Target Upcycles Its Billboards Into Anna Sui Bags, But Are They Green?

Target billboard tote photo
Photo credit: Target

Local color will take on a whole new meaning this Friday when Target cuts a swathe through New York City's Times Square with six vinyl billboards going ga-ga for Gotham. Featuring the work of four New York artists (Laurie Rosenwald, Michael Anderson, Josh Goldstein, and Charles Wilkin), the towering paean to the city will sport iconic images such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the humble knish.

Although the billboards will remain until Oct. 31, starting on Sept. 4, you can stake your claim on a one-of-a-kind tote--designed by no less than Anna Sui--refashioned from the erstwhile displays once they've been put out to pasture. While TreeHugger is loathe to knock recycling in any form, we have to ask: Can a solution be truly green when you set out to create the problem in the first place? More important, should you be crowing about it?Target billboard tote photo
Photo credit: Target

The Times Square campaign, the fashion angle, and the timing of New York Fashion Week (Sept. 10-17) and National Design Week (Oct. 18-24) is no coincidence, of course. Tens of thousands of eyeballs are primed to latch upon the best advertising real estate money can buy.

Billboard bags are as old as, well, candy-wrapper clutches. But PVC, no matter how you slice, dice, and dress it up, remains a scourge on public health and the environment. If Target truly wanted to promote sustainability, finding lower-impact alternatives to vinyl, say Eco-Flexx, would be savvier move--you know, lipstick, pig, and all that. Using what already exists is one thing; generating it and then spinning it so that everything is suddenly copacetic is quite another.

And anyway, who wants a tainted love note?

More on eco-friendly billboards
Renewable Energy-Powered Billboard Coming To New York's Times Square
Billboard Made of Lettuce Grows On You
World's Longest Billboard Will Be 'Biodegradable' PVC
Eco-Flexx: A More Benign Billboard Material

Tags: Accessories | Greenwashing | New York City


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