My friend Joe and his girlfriend moved to San Francisco last year. At first, I didn’t understand how ANYONE could leave New York, but every now and again Joe sends an email that makes it all make sense. For example, this morning he sent me some West Coast garbage links including this one to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. It started as a supply-exchange set up by a couple of teachers and looks like it has blossomed into a community center with all kinds of reuse projects and resources, including a store How cool is that? Pardon me while I go mining the Depot links page for story ideas…thanks, Joe!
Archive for July, 2007
Two resources for the garcurious:
A new site dedicated to easing people into environmentally friendly lifestyles launched over the weekend. It’s called Blue Egg and the debut issue features everydaytrash. I hope you’ll check out my essay on garblogging.
It’s a fun site complete with interviews with innovators, news stories and online quizzes. I particularly enjoyed the Q &A with Kurt Zuelsdorf, the kayak tour operator clearing trash out of Florida wetlands; the interview with a young man inspired by pot-growing friends to start a trash-to-worm-poop fertilizer business; and video footage of the Eastern Garbage Patch.
Picture ripped from the Blue Egg site.
It’s a good thing I’m not the only garblogger on the World Wide Web or you trash-hungry readers would be out of luck this dreary Monday. After braving the flash floods of Manhattan Island this morning, I was too cold and wet to hunt for garbage facts this morning. Luckily, colleague and regular tipster Keith R. over at The Temas Blog has enough trashy goodness for the both of us. In the seventh installment of his trash photos series, Keith profiles PET bottle architect Andreas Froese who has built houses out of reused bottles in Honduras, Colombia and now, Bolivia. Nothing like an inspirational use of trash story to brighten a rainy day. Thanks, Keith!
Photo via Andreas Froese via The Temas Blog
I’ve noticed a recent increase in media attention for freeganism. There was the New York Times feature, “Not Buying It,” already reposted here, a recent New York Press piece that describes the social atmosphere of group dumpster diving, and even a dissmisive and annoyed Huffington Post column on the topic. This is probably due to several factors, including the catchy name and the current season (it’s summer and freeganism is at a peak, it’s summer and news is slow). This shit is blowing up like street art and gallery grafitti! I’m feeling behind the times in wanting to try urban food foraging for myself. Several recomended dumpsters are not far from my place. Stay tuned.
This week in trash news:
- The Washington Post‘s first person singular piece this week features a man who scoops trash out of the Patomic;
- Young garbage collectors risk life and limb in Baghdad;
- A clash between the Teamsters and Waste Management has San Francisco looking a lot like Naples;
- A new study from Greenpeace shows 6.5 million tons of trash floating in the Mediterranean;
- A couple in India discover a discarded grandmother at the local garbage dump;
- A city in California proposes restrictions on curbside trash scavenging;
- The BigBelly solar trash bin gets a little press in the UK; and
- Regional officials in Canada visit Europe to learn more about trash.
Photo by Walter P. Calahan via the Washington Post
Photo by Nancy Seisel via the NYT
Photo via the Texarkana Gazette.
Check out this AFP shot featured by the BBC’s Day in Pictures segment yesterday.
“For the last week, the sea around Juhu beach in Mumbai, India, has been churning out more than 300 tones of rubbish every day because of changes in sea currents and waves.”
This week in trash news:
- The U.S. government warns Americans of trash-related health risks in Naples;
- Italians in nearby Mercato San Severino try to clean up their act;
- A San Fran resident and a local columnist hash out the best ways to dispose of organic waste;
- Bears prefer garbage to bait; and
- Brits rescue a pony from a rubbish dump.
Photo via the USDA Forest Service
A HarrisInteractive poll on sent out on Business Wire today reveals that many Americans aren’t recycling and finds a murky mix of reasons for why this is so. The good news is that three out of four Americans partakes in some form of recycling. The bad news is, this is a large and populated country and 1 in four nonrecylers makes for a shitload of wastefullness. Here’s what the Harris has to say about reasons for not recycling:
Why Don’t They Recycle?
Among those who do not recycle, the reasons are very varied. One in six (15%) say they do not recycle because it is not available in their area while 12 percent each say it takes too much effort and it costs more to recycle where they live. Just one in ten (11%) say they do not recycle because they don’t believe it makes a difference while six percent say they are too busy and five percent say it is too difficult.
Southerners might be more inclined to recycle if it was cheaper and actually available. One in five (20%) of those who live in the South do not recycle because it isn’t available in their area, while an additional 14 percent say it is because it costs more where they live. For those in the East who do not recycle, laziness may be the reason. One-quarter of Easterners (26%) say they do not recycle because it takes too much effort.
So, we’re cheap, lazy and can’t be bothered. Not sure I needed a poll to tell me that, but it sounds like a combined category of “apathetic” would account for a third of the barriers keeping Americans from recycling. Perhaps we should be lobbying for some sort of federal Make it Cheap, Make it Easy Recycling bill.
This week Trashtastic Tuesday features Miss Malaprop, a pioneer of “Trashion”.
everydaytrash: What is a “Trashion street team” and how did you get involved?
Miss Malaprop: Etsy.com, an online marketplace for all things handmade, has all sorts of member organized “street teams” who try to help get the word out about Etsy and their own shops there. The site is just 2 years old and very community oriented, so the street teams are a great way for members who live in certain regions or have similar interests to join up and spread the word about their work.
I believe the Trashion Street Team formed sometime during or shortly after Etsy sponsored an “upcycling” contest this past January. The challenge was for users to create something beautiful and functional out of materials that otherwise would have been thrown away or recycled. There were over a thousand entries, and everyone got really into the “upcycling” idea. Some of us decided to create a street team devoted to this idea, terming our work “Trashion”. As in, trash + fashion = Trashion. Of course for our group that’s not just limited to recycled clothing and jewelry. We have members who create just about anything you can think of using recycled & “upcycled” materials.
everydaytrash: What kind of politics and values go into your work?
Miss Malaprop: The more I get into the green movement and become more conscious of my environmental footprint, the more creative I become. Lately every little thing I throw away makes me think, “how can I turn this into something functional and fun?”
I’ve always been interested in environmental issues (I tried to start an environmental club when I was in 4th grade), but lately I’ve really been trying to make some changes and reduce my impact as much as possible.
Since Hurricane Katrina, I’ve also been creating a lot more New Orleans and fleur-de-lis themed pieces, as a show of support for the area’s recovery and to help remind people elsewhere how far we still have to go. (And that yes, it is worth saving and fighting for.)
everydaytrash: What’s your favorite piece you’ve reimagined from trash?
Miss Malaprop: I think it would have to be the outfit I made from recycled FEMA blue tarp for the Etsy upcycling contest [pictured above]. I won 3rd place in the contest because of it (out of more than a thousand entries, remember), and I got a lot of press and the chance to attend the Maker Faire in San Francisco because of it. Plus I was just really pleased with the way it turned out. I’d made an outfit from blue tarp before, for a local fundraiser, but I really liked this piece because it was made from discarded offical FEMA tarp and it helped bring some attention to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area.
MissMalaprop.com – indie finds for your uncommon life
dismantled designs – original and reconstructed clothing & accessories
Women’s eNews reports this week on a Burkinabè women’s group who turn old plastic bags into dolls to sell to tourists. This story involves so many happy elements: artistic recycling, microfinance, women’s empowerment, the great city of Bobo-Dioulasso and the just desserts of selling trash back the West at boutique prices. The day job is taking me back to Burkina Faso in September, so I’ll be sure to look them and blog back then.
Photo by Emily Bowers via Women’s eNews
The canon of literary trash is ever-growing. Bill Keaggy over at The Grocery List Collection has a new book out.
“That’s right, I made a real book out of the best of the best found shopping lists on my site. Only the funniest of the funny, the weirdest of the weird, the saddest of the sad and the unhealthiest of the unhealthy made it into the Milk Eggs Vodka, published last month by HOW Books,” he says.
I might just check it out. If you’ve never read the blog, I highly recommend clicking over to grocerylists.org and reading some of Keaggy’s amazing collection of found grocery lists—readymade art and poetry.