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The Inertia

You’ve heard the old adage: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Well, whoever coined the phrase probably wasn’t aware of the plastic epidemic plaguing our world’s oceans. We hate to break it to you, but the oceans aren’t exactly treasuring being pumped to the gills with single-use plastic bottles, shopping bags, sand toys, and cigarette butts.

The problem means there’s an abundance of discarded everyday objects that can be found in piles of kelp and on the sand at most beaches around the world. And for the enterprising artist, free material is the best material.

Which brings us to Ethan Estess – an acclaimed artist with a background in marine and environmental science from Stanford. Ethan makes art out of everyday materials he finds on the beach including rope, bags, coffee cup lids, and more. Obviously, his goal isn’t to solve the problem by the trash he removes from beaches for his work. He’s only one person. But, his work draws even more awareness to the issue by elevating discarded consumer waste items to the level of fine art.

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Cliff Kapono investigates how this is done, exactly, in his latest episode of Cliff Notes.

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