Don’t let his nom de guerre deceive you; Trashy-B is actually pretty discerning about his garbage. For his latest creation—a vest composed of more than 1,000 spent cigarettes—the eco-performer and visual artist used only butts that once littered Hollywood’s star-festooned Walk of Fame. The result? A one-of-a-kind fashion statement that makes for some smoking-hot debates. “I’ve always been aware of the health and environmental risks of cigarettes,” Trashy-B told the Environmental News Network, “but after seeing countless numbers of them scattered along one of the world’s most photographed boulevards, I knew I had to create something out of them–and send a message at the same time.”
Trashy-B gathered, cleaned, then glued the cigarettes together to form his unusual garment. Dozens took the shape of a Tinseltown-inspired star, while two empty cigarette boxes found new life as a jaunty bow tie.
Dozens took the shape of a Tinseltown-inspired star, while two empty cigarette boxes found new life as a jaunty bow tie.
A tree-hugger, Trashy-B is more than aware of the ills of these so-called cancer sticks. They’re not biodegradable, for one. Then there are the health risks they pose to marine life who often mistake the discards for food. “The filters are loaded with toxic chemicals [like acenapthene, a pesticide],” he said. “These lethal chemicals get trapped in the filter when inhaled by the smoker, but leach into the water once they’ve washed up in our waterways.”
In fact, cigarette butts are among the most littered items along the coast. “A huge proportion of the cigarette butts we see on the street end up in storm drains, and eventually wind up in our waterways and oceans,” he said. “I’ve witnessed it first hand at coastal cleanups. The greatest amount of ocean debris collected at these cleanups always seems to be cigarette butts.”
Whether Trashy-B’s message will translate to the masses remains to be seen, but at least one passer-by is rethinking where he flicks his stick. “You know, at first I didn’t realize what he was wearing, and then I could see it was all cigarette butts–I’ve never seen anything like it,” the witness said. “I am definitely going to think twice about where I toss my cigarette butts.”
Trashy-B takes a sanguine view. “I personally don’t have the solution to this environmental problem,” he said. “But if have changed people’s perception about what really happens to these toxic discards, then my crazy fashion statement will have been worth it.”