On Aug. 12, 70 monsters marched through the streets of San Francisco. These monsters, covered from head to toe in layers of plastic, were not out to terrorize Californians or spook young children from bedroom closets. They were on a mission to ban single-use plastic bags in the state of California.
Bag Monsters are regular people wearing costumes made from hundreds of plastic bags. Bedecked in 500 to 700 bags each — the number of plastic bags the average American uses per year — these monsters have taken to the streets in a nationwide tour that began in San Francisco.
Andy Keller, an artist and activist based out of Chico, Calif., started the Bag Monster movement as the original Bag Monster. In 2005, Keller had taken it upon himself to inform the public of the dangers of single-use bags to the environment. He would visit farmers markets and bring along an enormous ball of 500 to 700 plastic bags. One day, Keller decided to wear the bags instead, and Bag Monster was born.
In each city he visits on the Bag Monster Tour, Keller will complete the same demonstration: He will wear his Bag Monster costume and perch on a pedestal surrounded by a sea of about 45,000 plastic bags — the average amount an American uses in a lifetime. During the demonstrations, Keller will interact with audiences and share important information about the reusable bag movement.
The Bag Monster Tour follows in the wake of the introduction of California Bill AB 1998. The bill, if passed, would ban the use of plastic bags throughout the state.
To learn more about the Bag Monster Tour, visit the Bag Monster Blog.
Lindsey Siegele is the Senior Web Editor at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on Google+.
Photo by bagmonster.com