In related New York Winter news, I can’t get enough of this girl and her dog.
Elizabeth Royte and her book Garbage Land were among my first and favorite discoveries as a garblogger. On Valentine’s day, it seems appropriate to share this recent piece she did for medium.com on “Sex, trash and nature in the city.”
My favorite thing about this article is that Royte reserves her judgement for the littering, but not the public lovemaking, that goes on in our beloved Prospect Park.
I’ve had my SodaStream Penguin since the company sent me one to try out in 2009 and, as reported on this site, I love making seltzer at home. Or at least, I used to love it. A couple of years ago, a politically active friend told me that the company operates in a West Bank settlement, a fact I found alarming and upsetting. It was also a fact I had trouble verifying in a cursory Google search. Since then my roommate and I, who both love bubbly water, have done a fair amount of research online and through conversations with friends working in the field of human rights. Verdict: SodaStream does operate in illegally occupied land in the West Bank and therefore will receive no more money from our housefold.
To meet our cravings for bubbles, we decided to find alternatives to purchasing SodaStream CO2 cartridge refills (SodaStream seltzer makers use proprietary cartridges, which theoretically require paying them and only them for more gas when the bubbles run flat). We haven’t quite figured out a way around this, though according to the internet, it’s possible to buy cartridges from other companies that fit the Penguin. In the meantime, we haven’t used the device.
Also in the meantime, Scarlett Johansson‘s decision to serve as a spokesperson for the company — and to defend its business operations — has brought a lot of attention to the topics of homemade seltzer, celebrity endorsements, human rights violations and peace in the Middle East. I have to say, on a personal note, I find her stance surprising. Before this move, I have admired her progressive politics and outspoken support for reelecting the President, defending women’s health and rights in the U.S. and reducing poverty around the world.
For more background on this brouhaha, here are some handy links:
- everydaytrash.com’s review of the SodaStream Penguin
- A Guardian piece on ScarJo quitting her volunteer gig with Oxfam after they critiqued her SodaStream endorsement
- ScarJo’s SodaStream ad
- Jezebel’s recap of the controversy
- A handy list of alternatives to SodaStream, starting with just drink plain water
Happy new year, trashies!
The Volta has a fabulous trash issue up, which I suspect you will want to read in full. First of all, there are separate sections and each have names, including a section entitled Landfill.
For those of you feeling a little academic in 2014, check out this thought-provoking essay by Ted Mathys on how we depict and describe garbage and waste pickers and why it matters.
Dana Maya has a prosy poem called Trash Talk that’s worth reading.
There’s a feature on artist Alice Notley, who makes fans from trash, a photo slide show of Dead Horse Bay and all kinds of other good stuff.
This past Friday, the day job took me to the Bronx for an immigration-themed event hosted by the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Before the film screening and panel presentation, a rep from the museum got up to welcome the crowd and invite us to visit the exhibitions (free), attend their annual holiday party (free) and enjoy the food they served there (also, free). In sum, “Everything we do is free!” she said.
Now that’s my kind of museum.
Unfortunately, I had to rush downtown that evening and did not get a chance to check out the art. Today, in an absent-minded internet search for “trash art,” I came across a review of Tony Feher‘s work on display at the very same museum and kicked myself.
Here’s a description of his work via the Bronx Museum website:
Tony Feher came to prominence in the 1990s, inspired by the generation of minimalists that preceded him. Using materials in new ways, Feher turned his attention to the sculptural qualities of the everyday. Taking advantage of the generally overlooked and discarded, he highlights their formal qualities while simultaneously imbuing them with personal meaning. His careful consideration transforms and re-contextualizes these items into unique works of art.
I hope to check out the current exhibit before it closes on February 16th. Who wants to go the Bronx?
Holy shit, people. I just learned via inhabitat that Iris Industries has created a new “sustainable composite” — a textile created from heat pressed recycled denim and eco-friendly resin. The end result: a lightweight, hard substance that can be used, among other ways, to create furniture, counter tops, wall paneling and jewelry. Did you get that? Counter tops from your old jeans? I want to redo the kitchen immediately.
Artist Jennifer Maravillas created a cartograph of Brooklyn representing each block with a piece of trash collected on that block. This project — http://71squaremiles.com/ — combines so, so many of my favorite things into a massive, tidy, beautiful collage. Check out the work in progress here. Prints of past, equally political and whimsical for sale here.
Thanks to Oriana of Brooklyn Spaces for pointing it out to me.
Zady, the company I told you about in this nepotistic post, is now live. Among the stories behind the brands featured on the site you will find an everydaytrash.com essay on my incredible grandmother who hated waste and who would be so proud of my sister and her friend Maxine for the business they launched today.
I love this street artist, turning discarded gum into canvasses, trash into an opportunity for whimsy. You are welcome in New York, Ben Wilson.
Chapeau, Douglas Brodoff. Thanks for sharing this video.
In nepotistic news, word broke yesterday that my little sister, Soraya Darabi, and her friend, Maxine Bédat, will soon launch an ecommerce startup called Zady. You can read more about it here, here and here, among other places. These impressive young women have teamed up to pool Soraya’s experience in the tech world with Maxine’s experience running The Bootstrap Project, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a sustainable platform for global crafts. The result: a thoughtfully curated collection of fashion and homeware focused on quality, craftsmanship and, most importantly, supply chain transparency.
Of interest to trashies: Zady evolved in reaction to the “fast fashion” epidemic. Investing in high quality clothes and goods means throwing less away in the long run; and some of the designers the company features include brands breathing second lives into recycled materials.
My mother recently moved to Westchester County, New York, and in no time at all has discovered all the best stuff to do, see and eat. We had an amazing day yesterday visiting some secret Persian Gardens and had a lovely dinner on the waterfront at a new place in Yonkers (thank you, Groupon). In between, we stopped by the Hudson River Museum to check out the wonderful and whimsical Federico Uribe: Fantasy River exhibition. As the dude at the front desk put it “What’s great about this guy is that he’s not just creative, he’s innovative.”
Uribe has transformed several rooms into a fantastical jungle habitat full of amazing creatures: huge birds constructed from tropical colored sneakers, a crane made of old crutches, a lamb comprised of ping pong balls screwed together, a doe made of bullets, trees made of books or rakes or corks. What makes the scenery so playful and dynamic are the dimensions. The artist has painted scenes on the walls then allowed them to pop out into sculpture: a 2D head attached to 3D hindquarters. Sourced from junkyards, donations and scavenging, the show takes recycling to new heights.
Go see it if you can. If not, here’s a video of the artist.
This month on the New Yorker Fiction podcast, Robert Coover reads Italo Calvino‘s short story “The Daughters of the Moon.” In his conversation with New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman, Coover says he teaches this story to expand his students’ understanding of straight narrative. It’s a rule-breaking story that feels both ancient and modern and covers many topics. Chief among these is waste and consumption.
In this world where every object was thrown away at the slightest sign of breakage or aging, at the first dent or stain, and replaced with a new and perfect substitute, there was just one false note, one shadow: the moon. It wandered through the sky naked, corroded, and gray, more and more alien to the world down here, a hangover from a way of being that was now outdated.
Have a listen and check it out for yourself.
Eco Brooklyn Inc. is a contracting, landscape and design firm run by Gennaro Brooks-Church, who relies nearly exclusively on reclaimed materials and coined the phrase “Build it Forward.” In the corporate world, “Live the Brand” is a phrase you hear a lot. Brooks-Church embodies the concept. He and his family live in an ever-improving green show house implementing and testing creative ways to eliminate waste (grey water systems), breath second and third lives into discarded building materials (beautiful reclaimed wood floors, an old fire escape fashioned into stairs), and create a space connected to the neighborhood and local environment (a natural pool). A while back, I took a tour of this whimsical space complete with a roof garden and bee hives.
Ever since, I have followed the company Facebook page, where I recently learned they have stocked their pond with local fish and frogs. Track new projects undertaken by Brooks-Church and his team of interns via social media, or schedule a tour and head over to Gowanus to check it out for yourself.
World renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson has a blog and you should read it. In a recent post entitled “By the Numbers: Food Waste” he shares key stats on our wasteful nation as well as four great recipes for using up leftovers.
In addition to advocating freezing, composting, cooking with wine and saving bread for various recipes, Samuelsson imparts one recipe each for a delicious-sounding soup, salad, slaw and taco. I love this combination of recipe ideas as a mantra for anyone with a bit left over after a meal—especially tacos. I often make soups or salads out of surplus dinner party fare, but tacos just make leftovers sound more fun!
The whole post reminds me of my grandmother who, borrowing from the tradition of Samuelsson‘s home of Sweden, would occasionally declare a smorgasbord lunch. She would empty out the fridge and put out little bits of this and that, some served cold and some served hot, left over from the amazing array of gourmet offerings created in her farm kitchen each week.