Part-artist and part-activist, Canadian Benjamin Von Wong launched a campaign to bring attention to the plastic pollution problem. The result is a three-story installation of plastic pouring from a spout, with a message of #TurnOffThePlasticTap. 

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A sculpture of a giant faucet spewing out plastic waste displayed on a beach

Von Wong highlighted plastic pollution before, taking on different individual projects with materials including 168,000 plastic straws, 18,000 plastic cups and 10,000 plastic bottles. However, he realized the plastic pollution isn’t about any single type of plastic, but rather the overall production, use and disposal of it. Turn Off the Plastic Tap is a campaign to illuminate the issue through visuals. 

Related: This artist created a stunning art installation made from 168,000 plastic straws to encourage people to use less

A sculpture of a faucet spewing out plastic in a storage container area

To draw attention to plastic waste, Von Wong, along with dozens of volunteers, built the massive installation. Then, they coordinated several photo shoots to capture a range of messages pertaining to the problem. Von Wong wanted to send the message about how big the problem is. He achieved this through photos that amplify the height of the art piece. Additionally, he draws attention to the devastating consequences of plastic for the next generation by using babies in the photo shoot. 

A faucet spewing out plastic. Below, a woman lays her head on a green recycling bin

All parts of the project came from recycled materials. The spout is made from a ventilation duct Von Wong was able to salvage from a building shortly before it was torn down. The plastic is all post-consumer waste, and the various tubs and containers of plastic were threaded together by volunteers using rope made from plastic waste. 

People posed around the plastic that came from a giant faucet sculpture

Forming the Giant Plastic Tap and organizing the photo shoots was a comprehensive task. As a result, Von Wong partnered with the Embassy of Canada in France. Until June 8, 2022 the installation is on display at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. 

A behind-the-scenes photo of the sculpture with a person taking photos and lighting equipment set up

The project hopes to draw attention to the fact that less than 10% of the plastic ever produced is actually recycled. Considering the amount of plastic produced throughout history, it carries a combined weight of more than the combined weight of all animals on land and in the ocean. Thought of another way, we increase plastic waste by 300 million tons annually. The pandemic amplified this problem with single-use plastic consumption jumping around 250%.

Von Wong sees the Giant Plastic Tap as much more than an art installation. He views it as an invitation for every citizen to #TurnOffThePlasticTap. 

+ Benjamin Von Wong

Images via Von Wong Production #TurnOffThePlasticTap