Stansted Airport plastic waste helps form London Zoo art installation

  • Thousands of plastic bottles from the airport included in art piece highlighting perils of plastic pollution in London
  • London Stansted recycles 75 per cent of its waste and sends none to landfill

A striking new art installation, unveiled at ZSL London Zoo aims to highlight the problem of plastic waste, includes thousands of bottles collected at London Stansted Airport in its construction.

The 16ft building, named Space of Waste, was created by London-based artist and architect Nick Wood using unrecycled plastic collected from all around London. It will house information about how people can contribute to tackling the plastic pollution problem.

We were delighted to be able to use some of the waste produced on site at Stansted Airport to support the #OneLess campaign in a unique way.

At Stansted we divert all our waste away from landfill, and recycle more than 75 per cent of it, including plastic bottles surrendered by passengers at security which don’t comply with restrictions. But it is vital to support efforts to reduce the popularity of single-use plastics. Only a few weeks ago we gave all 2000 of our MAG staff a reusable hot drinks cup to reduce the number of coffee cups thrown away on site, so this project aligns well with our own efforts to support a reduction in waste.
Martin Churley, Environment Manager at London Stansted Airport

The installation piece was commissioned by ZSL London Zoo as part of the #OneLess campaign to reduce single-use water bottle use. The structure - which took three weeks to prepare in the artist’s studio and another three days to erect on site - will house information about plastic pollution and the small steps everyone can take to help tackle the growing issue. It is formed from 15,000 bottles - the number of single-use bottles bought every minute in the UK.

We all need to take more notice of our own actions, if we’re going to make any headway in tackling the plastic pollution problem, which is right on our doorstep.

Through projects like the #OneLess campaign and our successful Project Ocean partnership with Selfridges, ZSL is helping to reduce the amount of ocean-bound plastic and protect the biodiversity of life beneath the waves – we need to spread this message far and wide, and ZSL’s new Space of Waste is a great way to educate young people about this villain of conservation. Small changes can make a big difference – go #OneLess and ditch those disposable plastic bottles now, by switching to a refillable water bottle.
ZSL’s Fiona Llewellyn
Building this piece with ZSL was a satisfying challenge, as plastic bottles are not usually seen as a building material – recycling them into this structure, which will remain at ZSL London Zoo all summer, was a great way to turn the culprits themselves into a stark visual reminder of the worsening plastic problem in our city.
Artist Nick Wood