Art has the power to change the world, and no one knows this better than photographer Benjamin Von Wong, who has dedicated his entire career to push his own creative boundaries and produce controversial art pieces with a powerful social message. Von Wong is focusing on raising awareness on how much waste we produce, and for his latest installation, he’s focusing on a very common phrase: “It’s just one straw, said 8 billion people.”
But how many plastic straws are we exactly throwing away every day? Get ready to get your mind blown.
Straws are not only really hard to recycle, but there are over 500 million plastic straws being used collectively every single day in the United States alone. And that number is about to get much worse, unless we do something about it.
Not too long ago, the ban on plastic straws went into effect around the United States, and people had a lot to say about it.
And even though the number is jaw-dropping all by itself, Von Wong took it one step further and took thousands of plastic straws and photographed them in a way that could show just how big of a problem we’re talking about.
The plastic straw ban had a lot of people questioning how one little straw could affect anyone, after all, couldn't they just recycle them?
But the Plastic Pollution Coalition estimates people expect to have plastic straws at every single cafe, restaurant, coffee shop, and ice cream shop, which encourage people to use them once and then immediately throw them away, which is insanely wasteful.
Von Wong is no stranger to controversial pieces. In 2018, he came up with the world's tallest closet, where he hung 3,000 items of clothing.
He wanted to showcase how much the average person consumes. Von Wong is a total pro at turning numbers into stunning art pieces that allow us to visualize these statistics. It's one thing to say "500 million straws" and another thing to see them plastered all over a powerful art installation, like Von Wong's Strawpocalypse.
The photographer with a conscience wants the public to see how tiny decisions can have a huge impact.
So instead of making it easy on himself, he took the road less traveled and came up with a way to gather plastic straws for his works of art that didn't involve buying them online, which he could've easily done.