How dog-walking turned into plastic waste activism

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A woman from California was so distressed by the amount of plastic waste she encounters daily while walking her dogs that she started posting her pictures online to show people where plastic ends up.

When Heather Itzla goes out to walk her dogs, she takes an extra bag and some tongs – not for the purpose you might imagine, but rather to collect all the plastic waste that she encounters during her hour of walking. She brings it home, spreads it out, and takes a picture that gets posted on her unusual and totally captivating website, “There Is No Away.”

Itzla started doing this several years ago, after watching a TED talk by Captain Charles Moore called “Seas of Plastic.” She told TreeHugger:

“After picking myself up off the floor, plastic became all I could notice out in the world – the phenomenal amount of plastic that passes through our daily lives in the form of packaging and all of the ‘stuff’ we’re marketed to believe we need – and then it was all I could notice on the ground, no matter where I walked.”

Itzla’s collection of photos is eerie and discomfiting. Nearly all the pieces of plastic are recognizable – pens, straws, water bottles, cutlery, wrappers, condiment bags, bottle caps, and food containers – except they’re the dirty, used, cracked, abandoned versions that many of us leave on the ground or toss into a garbage can as quickly as possible. Itzla, on the other hand, bravely collects it all to make a powerful statement. She writes on her website:

Read more here.