Waste Not

I began making this collection around the time when changes to carrier bag regulations were introduced in the UK. I saw these new heavy duty carrier bags littering the streets, their folksy slogans and bold colours undermined by their end location. I felt a sense of anxiety about whether the change was actually helping and started capturing them, almost as a way to tidy them up.

As I amassed more images I delved into the stats around the carrier bag change. I expected something bad, a clear cut story of waste and damage to our planet. What I actually found was worse, a totally confusing story of different ways of measuring impact and differing opinions on how we need to be better. I found a microcosm of our complex world, where it’s virtually impossible to make a clear ethical decision.

The one thing I did learn, in the morass of numbers around types of bags and life cycles analysis, was that the best thing you can do – whatever kind of receptacle you use – is use it more than once. Even if that second use is just as a bin bag.

This is a small selection of images from a larger iPhone Collection, made using a mobile phone as a low-tech practice of documenting the everyday and the mundane.

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