Through my project I hoped to change people’s relationship with plastic, from a throwaway material that is polluting our seas, to a precious material.
I decided to largely focus on children as I wanted to inspire a new generation of ‘eco warriors’, and I believe children have the power to change adult’s opinions/bad habits as well.
We are currently living in a world that is being overtaken by plastic pollution, our seas are drowning in plastics and the animals are suffering because of it. I believe that it is not plastic itself that is the problem but it is how we approach the material. From my research, I discovered that people are more inspired to be environmental through fun methods rather than through education. Therefore, I decided to turn something that could be considered quite dull – litter picking, into something fun by creating the ‘Great Plastic Treasure Hunt’.
Download a PDF of my process
I created ‘The Plastic Hunter’ kit to provide kids with tools for collecting the rubbish with. The kit is based on traditional hunting and treasure excavating tools but they have been adapted to be suitable for collecting plastic. The kit comprises of; a Children’s book/Plastic Diary that highlights the problems with plastic pollution and provides opportunities for kids to record their plastic treasure and creations they have made, a backpack for holding the rest of the kit and collecting the plastic treasure they find, a magnifying glass and magnifying pot to inspect the micro plastics, a sieve and net made from polyamide 6.6 a fabric that filters micro fibers/plastics but still allows water through, and enamel pins to make them feel as though they are part of an important community working to protect the planet.
I have also created ‘Wilbert the Whale’ to work in conjunction with the kit.
Wilbert is not only a character within the book but he is also a large whale shaped buoy that filters the water for micro plastics, spouts water, makes whale noises and is powered by solar energy. I have created Wilbert to not only filter the water for plastics, but also simultaneously educate the public about the plastic pollution problem.
Here in the UK we have a big problem with micro plastics in our waterways, with the River Tame having the largest concentration of micro plastics in a river in the world. Wilbert along with his friends (other characters from the book) would be dotted across the UK in rivers and seas filtering the water for micro plastics. Due to his characterful nature, the public would hopefully be intrigued and become informed about what Wilbert is up to as well as the plastic pollution problem.
I want to create a following around Wilbert and make a community of plastic hunters, therefore I have created two hashtags (which are mentioned in the book); #Wilbertthewhale and #Theplastichunter, the public would take pictures of Wilbert as well as the plastic they have collected and creations they have made using the found plastic and post them on social media under the hashtags. Thereby encouraging others to do the same, creating ‘The Great Plastic Hunt’ and hopefully in turn educating people about plastic pollution and encouraging them to change their views of and approaches to plastic from single use to something considered valuable