The global war on plastic is thankfully gathering pace. We happily take real bags for our shopping, eschew drinking straws and can choose refreshments in re-usable containers – we can even wrap our food in beeswax cloth.
As an artist who celebrates the sea and coast, it feels like an imperative that I should promote the reduction of plastics in our lives.
Walking in to the studio, however, is a dispiriting moment – least of all as paints, for the most part, come in plastic tubes or containers. Then there is the small mountain of bubble-wrap that occupies a not-inconsiderable corner of every artist’s space.
In the past, I have invested in stiffy bags (fantastic bespoke, re-useable bags of hard-wearing bubble-wrap), but these are not a cost-effective solution for individual sales. And they are made of plastic.
I tried corrugated cardboard, but this was inflexible and tended to split.
So I have trawled the internet for eco-friendly solutions that would also suit my needs. It didn’t take long to find bubble-wraps that contained a small percentage of recycled material, but were otherwise ‘virgin’ plastic.
I wanted something more.
It was a rather depressing exercise, as I realized again how much plastics dominate our world, yet eventually I found a bubble-wrap which, again, only contains a small percentage of recycled plastic, but the overall product purports to be fully biodegradable.
My next concern was that an over-excited (and reckless) buyer may rip off the biodegradable bubble-wrap from their painting and cast it nonchalantly into the ocean, where it would slowly decompose – leaving the tape securing the wrap to linger for thousands of years. Tiny ribbons of sellotape masquerading as seaweed and jelly-fish.
Fortunately, my anxieties were short-lived as the same suppliers also stocked self-adhesive paper tape to be used with the aforementioned bubble-wrap.
This would seem to be the best that I can do at the moment in my efforts to reduce plastics within the studio.
So I await – and welcome - messages from those who are better-informed who could advise me of my folly with both these decisions and hopefully suggest even better alternatives.
Post-script: my wonderful, sarcophagus-sized roll of bio-degradable bubble-wrap and multi-pack of paper tape arrived very promptly from the supplier - wrapped in copious quantities of very ordinary looking plastic and shrink-wrap.
Small steps, small steps ………………….