Community Art as Advocacy: Are You What You Eat?

Almost everyday, there’s a story in the news about how plastic production and plastic waste impact our climatehealth, and environment.

Did you know that many single-use food/drink packaging containing plastic is not recyclable? Or that it’s been estimated that the average person consumes about a credit card’s weight worth of microplastics weekly?

In celebration of Earth Day in May, we’re collaborating again with our sustainability allies at the Munroe Center for the Arts on a “wish-cycling” sculpture of a larger than life-sized person relaxing on a bench. Created from chicken wire recycled from last year’s sculpture and filled with the packaging materials left over from food and drink consumed by community members, the sculpture is meant to raise awareness about certain types of packaging that is not recyclable, as well as highlight the amount of plastic that we ingest unknowingly, the potential for harm, and what we can do as individuals and a community to change our habits for the betterment of all.

This year, we’re focusing on aseptic food and drink packaging made from composite materials–plastic/paper/aluminum–that render them unrecyclable, namely juice/milk/broth/goldfish cartons and foil-lined chips bags.

Participate in this art activity by saving your aseptic packaging waste items and adding them to the sculpture on the front lawn of the Munroe Center for the Arts  (1403 Massachusetts Ave).

The filled sculpture creates a visual impact of these non-recyclable plastics, which could eventually become microplastics that end up in our bodies, air, water and soil.

Are There Alternatives?

      • Choose plastic-free packaging if possible: 

    Dairy Milk:

    If you drink dairy milk, consider buying returnable/reusable glass bottled milk, for example, from Crescent Ridge. Their bottled milk is usually available locally from LexFarm, Wright-Locke Farm, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, and Wegmans. Check the Crescent Ridge website for other local retail or delivery options.

    DIY Plant-Based Milk:

    If you drink plant-based milk and have a blender, you can make your own almond milk following this 1-minute recipe:

        • ¼ cup almond butter (or 64g)*

        • 32 oz water

      Blend for 1 minute.

      * If you have a power blender, such as a Vitamix, you can also use whole raw or roasted almonds, and blend for 2-3 minutes. If you’d like to avoid single-use packaging, you can buy almonds from Debra’s Refillery in Concord which allows you to bring your own containers to refill.

      * You can also substitute almond with other nuts/seeds.

      What Else Can You Do?

          • As you collect your aseptic packaging waste to add to the sculpture, make an inventory of the brands on the packaging.

          • Write to the companies using these unrecyclable, single-use packaging, and ask them to transition to a returnable/reusable packaging system.

          • Write to your legislators and ask them to sponsor bills that advance reuse/refill solutions to our waste problem.

        Other Ideas

        If you have other ideas about alternative solutions and actions, send them to us at, and we’ll add them to this page.

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