Archive for June, 2007
NYC artist Tom Duncan was one of 6 artists to win $2000 plus municipal exposure for his work when the city of Yonkers commissioned murals to cover local garbage trucks. I would have totally missed this item, had my friend Myra not read the regional section yesterday!
Photo by Alison Leigh via the NYT.
This week in trash news:
- As the economic crisis endures, Zimbabwean trash pickers find fewer and fewer quality throwaways;
- Meanwhile, Paris Hilton’s trash sells for millions;
- Boston municipal waste haulers are caught side dealing;
- The Kerala High Court slaps a company’s wrist for illegal dumping;
- San Francisco may have too many trash cans;
- Fujifilm starts a landfill to energy project;
- Pittsburgers discover freecycling; and
- Waste haulers in Guyana won’t collect trash until they are paid.
Photo via Benettontalk.
The answer is Ricardo Rubio of Akasha Design, in case you’re wondering who is responsible for my TRASHTASTIC new blog header. I hope seeing such a lovely image enhances your everdaytrash experience and entices you to share the web address with potentially interested friends!
I’ve mentioned before that the best thing about having a trash blog is that it has helped me connect with other trashies whom I might never otherwise have stumbled upon. Take Miss Malaprop, for example, a member of the Etsy Trashion Team who found everydaytrash while promoting her crew’s upcoming trunk show.
According to Miss M:
The Etsy Trashion Team is about visualizing beauty in unconventional
objects and materials. We fabricate art, jewelry, fashion and objects
for the home from used, thrown-out & found elements. For us, trashion is
a philosophy and an ethic. It encompasses environmentalism and
innovation, and respects the human creative and healing potential.
You can check out their work on their new online shop (ah, the Internet) or by stopping by the Etsy Labs this Friday for the first of a series of trunk shows (every last Monday of the month) featuring trash to treasure pieces.
Here are the deets on the sale event:
Etsy Labs in Brooklyn NYC. (325 Gold Street, Brooklyn NYC. A/C/F to Jay St *
B/M/Q/R to Dekalb) We will have recycled art, jewelry, clothing, home
décor & more for sale, plus there will be trashion-themed films,
make-your-own trashion activities and refreshments. The trunk show is
free and open to all ages, plus the first 25 people through the door
will receive a FREE trashion team gift bag. Attendees are requested to
RSVP via email at email@example.com.
I know I’ll be there. Not only is this right up my alley, but it’s walking distance to boot. Big ups to my trashies in the BK, hope to see you there.
UPDATE: This weekend’s sale is of another group’s stuff. Still trashtastic.
- Treehugger reports on reduce-your-trash contest for kids in Boston;
- The New York Times discovers freeganism;
- Europeans won’t recycle their old cell phones;
- Nobody cares about trash in San Diego;
- A brit boycots recycling;
- Honolulu contemplates getting into the trash export biz (more fascinating, perhaps, is the use of large words in this paper’s headlines. Ignominious?!).
Photo via NYT
In addition to producing yummy yogurt, Stonyfield Farm cultivates indicators for ranking companies’ climate policies. Their new guide, Climate Counts, gives grades of “Stuck,” “Starting,” and “Striding.”
Based on 22 criteria, the guide scores on a scale of 1-100 companies’ progress in measuring, reducing, supporting progressive legislation and publicly disclosing their contribution to global warming.
For some examples: Burger King is “stuck” at zero, Google is just “starting” with a score of 17 and Nike is “striding” with a surprisingly high score of 73. Stonyfield also ranked themselves as “striding” with 63 points.
Story via Waste News; photo via Climate Counts guide.
Apparently due to lax border checks between EU countries, German companies were able to illegally dump thousands of tons of trash in Hungary last year. Wise to this scheme, Hungary is now sending back the trash, or at least half of it. In addition, the Hungarian companies who let this happen are also being fined. On the positive side, it’s nice to see we can resolve these things with check books and not guns these days.
Map via The Project Gutenberg eBook
Trash blogging is catching on. This isn’t a trend I take any credit for, just one I revel in discovering. Why this week alone:
- Megnut, a food blog, defines “replating”.
- I discovered fellow garblogger, Secondhand Nation.
- And the Closet Environmentalist looked into the truth behind recycling.
Next on my to do list is organizing the side bars. It’s time to sort out the greens from the garbloggers, to highlight colleagues like the ladies above as well as Bring Your Own, The Temas Blog, Olympia Dumpster Divers, Gutter Envy (see beautiful photo above) and all my other peoples focused mainly on trash. Keep your eyes peeled for a redesign with better-sorted links and a fancy new logo.
May-June is a horrifying season of waste on and near college campuses. Around this time of year, the over-satiated and less than imaginative undergraduates of our nation drag pounds upon pounds of perfectly good stuff to the curb simply because it won’t fit into their station wagons and storage lockers, or because it’s less of a hassle to just buy a new one next year.
Having grown up on a series of college campuses, this phenomneon particularly bums me out. Seeing piles of couches and text books, plastic storage bins and metal clothes hangers lining the streets of my town at the end of Spring Semester was a yearly reminder of the temporary and disposable view my quadranual roation of neighbors had for our community. This year, however, I am heartened. My friend Lydia lives in Philadelphia where she knows a guy named Paul Gargagliano. Paul Gargagliano, Lydia tells me, goes around on his bike salvaging the stuff tossed aside by the young and the wasteful. Hearing this, I had to know more. And so another Trashtastic Tuesday begins…
everydaytrash: How do you find the curbside items you reuse? Do you happen upon them, go out hunting, round up friends to help?
Paul Gargagliano: Here in West Philadelphia, come late May you have to try hard not to find great trash on the side of the road. At this special time, known as Penn Christmas to some, students at the University of Pennsylvania move away, and the school renovates building after building. Over the past three years UPenn students and the school itself have worked together to clothe and feed me, they have provided me with the materials to create shelter, given me artistic inspiration, made me wonder in awe at wealth accumulation and brought me many moments of unexpected joy. All up and down the streets of University City students create unweildy piles of bagged and unbagged goods. The university fills dumpsters with old furniture and leftover building materials. Most of the trash picking I do is with my friend Ben on Sunday and Monday nights, but I also go out alone. We almost exclusively travel by bicycyle. Ben is a little more selective than I am, which means that he tends to make it back to the house first because I’m so loaded down that I can barely pedal. I take a lot of things that I might never use because I can’t bear imagining the maw of a garbage truck crushing them up. Case in point, I recently brought home a baby monitor hoping I guess that somebody knew somebody who needed one. When we find wood we come home and get the car. Sometimes I’ll hide a larger item in an alley to come back for it with a vehicle.
everydaytrash: What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever found and salvaged?
Gargagliano: Rather here is a list of my favorite finds off the top of my head: a 1.5 liter orange Le Creuset sauce pan, a big red internal frame backpack that a friend is carrying around India right now, a delicious sheep’s milk cheese that I could never afford called Ewephoria, a massive maple lab table, a 36 cubby unit made out of oak ply that I put all my clothing in, a hefty Webster’s dictionary, over 1000 dollars worth of textbooks that a friend and I dutifully resold, 1 half bottle of Pimm’s liquor something I never would have tried otherwise.
everydaytrash: What sorts of things have you made out of the discarded items you salvage?
Gargagliano: Currently I am typing at an L shaped desk that Ben and I made out of laminated oak and and old maple lab table. Ben and I both made our beds, desks, and bedside tables out of salvaged wood.
everydaytrash: Do you think people become more or less wasteful as they become more educated?…as they age?
Gargagliano: I think that a person’s wastefulness is linked more directly to her relationship to consumer culture and the commodity fetish. If you believe that shopping is a valid passtime, then you will be forced to make room for the new things that you are constantly purchasing and bringing into your home. If you have no connection at all to the labor required to make a given object then you tend to invest much less in its maintenance and you toss it into the trash more readily. There are ways in which certain types of education about labor might bring out a consciousness of the commodity fetish and consumer culture, but an education at UPenn undergrad or at the school of dentistry, these things, have proven to create a rather wasteful class of people. Older people are often more jaded in general. They see through commercials that try to get them to spend their money here and there. And thus, they buy fewer things and throw away fewer things.
Check out this photo and in-depth article posted on Gotham Gazette, always a prime source for trash news. New York City’s marine transfer stations—the loading docks once used to dump trash out of dump trucks and onto barges, back when we had a working landfill just down river in Staten Island—have been at the heart of municipal sanitation politics for years now. Every borough has at least one, but the richer neighborhoods are fighting hard to keep theirs closed.
The latest argument being tossed out there by the posher set is that using one such dock as a recycling plant would interrupt plans for a new park. Clearly these guys don’t travel uptown all that much.
I guess I’m not the only one who finds trash a fascinating and entertaining topic. A British paper reported today that ten reality show hopefuls have taken up residence at a local landfill as part of a competition to see who can best live off the fat of the land. Contestants will have to live like freegans, including making their own shelters out of landfill waste. The idea is to raise awareness (and ratings) around the vast amount we throw away. Sadly, as taping has only just begun, my hunch is that the DVD release is years away!
Image via Stencil Punks.
- As the Italitan trash crisis continues, Neopolitans force the city to reopen an old dump;
- Garbage remains a multi-million dollar cash import in Virginia;
- The Supreme Court reaffirms that trash is NOT private (I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating);
- A dispute between Belize City local officials and their trash hauler leads to smelliness;
- Plastic generated by tourists plagues a river in India, despite the best efforts of the government of Norway to step in and solve the problem Viking style;
- Cynthia Rowley envisions designer garbage bags and for some reason CNN thinks this is news (yeah, I know, I’m a hypocrite for reposting but I’ll bog anything that allows me to diversify the photos around here….I’m sick of trash piles).
How do you throw away an old war ship? Apparently there are a bunch of ships docked around the country suffering from disrepair or simply outdated by newer models (you know how we love to create bigger and better military equipment). Waste News reports that two out-of-commission pieces of a long-abandoned fleet in Virginia are headed for that great recycling plant in the sky. I find it interesting that it takes one corporate contract to construct and another to dismantle the machines of war—to say nothing of the contracts commissioned to repair what we destroy using those machines. Anyway, “ghost fleet” is a cool term for ships in reserve. You gotta hand it to the military, you just can’t beat the lingo.
Photo from Wikipedia