The flying museum: A hot air balloon made of plastic bags
The Museo Aero Solar is a museum like no other – so far it has travelled through Europe, America, Colombia, the United Arabs Emirates and, not least, the skies. It has even landed right here in the UK, at Bristol’s Arnolfini centre for contemporary arts.
It is, of course, a hot air balloon, but a very unique one. The balloon has been hand-crafted from thousands upon thousands of discarded plastic shopping bags, held together with a little scotch tape and taking flight thanks to renewable solar energy.
Photo: Kamina Walton
Every time it travels, the balloon grows larger and more magnificent, and even on the ground it’s no less breathtaking – somewhere between a museum and an art gallery, visitors are welcome to step inside and admire the hard work and dedication that has gone into building it, before adding their own little piece of history to the canvas before it moves on!
The Museo organisation itself states, “the core of the museo resides in the inventiveness of local inhabitants... collective action and art, do-it-together technology and experiment”.
It’s more than just a work of art though; the main aim behind the project is to encourage reusing and recycling, especially when it comes to plastic bags of which around 1million are used every minute in the world.
“The intention is to bring the number of already circulating plastic products down” says the Museo, requesting that visitors don’t bring brand new bags to add to the balloon, only ones that have previously been used.
Photo: Kamina Walton
It’s a fantastic project, a really innovative way to both cut down on the number of plastic bags out there and to raise awareness of recycling. After all, plastic bags are one of the worst offenders in modern environmental damage!
Countries across the globe are slowly putting new laws forward that ban the use of plastic bags, or at least require retailers to charge for them.
Even then though, it’s not making as much a difference as hoped – India is finding it near impossible to enforce their plastic bag ban in capital city New Delhi whilst the cheap cost of plastic bags means charging for them still doesn’t put most customers off. After all, what is 30p for a handful of carrier bags, when you’ve already spent £60 on your weekly food shopping?
What do you think, are we doing enough to reduce plastic bag usage? Will projects like the Museo Aero Solar make a big enough difference, or will it take more to change our habits for good?
Don’t forget, if you’ve done something amazing with plastic bags, or have come up with a unique way of recycling other household waste, be sure to get in touch with us as we may feature you on our blog!