"Going Plastic bag free has been great for our business and great for our town. It has really bound the community together and united us with this common goal. We are all now seeing how small changes to our habits can have a big impact on our local environment, and a huge impact on all the people who see what we have done down here. Our customers and our staff love us not using plastic bags anymore. We have sent out bags to people in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States who have written to us wanting to know more about what we are doing to protect this amazing part of the world."

– Ben Kearney, initiator of Australia's first plastic bag free town


For the past ten years there has been a growing concern about the effects of plastic shopping bags on our environment. Introduced in the US in the late 1970's as a convenience for grocery shoppers, free plastic shopping bags quickly became the standard for retailers. At the time, no one considered the long-time consequences of our infatuation with this cheap, easily accessible, environmentally devastating product. Now, some 30 years later, the results of our overuse of plastic bags is clear. Plastic bags, which take several lifetimes to degrade, are overflowing landfills, polluting our oceans and waterways, and posing an ongoing threat to marine life. Communities across the United States have responded, joining cities and towns in 33 countries around the world concerned with the effects of plastic bag litter and the hazards it poses to our environment. The movement to ban plastic bags is a story of the power of individuals to make changes in their communities. In the bag traces the beginnings of the ReUsable Bag Movement and presents the growth of creative alternatives to plastic. Featuring a selection of colorful reusable bags made from billboards, juice boxes, rice bags and discarded plastic, the exhibition aims to introduce grass roots recycling movements sprouting up in small resourceful communities in the Philippines, Cambodia, India, and Africa, among others. The exhibition also highlights the work of contemporary artists employing reusable processes and exploring the iconic and physical characteristics of plastic as a medium.