New York's Plastic Bag Store stocks groceries made from single-use bags

Brooklyn artist Robin Frohardt has used old plastic bags to create foods such as tomatoes and sushi rolls for an installation in New York's Times Square.

Plastic Bag Store by Robin Frohardt
Photograph is by Maria Baranova Suzuki

The Plastic Bag Store is an installation by Robin Frohardt and Times Square Arts designed to coincide with the plastic bag ban in New York, which went into effect on 1 March 2020.

It is intended to replicate the look of a traditional grocery store by making items with single-use plastic bags the artist collected from streets of New York City.

Plastic Bag Store by Robin Frohardt

"The Plastic Bag Store is a visually rich, tactile, and humorous experience that hopefully encourages a different way of thinking about the foreverness of plastic, the permanence of the disposable, and that there is no 'away' when we throw something out," said artist Robin Frohardt.

"It is my attempt to make something authentic and human from that which is mass-produced."

Among the produce are red tomatoes made from balled-up red bags and tiny bits of green plastic, and boxes of berries, which the artist created by stuffing coloured bags into small plastic containers.

Delicatessen cases are filled with pseudo products such as sushi rolls, chopped salad and several varieties of cake.

Plastic Bag Store by Robin Frohardt

The aisles and shelves are stocked with branded products that Frohardt renamed using bag themed puns such as Bagarino Pizza and Bagorade.

In addition to browsing the dozens of plastic products during the day, in the evenings customers can view a theatrical puppet show performance Frohardt wrote to coincide with the installation. The comedic show tells the story of what future generations might think of all the plastic waste that gets left behind today.

Plastic Bag Store by Robin Frohardt

The Plastic Bag Store will be free and open to the public starting 18 March to 12 April 2020, after which Frohardt says the show and all its plastic-based products will begin to tour nationally and internationally.

Other works that explore the use and impact of plastic bags include a photo series by Sweet Sneak Studio that also uses plastic to replicate food products and an installation by Studio Drift that comprises 3,000 blue blocks each of which represents the plastic used to make one supermarket bag.

Photography is by Robin Frohardt, unless noted otherwise.