3 bound copies of the Letters to the Future Project. Source: Letters to the future

Letters to the Future Uses Plastic Waste To Send Lasting Messages

A Vietnamese creative agency finds an unlikely long-term ally in single use plastic.

In our efforts to foster long-term thinking and preservation, we at Long Now do not typically think of single use plastic as an ally. Yet that’s precisely what the non-profit art project Letters to the future does, harnessing plastic’s lack of biodegradability to make a point about what we as a society leave behind not just to our children and grandchildren, but our great-great-great grandchildren as well.

A person standing over some sheets of recycled plastic, preparing it for processing. Source: Letters to the future

Letters to the future takes plastic collected from the streets of Vietnam and uses it as the paper for a series of over 300 letters written from all over the world, addressed to the writers’ descendants five generations hence.

A closeup of one of the letters contained within the project, including text in Arabic script and in English. Source: Letters to the future

The project was conceived of by Vietnamese creative agency Ki Saigon and funded by Vietnam-based pizza restaurant chain 4P’s to commemorate the 10th anniversary of their founding.

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The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

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