What is that thing?


This tentacled sea beast is an artistic invitation to exlpore the monsterous impact of single use plastics.

Created from thousands of discarded plastic bags, the Leviathan emerged from concerns about single use plastics in Hammonton.

The story of the Leviathan began when Caden, Tyler and Zoey Kienzle did something that not a lot of kids do. They went to a Town Council meeting in Hammonton to talk about something important to them with the hope that someone would listen and act. The Kienzles shared their concern about the impact of all the single use plastic bags that are part of our daily life and challenged fellow residents to help raise awareness and to take action to make change.

The Kienzles also visited the Hammonton Environmental Commission and soon after a Single Use Plastics interest group was formed. “SUP Hammonton” included members of the Green Committee, the Environmental Commission and the community.

The group began to discuss ways to raise awareness in the community about the issue and applied for a Clean Communities grant through the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) to help get the message out about our problem with disposable plastic. The Kienzels and other SUP collaborators brainstormed and came up with the idea of a beastly sea monster made out of plastic bags. With the help and skill of local artist Don Swenson, and with the support of the ACUA’s litter prevention grant, the idea for the Leviathan could now begin to take form.

While the COVID pandemic had halted work on the sea monster, NJ lawmakers were at work crafting and eventually passing important legislation. New Jersey’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act is currently the nation’s most progressive prohibition on the sale or provision of single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service products.

When it was safe to resume, volunteers stretched and tied thousands of bags, collected over the course of months from local residents, over the beast’s skeleton of wood and wire. Soon the Leviathan began to take form and after many, many hours and bags, this tentacled creature was completed.

The Leviathan’s first appeared at Green Day on October 2, providing the curious an opportunity to learn more about the new rules that will soon begin to have an impact on how we use and think about single use plastic in New Jersey.

The Leviathan has disappeared from Veteran’s Memorial Park and has reemerged at the Hammonton Lake Park – catch it there before it’s gone!

To learn more about NJ’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act: https://njnoplastics.org/

Thanks go out to the volunteers who contributed many hours of work on the Leviathan, to Don Swenson for his time and talent designing and building the beast, and to Warehouse 15, for allowing us to use the Maker’s Space over many months for the construction of the Levaithan.