Let by artist, Kim Bernard, this project will build four machines that will convert plastic waste into sculptural components using a shredder, injector, compressor, and an extruder. All four components will be compact and portable allowing the artist to create upcycled plastic sculptural installations in schools, arts centers, neighborhood communities and public settings where the local community will (after being encouraged to collect plastic) deposit their plastic waste into one end and a new, malleable plastic would emerge from the other end. Bernard would then, with the participation of the community, use the newly upcycled plastic (extruded and molded) to create on-location sculptural installations.
As Bernard writes, "our environment is one of the most critical global issues we all face today. If we don't address climate change, global warming, our increasing carbon footprint, overconsumption and the depletion of natural resources we'll suffer the consequences. Waste reduction and disposal are issues that we can all address locally by reducing our consumption of goods made of raw materials and committing to recycling whenever possible."
For years, Bernard struggled with the dilemma of using raw materials to make art and feeling hypocritical that she advocated to “reduce-reuse-recycle” yet used those very same raw materials in her creative work. For the last several years, she's begun to incorporate recycled materials: ocean debris, bicycle inner tubes, bowling balls and reusable nylon bags for example. While this only accounts for a fraction of her work, Bernard's goal is to have 100% of her sculptural work be created out of recycled materials. "Ideally out of a material that can be shaped, molded, colored and is durable… upcycled plastic."