Art has the power to express the impact of an environmental issue. (Thirst for Giving x Earth Day Series - Container Recycling)

Every year, an estimated 34.6 billion plastic water bottles are purchased in the U.S. — and about eight out of every 10 of these bottles go to the landfill. These numbers make a staggering statement. Art, too, has the power to express the severity of today’s (and tomorrow’s) environmental issues. Here are some notable projects that strove to create a message about mass consumption of plastic bottles in our society:

Watershed by MSLK

MSLK's

This installation featured 1,500 disposable water bottles to represent one second of U.S. consumption.

“Running the Numbers” by Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan's

A stunning photograph that shows the amount of plastic bottles used every five minutes: two million.

PET Project by Miwa Koizumi

Miwa Koizumi's PET Project (2005)

A transformation of containers (water bottles) into the contained (water animals).

In a Nutshell

Why is it important to reduce consumption of plastic bottles? To create virgin plastic requires use of natural resources like trees, water and oil. Not only that, plastic bottles are one of the most commonly found items polluting our beautiful beaches.

How can you make a difference? Don’t get to-go coffee or hot drinks. Carry your own water. Give new life to bottles by crafting a rocket, bouquet of flowers, or hummingbird feeder. Encourage your workplace to practice sustainable hydration.

(What is the Thirst for Giving x Earth Day series? Get the lowdown here.)

What do you do to help reduce the flow of plastic that goes toward landfills? What are some other impressive recycled art that you know of? Let me know in the comments.