Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

Plastic trash that honors the sea life it kills

At Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium you can see penguins, wildcats, and now sculptures of marine life made from plastic trash.

The sculptures are there to spread ocean pollution awareness and were designed by Oregon-based artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi.

There are 10 sculptures at the zoo now, each at least 10 feet tall and made completely out of plastic debris found on the beach.

A sculpture can take six months to a year to complete.

“We never supplement it with anything except the garbage off the beaches," says Haseltine Pozzi. "Sometimes it takes us a while to accumulate certain colors or certain types of things.” 

The sculptures are part of a traveling exhibit that's gone to the Smithsonian and the United Nations.

Haseltine Pozzi says zoos and aquariums are the perfect venue to reach people.

“We want to reach everybody and all ages and all abilities and all interests and all socio-economic levels because everybody’s part of the plastic pollution issue,” she says.

“We have to have it be attractive from a distance so that people want to get up close and want to get their picture taken in front of it — that’s kind of the whole idea. And then they get up close and go, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t realize that there were this many toothbrushes on the beach, and why are there cigarette lighters? All these lighters are on the beach and bottle caps?"

The sculptures are on display at Point Defiance through October.