Tourists and locals wandering around Flatiron Plaza in downtown Manhattan were met with an unusual sight: a 20-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty standing in a steel cage filled with empty plastic bottles and metal cans.
On the other side of the eye-catching setup, titled “Drowning Liberty,” were booths with people handing out glasses of seltzer. The installation was organized by SodaStream and the Oceanic Society. SodaStream is an Israeli company that sells at-home carbonation kits.
The installation’s goal is to raise awareness of the negative consequences of single-use plastic (and to drum up business for the company while they’re at it). Passersby were encouraged to sign SodaStream’s sustainability pledge, promising to eschew one-use bottles for reusable ones. The company claims that making soda at home in reusable bottles results in “less plastic manufactured, less plastic waste and less transport of bottled beverages.”
“We have no choice,” SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in a statement. “We have to go reusable. Annual plastic production is skyrocketing and the U.S. is one of the biggest polluters in the world.”
JTA Wire Service