Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2018

Department 1

Environmental Studies


In the Fall term of 2018, Gettysburg College seniors Bill LeConey and Will Gibson created the world's first Ocean Garbage Art Car, by covering an old Ford truck with plastic bottles (and other trash commonly found in our oceans), to raise awareness about anthropogenic pollution in our seas. Since the 1950’s, plastics have been an essential and ubiquitous commodity in nearly every society on the planet. Plastics find their way into just about every aspect of our lives - from water bottles and cell phone cases, to even advanced medical equipment and space shuttles - it’s no secret how prevalent plastic is. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of the ≈450 million tons of plastic produced annually ends up in our oceans, posing a substantial threat to our aquatic life and the ecosystems they reside in. Much of this waste coalesces into gyres called garbage patches - some as large as countries - floating within the water column, and harming the tranquility of the environment they are intruding on. Several environmental art forms similar to our Ocean Garbage Art Car were studied and compared to give a more in depth background on our issue. Many other artists have utilized ocean trash, but ours is a one of a kind. An urgent call to action must take place to cleanup our oceans and to stop the excessive waste of plastic before irreversible repercussions occur. It is our hope that the Ocean Garbage Art Car created in the ES 400 seminar will help raise awareness about this dire issue threatening our planet as we know it.


Student capstone paper written for ES 400: Senior Seminar.