outside Pinecreek and maybe shine lights through the plastic at night. Once we break the sculptures up the waste will be recycled.”

Knox brims with ideas inspired by similar global projects made from discarded, mainly single-use plastic that could otherwise have landed in the belly of a sea turtle or clogging a seabird’s throat.

Knox can be contacted at 083-305-2590.

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