Archive for August, 2007

Weekly Compactor

Friday, August 17, 2007


This week in trash news:

Photo via

Note: I’m on vacation this week, back on the 26th.  During this period of slow-to-no posts, please check out the highly informative and entertaining side bar!

Trashtastic Thursday with Harry J. Bubbins

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Trashtastic Tuesday comes early this week (or late, depending on your world view). Note that the everydaytrash post flow may trickle down next week. I’ll be in Budapest. Stay tuned for stories of Euro and post-Communist trash. In the meantime…

I got an email yesterday from Harry J. Bubbins of Friends of Brook Park in the Bronx. The subject line read “Garbage Takes the Train BS” and the content below was a little back and forth between neighborhood environmental justice activists declaring a blurb from the “propaganda”. I read the blurb, then emailed Harry for more info on his group and concerns. Here’s what he had to say about trash in the Bronx and the sad fact that in our city of islands, it’s pretty freakin’ hard to access the water.


everydaytrash: So, I heard the city is now using trains to transport trash OUT of the Bronx, what about the trash coming IN?

Harry J. Bubbins: The Bronx, and specifically the South South Bronx, the Port Morris and Mott Haven neighborhoods handle almost all the garbage. Besides the borough waste, we handle trash from Manhattan and Queens as well. This is because the Mayor’s Solid Waste Management Plan, approved by the NYC Council has been stalled by three Upper West Side State legislators who refuse to handle Manhattan’s waste in Manhattan. The direct outcome of their recalcitrance is an increase of diesel truck traffic in the most at-risk for asthma communities and a dream deferred for a significant step towards environmental justice.


everydaytrash: What are the Harlem River Rail Yards?

Bubbins: The Harlem River Rail yards refer to the 96 acres site at the southern most tip of the Bronx that is owned by the people of New York through the NYS Department of Transportation. This site has been leased for 99 years for a sweetheart deal to Galesi Grouo, whose head was involved with Enron and such. They in turn sublease to Waste Management, the largest and most profitable waste handler in the hemisphere. WM was recently awarded a no bid contract for $1 billion to handle the NYC waste, despite providing no local amenities and an almost year long labor strike in 2006. We are at the mercy of this monopoly for carting out our waste. Currently, there is no public access along the waterfront of the Rail Yards, despite contractual obligations in the lease to provide access to the river and a bridge to Randall’s Island for South Bronx residents. We’d like to see 1,000 trees planted along the truck route corridors, public access to the waterfront, an environmental center, and green affordable housing in the yards footprint.


everydaytrash: How did the Friends of Brook Park waterfront project come about? How are plans progressing?

Bubbins: Our waterfront initiatives have emerged from over a decade of fighting against a disproportionate amount of polluting facilities and to advance a more holistic vision for our communities. In the aftermath of the successful effort by the then South Bronx Clean Air Coalition to shut down the BFI medical waste incinerator, we realized that a community led vision for the waterfront would serve to provide resources to local residents and visitors and help to pre-empt the polluting industries that are often located in lower income and people of color neighborhoods. Nevertheless, Governor Pataki saw fit to place not one but four power plants in Port Morris, and we have huge waster transfer stations across the shores from the East River to the Harlem River and no benefit whatsoever. In addition, a public bus depot was closed, the buses sent to park and storage in Harlem, the site was turned over to the non-artisan NY Post and hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies fueled that. Now, Fed Ex has closed down on the west side of Manhattan to make way for luxury housing and been given bonds and public subsidies to build a huge trucking facility which will bring more traffic and few if any jobs since the employees from Manhattan will be coming here.


We targetted five priorities, rebuilding a fishing pier destroyed by Con Ed, an eco art center, the bridge to Randall’s Island under the Amtrak viaduct, 2 street end access points, and a park on the Harlem River. All efforts are proceeding at various paces, with Sustainable South Bronx leading the way by spearheading the South Bronx Greenway which will achieve easier access to Randall’s Island. Our Harlem River park project, in partnership with Nyers for Parks and NY Restoration Project is moving forward thanks to support from our elected officials at every level. We have designs, have obtained seed funding through the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and are negotiating for rail access and an agreement to manage the site for community programming and recreation.


Pictures via the Friends of Brook Park site

Inventive Recycling Workshops

Thursday, August 16, 2007

diskettebin.gifkite.gif  This back-to-school season, Bay Area residents of all ages can take part in a “new workshop about old things” at the Cataclysmic Megashear Ranch in the Bayview neighborhood.  Among other things, the Made From Scrap team will show you how ot make a kite from old plastic bags, magnets from computer chips and a coat rack from metal clothes hangers.  Have creative recycling scheme of your own?  Propose a workshop or nominate an instructor!

Trash to TiVo

Wednesday, August 15, 2007



Thursday, August 16, 2006
7pm –7:45 on CINEMAX

Directed, Photographed and Edited by Leslie Iwerks
Produced by Mike Glad
Narrated by Edward James Olmos
Senior Producer for HBO: Nancy Abraham
Executive Producer for HBO: Sheila Nevins

Reblogging: Trashion

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Holy trashion bloggers, Batman!  Check out the newly posted team from ETSY.

Weekly Compactor

Friday, August 10, 2007

This week in trash news:

Elizabeth Royte on Landfills

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

ht_landfills_illo.jpg  First I thought this whole Blue Egg thing was cool for paying me to write an essay about everydaytrash.  But now I see they’ve truly got their shit together.  Yet another Royte primer went up today, this one on Land Fills.  She’s so cool.

Picture via Blue Egg

Smelly Rat Trash Bags

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Apparently, D.C. may buy up the “rat-resistant” plastic trash bags NYC rejected.


Also interesting: rats don’t like the smell of eucalyptus. For more on rats and trash, take a click down memory lane with this link to everydaytrash‘s interview with the author of Rats.

Photo from The Cannon Group, via The

The Return of Trashtastic Tuesday

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tuesdays haven’t been so trashtastic lately, mostly due to the overwhelming schedule of my day job compounded by my Middle Eastern father’s annual month-plus-long visit.  For those of you worried that this weekly feature had died, never fear!  My friend Joe in San Fran has been hooking me up remotely with quality trash content from the other coast.  The other day he emailed me a link to a new bandshell in a nearby park made by local artists from waste materials.  I just had to know more about this initiative, so I looked up Will Chase, a local artist and coconspirator in the Panhandle Bandshell Project.


everydaytrash: How did you come up with the idea for the bandshell?


Will Chase: We’d gotten word that the SF Department of the Environment was offering grants through the Black Rock Arts Foundation for art installations made of recycled, reused and repurposed materials in three San Francisco parks: the project is called ScrapEden SF. Our team (The Finch Mob Arts Collective and REBAR arts collective) decided to go for the grant. We were brainstorming different types of installations that would work well in San Francisco’s Panhandle Park, and one of our crew, Marcus Guillard, threw out the idea of a bandshell. Of all the ideas we’d come up with — most of which were passive installations — the idea of a bandshell really resonated. Particularly because it’s interactive, community-oriented, participatory, and … well … a lot of us are performers of various sorts, and it would be fun to have a stage on which to perform. The key to the decision was that the idea resonated with everybody very strongly. That’s how ideas take life, and can be converted into action.

everydaytrash: Where did you find the materials?


Chase: We collected 65 car hoods (for the skin) from auto dismantlers and junk yards around the Bay Area. The 7 I-Beams that make up the foundation of the structure were reclaimed from a winery in Napa that had been demo’d … we got them via a steel distributor in Fresno. The structural steel for the arches was second-hand scrap from a steel foundry. The 60 French doors that make up the stage deck were from a school near Stanford … we got them via a repurposed building materials outfit called Building Resource (we also got our decorative streetlight lenses there). The doors were in-filled and our deck framed using lumber from a wood recycling company called the Reuse People, and a lot of our plywood and wood came from dismantling 8-foot storage crates from a Public Storage warehouse that was getting rid of them. The 3,000 plastic water bottles that make up the back wall were collected from a local live music club (The Independent), a spa (Bliss), and a big running Race (Bay to Breakers), as well as our personal friends. Finally, the several-hundred circuit boards that create the decorative facade over the arches came from a local junk redistributor called Ace Auto Dismantlers.

everydaytrash: Who has been taking advantage of the bandshell so far?

Chase: A little of everybody and everything. We’ve had live music, dance, theatre, vaudeville, spoken word, story telling for little kids, a capella opera singers, comedians, you name it. We also built four aerial pick-points into the front-most arch, so we’ve had aerialists perform on hoop and trapeze, too. It’s been very gratifying to see people really enjoying it as a performance stage, as well as appreciating it as an art installation. While the bandshell is open to anybody to use anytime during its open hours, many people book their performances, which you can see here.


everydaytrash: I see that it’s only up temporarily, are there plans in the work to repeat this or similar projects?

Chase: Our goal is to find a permanent home for the bandshell, most likely in another San Francisco park that is less proximate to neighboring residents. It was build modularly, so the whole thing can be dismantled, put onto a semi truck, taken anywhere, and assembled in three days with a wrench and a screwdriver … and a forklift. 😉 That said, the Finch Mob and REBAR are open to commissions to create similar installations wherever they may be wanted. We’re very interested in creating participatory, aesthetically-beautiful, civic installations that foster community through the arts. Anybody interested can contact me at


Photos by Will Chase (first two) and Marcus Guillard (third).

Corn and potato cups

Monday, August 6, 2007

potato-starch.jpg This morning, I came across this Edmonton Journal article on biodegradable corn cups as an alternative to PETE plastic, which few people make the effort to recycle. A Green Bug Blog has compiled some more facts on compostable utensils. It’s a mind blowing concept, if you ask me, corn and potato starch knives, forks and bowls! I tried some out at Blue Hill Cafe upstate this Winter. I don’t know why more places don’t make the switch.

Blogging for Positive Global Change

Friday, August 3, 2007

Ruby Re-usable has nominated everydaytrash for a Blogging for Positive Global Change award. It’s a meme, or blog-driven chain letter with the aim of highlighting bloggers who “have taken the weight of the world upon their shoulders and are trying to build awareness among their readership in order to create a more sustainable and enlightened future.”

Here are the rules:

1. When you get tagged, write a post with links to up to 5 blogs that you think are trying to change the world in a positive way.

2. In your post, make sure you link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you’re tagging, so they know they’re now part of the meme.

4. Optional: Proudly display the “Bloggers For Positive Global Change” award badge with a link to the post that you write up.

In the spirit of sharing the love, here are the official everydaytrash nominations:

Weekly Compactor

Thursday, August 2, 2007

goon.jpg  This week in trash news:

Photo via The Star

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