The Plastic Bag Store, a supermarket-cum-art installation, opens in New York's Time Square on Thursday, October 22, and aims to highlight the vast amounts of waste produced by packaging and single-use plastics in the food industry.
"The Plastic Bag Store looks like a regular grocery store and it's full of items that seem very familiar. But there are humorous and satirical takes on everyday products that highlight the amount of waste that we're using, and the environmental problems related," artist Robin Frohardt, creator of The Plastic Bag Store, told Reuters.
"And so because The Plastic Bag Store feels like a regular grocery store, I think the next time you go to a grocery store, it might feel like The Plastic Bag Store, and that might make you think a little bit about what's happening to the planet and the packaging situation."
The opening of the store has been timed to coincide with a new plastic bag ban across New York State, where more than 23 billion plastic bags are currently used each year, according to local government figures.
But plastic bags are just one part of the waste problem, with an estimated 1 million tons of plastic packaging ending up in landfill each year in the US, data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows.
"There's an excessive amount of waste and single-use plastic that's used daily in New York City and all over the world," said Frohardt.
"And it's designed for convenience, designed to be used for a very brief period of time and then thrown away. But there is no 'away' and it doesn't go anywhere, it doesn't decompose, and it's ending up in our oceans and in the environment, and it's a real problem."