GOOD

Found Art: Just Like Diamonds, Plastics Are Forever

Cheese spreaders from packaged lunches, milk jug lids, disposable lighters: it's all free art supplies to the Langs.

Judith and Richard Lang have been combing their local beach in Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California since 1999, collecting the plastic debris of our daily lives: cheese spreaders form those packaged lunches, milk jug lids, disposable lighters. They cart home this junk, clean and categorize it, and finally transform it into gorgeous assemblages. It's meticulous, artisanal up-cycling and it's both beautiful and sad. The Langs have an exhibit running currently at the San Francisco Public Library and GOOD caught up with Judith recently to talk about her process and where all those plastic cigar tips come from.

GOOD: How did you select plastic flotsam as your primary material?

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Land Grab: Could Bioremediation Turn Pacific Garbage Patch Into Habitable Island?

Sounds like science fantasy, but a UK team is developing plastic aggregating microorganisms to form a new archipelago, and they're selling lots.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEDLg03teOk

A research group out of University College London is proposing an unusually ambitious upcycling scheme—turning all that plastic junk swirling about the Pacific into a habitable island. The students aim to design and release a really tiny, genetically engineered, synthetic plastic-eating organism that could aggregate all those bottle caps, plastic bags, and broken toys into floating real estate or what they've called the "Plastic Republic."

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