Ann Arbor, Mich. — A traveling art installation and immersive film experience, The Plastic Bag Store is using a sense of humor to tell a unique interactive story about the amount of plastic waste people use.
The Plastic Bag Store looks like a grocery store, but all of the items are made from plastic. The exhibit also includes an hourlong puppet film and hands-on aspects for the attendees.
Thousands of plastic items went into making the Plastic Bag Store come to life.
The creator, Robin Frohardt, an award-winning theater and film director, started work on the installation in 2016 and completed it in 2020. That included creating all the items for the "grocery" store, the puppet films and the future museum.
"I'm trying to offer a different perspective. I think sometimes the issue of plastic pollution can just feel so depressing and so overwhelming," Frohardt said.
The Plastic Bag Store starts off as a grocery store filled with items that you'd usually see like vegetables, cereals, soft drinks, frozen foods, fish, bakery items and flowers — but all are made from plastic trash. The product names parody real-life items such as "rasbaggies" (raspberries), "Yucky Shards" (Lucky Charms), "polluted sausage" (polish sausage) and "Plastic Dew" (Mountain Dew).
"Most of the plastic bags and lids and caps and all of that I collected in New York City," Frohardt said. "I was collecting things from friends and family. I was asking people to save things. I was picking things out of the trash and off the street. I was sort of on an odd adventure to try and collect all that stuff and get all the right kinds of colors."