All the plastic used by artist Daniel Webb in an entire year has been documented in a huge photograph now on display at one of Britain’s oldest surviving amusement parks, Dreamland Margate.
The billboard, which was unveiled to the public yesterday as the amusement park re-opened for the season, aims to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the UK “in an accessible, honest and direct manner”, and encourage action to prevent it.
The collection of a year’s-worth of plastic was found to consist of around 4,500 pieces of plastic, of which 93% is single-use throwaway packaging, only four per cent of it being recycled in the UK.
The photograph, Everyday Plastic, features recognisable brands and familiar items in a host of colours, shapes and sizes.
Having laid out all of the plastic to the exact size of the billboard, the piece was photographed by Ollie Harrop using a 5m high by 6m wide rig and the items were captured at actual size. The final piece measures 13m wide by 4m tall, and such was the volume of plastic, it required 20 individual photos to be taken and then stitched together in post-production.
Margate resident and artist, Daniel Webb, was inspired to collect plastic waste to raise awareness of the issue following a run along Margate’s golden sands on the East Kent coast, where he was met by a huge amount of plastic waste.
He explains: “During a run along the Margate coast one September evening in 2016, I came across vast amounts of plastic waste that had been swept in by the waves. There had been a storm the night before and most of the debris had entangled itself in the washed-up seaweed.
“It got me thinking: how much plastic is in the sea? Is any of it mine? Do I recycle enough? How much rubbish could one person living alone actually produce…?
“For the next 12 months, starting 1 January 2017, I would not throw away any plastic waste I produced. Not a bottle top, piece of bubble wrap, straw, toothbrush, salad bag, coffee lid or clothing label. Throughout last year, I collected enough plastic items to fill 22 binbags.
“It [Everyday Plastic] is a colourful, abstract and beautiful representation of my life in 2017, yet it shows the extent of the problem of disposing of our plastic waste responsibly.
“The stats we’ve gathered are certainly going to shock a lot of people, but hopefully it’ll help them to understand how much throwaway plastic we use in our daily lives.”
Everyday Plastic will be on display at Dreamland Margate until 21 May.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea