Rob Greenfield walks heavily through the posh streets of Beverly Hills, succumbing to nearly 30kg of trash that he has meticulously tucked away in his clear plastic suit since the start of his education project.
“For most of us, waste is out of sight, out of mind. We put them in the trash and we never think about them again. I wanted to find a visual way to help people really understand what our accumulated waste represents”explains the environmentalist to AFP.
As part of his challenge, he has decided to carry all the garbage he generates with him for a whole month, as he walks the streets of Los Angeles to raise awareness among those who meet him.
Nearing the end of his experiment, Rob Greenfield carries 28 kg of waste, mainly packaging material, in the huge bags on his limbs, abdomen and back.
The legs are so full that they give him a robotic gait, an effect enhanced by the metallic sound of empty cans colliding as he walks in front of a luxury store.
“The average person creates more than two kilograms of waste a day, so the costume has to be able to support a lot of weight”explains the ecologist.
Feel the weight of consumerism
“It was around the twelfth day that I started to feel the weight of consumerism. I felt the weight, also saw the result and I thought wow, it is crazy how much waste we collect”he says.
The young man, who prides himself on having only 44 objects in total for his daily needs, is usually a champion of minimalism and gives advice on the Internet to consume and pollute as little as possible.
In 2019, he had spent an entire year feeding himself without buying anything commercial, contenting himself with growing and harvesting what he ate.
But for the purpose of the experiment — which he had already conducted in New York in 2016 — he set aside his principles for thirty days to behave like the average American.
Thanks to his outfit and the smile he constantly wears, Rob easily attracts the attention of passers-by and satisfies their curiosity about the values he wants to propagate.
“People understand the message and it helps me reach all categories of people. So yes, some believe that I am homeless or have mental problems, but in general people were very positive”he assures.