Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Comtemplation of Plastic

Solid Waste Director Jennifer Richardson and Deb Bonzek with "The Plastic Monk."

The Solid Waste Management team is thrilled to share with you the newest team member —The Plastic Man!

In January 2019, Solid Waste Director Jennifer Richardson was invited to the Member's Exhibition at the Western Colorado Center for Arts by Deb Bonzek, a local Grand Junction artist and teacher. At the art show, she was showcasing her sculpture titled "The Plastic Monk."

Plastic recycling has been a challenging and oftentimes confusing venture for many years, and about 10 years ago Deb began thinking about the wonders of plastic. Plastic is useful and cheap, but once it is manufactured it is pretty well destined to be on this planet forever. Only about 20% of all plastic is recyclable which can be very difficult for consumers to grasp when they have to sort and separate their recyclables. Deb started saving plastic packaging, and she found inspiration when she heard a female scientist on NPR speak about plastic. Below is an excerpt from Deb's Artist Statement.

"Dr. Garcia, though, has already had a test tube moment, creating a plastic that is fully recyclable. She is not stopping with early success. She is working on finding a way to revert post-consumer plastic into its universal, usable building blocks. That idea kept me going. Maybe this work of art would have a higher purpose.

The plastic monk humbled my lofty artistic aspirations, turning out to be more kitsch than fine art. And, like monks hope to do, tested my resolve and raised my consciousness.

The monk isn’t mad at plastic or anyone who uses it. It IS plastic!

The monk just sits there, like most of us, wondering about creation, frustrated by the 10,000 things, thinking about change, stuck in the now, contemplating transitions, hoping for the mercy of transformations that are fun, prosperous, and effective."

Solid Waste Management intends to take the Plastic Man with them to the various community outreach events, they hope that Deb's beautiful sculpture will get people thinking about the things we buy and where this waste ends up when we are no longer have a use for it.

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