How To Make Recycling Sexy

It’s Sexy to Consume Less

By Jeff McElroy

If you don’t know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, well, you should. It’s a floating continent of plastic waste rotating in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG), larger than the United States in area. How do we get the average Joe concerned about this floating dump? Hot girls in bikinis, that’s how.

Sarah Bellums made this connection and has been creating up-cycled bikinis to be worn by lovely ladies in an effort to increase awareness of the plastic problem. My friend Mary Osborne (another crusader against plastic pollution) introduced me to Sarah Bellums and she was happy share her story with me, along with details on her plastic-transforming process. 

A bit about yourself. Background. Influences?

I grew up among the beautiful tree giants of the northern Willamette Valley in Oregon. My sweet mom taught me how to crochet when I was 8 years old, giving me a creative and relaxing outlet while the rain would fall for months at a time.

Although I love Oregon, when I graduated high school, I jumped on a train to a place I had never been before, San Luis Obispo, Calif. Two things were on my mind, the SUN and the OCEAN.

I fell in love with Rootamental founder, activist, and super-volunteer, Scott Kam, a native son of California. I was quickly immersed in the surf/skate culture. Now, two years later, I’ve learned so much about our ocean and pollution problems. I witness trash littered on the beach every time I go and it breaks my heart to see our Mama Ocean being abused so I pick up every piece I find.

I’ve also found organizations and people who are helping to combat the ocean pollution problem through art, policy, change, and action, the most inspirational being: Surfrider Foundation, 5 Gyres, Aurora Robson, Mary Osborne, Peggy Oki, and Margaret Wertheim.

How has your environment (watershed) influenced and/or inspired you to tackle the plastic issue?

Our ocean is the womb where all life emerged from and her health is vital for our survival. Water is a beautiful energy that sustains all.

Why swimwear? How’d you get the idea?

I have always been interested in fashion and now that I live in California most of my days are spent in a bikini. I started crocheting my first bikinis out of yarn, but they didn’t work when they got wet. When I learned about plastic bag crochet, making bikinis with “plarn” (plastic yarn), it was a no-brainer.

How can sexy swimwear help destroy the plastic monster?

I want to create real change and I believe that can only happen when we are inspired to take action. People love to see fun and sexy images. They can be very powerful when a positive message is attached. In order to encourage activism, reduce consumerism, and promote conservation and love, I am spreading the message: “It’s good luck to pick up trash,” and “It’s sexy to consume less” (especially single-use items).

I hope people who see my bikinis are motivated to start using reusable products and protect our shared and limited resource, WATER.

What gets you excited about the future?

I am very excited about collaborating with other artists and environmental foundations to spread plastic pollution awareness. I am even more excited to live in a healthy world free of pollution and full of LOVE.

The Process:

Collect and clean bags

Fold and cut into circular strips

Combine strips together to make “plarn” plastic yarn

 

Sketch design and start crocheting

Tie off and line with up-cycled fabric

View the collection, place an order or contact Bellums here:http://sarahbellums.com/