A recent article in takepart highlights the environmental impact of plastic water bottles. Cod Steaks, a design and model making firm based in Bristol, England, has constructed an art installation in the Bristol city center constructed entirely of plastic water bottles. The installation, “The Bristol Whales” was constructed by using 70,000 plastic water bottles that were discarded by runners and spectators at the Bath Marathon and Bristol 10K race.
The piece depicts two whales emerging out of an ocean made out of plastic. The whales measure 30 feet long at the head and 50 feet long at the tail. The heads and tails of both whales combined weigh 12 tons. The heads and tails are constructed from biodegradable willow, while the the bodies of the whales and the waves of water are constructed from the discarded plastic bottles.
Cod Steaks designed the installation to highlight the severe environmental impact of plastic water bottles, particularly the acute impact they have at events like races where participants and viewers consume water in huge amounts. It is estimated that over 200 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away each year globally. 50 billion of those bottles are in the United States.
Reuseable water bottles are an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable plastic bottles. One American company, S’well, manufactures a re-useable bottle that that keeps drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. S’well was founded in 2010 by Sarah Krauss, who wanted to reduce the impact of disposable plastic bottles while providing an attractive and fashionable alternative. The bottles are made of stainless steel and come in a variety of colors and textures.
As the Bristol Whales demonstrate, the bottled water industry has a tremendous negative impact on the environment. Alternatives like S’well can help provide a solution to this problem.