When LMV first arrived in the USA to start filming for Plastic Shores in March 2011, the first thing we did was attend the San Francisco Green Film Festival. It was a great event, which held the premier of Bag It, a film very similar to Plastic Shores in theme but done in a very different way. In fact, several interviewees in Bag It are also in our film such as Professor Fred vom Saal and Andy Keller. We met Andy (above on board with 5 Gyres) for the first time at the festival. He runs a company called ChicoBag, based in the nearby city of Chico, which makes innovative reusable bags made out of recycled plastic (below). Andy came up with the idea on a trip to his local landfill where he saw multitudes of single-use plastic bags flying around in the wind. ChicoBag now sells in over 80 different countries, including the UK.
Andy Keller was actually the first interview we held for Plastic Shores, underneath the Coit Tower in central San Francisco. He brought along another one of his creations, the Bag Monster, which was made to raise awareness of the amount of plastic bags US citizens use. It consists of 500 bags, the amount an average American uses in a year, tied to a jumpsuit creating a hilarious monster outfit (below) that is toured around the US in a herd. Andy was kind enough to give LMV one to take back to the UK. We hope to bring it out (and maybe make more) for one of our big public showings.
“People get it and they’re like ‘oh’,” said Andy. “Most people don’t keep their bags long enough to know how many bags they actually use in a year so this is a very awakening moment for most people when they see what a bag monster looks like. And to realise that maybe they are actually a bag monster themselves.” On several occasions Andy has managed to gather hundreds of Bag Monsters together to campaign for plastic bag reductions, which has made him somewhat of a target to large corporate bodies with vested interests in the disposable plastic industry.
Andy donated some fantastic footage to Plastic Shores, which features in the section about reducing our use of disposable plastics, and we can’t thank him enough for his help.