The Plastic Free Pipeline, an interactive sculpture made from 2,000 feet of derelict fishing nets and marine debris collected from Kahuku Beach on Oʻahu’s North Shore, is installed on the Museum’s campus. Created by artist-scientist Ethan Estess, the Plastic Free Pipeline is featured in conjunction with the Museum’s newest exhibition, “Mai Kinohi Mai: Surfing in Hawaiʻi.” (courtesy of the Bishop Museum)

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawai’i, announced it would phase out the sales of single-use plastics on its grounds. The move, announced on Wednesday, December 11, is part of a wider initiative across the museum, Shop Pacifica, and Bishop Museum Café by Highway Inn that aims to raise awareness about sustainability.

The museum — which specializes in sharing the history, culture, and environment of Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands — ties the green plan to the mission of its organization. “Sustainability is one of our core values and we’re committed to demonstrating change by taking action and instituting sustainable practices throughout our organization,” said Bishop Museum president and CEO Melanie Ide in a press release. The museum plans to install water bottle stations and educational signage promoting the benefits of reducing the use of plastics and creating a waste-free lunch as part of the museum’s field trip programs.

Ide added that the museum staff was on-board with the new initiative. “Behind the scenes, our employees are supplying their own reusable cups, plates, and utensils for meetings and minimizing plastic waste wherever possible, even bringing used plastic packaging and bubble wrap from home for re-use by Bishop Museum Press to pack books for mail order fulfillment. It truly is a campus-wide, team effort,” she said in the press release. The museum partnered with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation’s Plastic Free Hawaiʻi and the Surfrider Foundation on this project.

The news is also accompanied by the announcement of an interactive outdoor sculpture from artist-scientist Ethan Estess. Using over 2,000 feet of discarded fishing nets and other debris found at Kahuku Beach, Plastic Free Pipeline recreates a large wave out of old ropes and nets. Instead of the crashes of white sea foam normally at the end of these waves lies an ordered pile of garbage including surfboards, buoys, and baskets. The sculpture also ties into the museum’s latest exhibit, Mai Kinohi Mai: Surfing in Hawaiʻi, a showcase of the famous waves that have attracted surfers from around the world for generations — and a reminder of what’s at stake if oceanic pollution continues unabated.

Monica Castillo is a writer and critic based in New York City. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Village Voice,, Remezcla, the Guardian,...