Plastic “Temple of Trash”—Upcycling, the Arts, and Making the Case for Sustainability

temple-of-trash “What will future generations think of us when they uncover our landfill waste?” The question is just one of many that have inspired artists, including Salig Design, to create art out of up-cycled plastic bottles. Last year, Salig Design created the Temple of Trash (in Rotterdam, Netherlands) constructed of 100 tons of PET bottles pressed into bales. While the Temple is no longer standing, it was a visual representation of what sustainable business proponents already believe: that waste and overconsumption is not inconsequential. Pieces like these also highlight the role of artists in raising awareness about the importance of global sustainability.

The Temple of Trash installation was part of Rotterdam’s 2007 Follydock IFCR (the International Folly Contest Rotterdam), a festival/competition at which artists, designers, and architects construct original, whimsical structures that stretch the boundaries of fantasy and reality to encourage critical thought. The event has attracted numerous visitors from the Netherlands and abroad in its 3 years of operation, reports.

The Temple of Trash is far from being the first installation of its kind. Earlier this year, various artists around the world created plastic bottle greenhouses (displayed and sold in Scotland), hanging water bottle art (displayed in New York City), and the “Plastiki” boat (designed to sail from San Francisco to Sydney this summer).

What impact do you think installations like these, and the use of trash and art to make a statement, have on the promotion of global sustainability?

Sarah Harper is a professional writer based in San Francisco, California. Her interests include sustainability, government policy, and international politics. In her free time, Sarah enjoys toying with the idea of holistic health, overanalysis, and plotting world exploration.

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