Archive for March, 2009

Trashing the Galapagos

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ever since I was a little girl, I have longed to see the Galapagos. My parents lived in Ecuador before I was born and to this day will not shut up about their visits to these magical islands full of amazing creatures. Embarrassing fact: both my mother and father still call me variations of the nickname ¨boopie¨ after the blue footed booby, a bird they once  saw there.

Over the next few days, my sister and I will finally get to see what all the fuss is about when we visit the islands with our mom. In preparation for this trip of a lifetime, I have done very little research. After wandering around Guayaquil all day, though, I got to thinking about—what else—trash and recycling. The boardwalk in this city is shockingly developed, lined with perfectly manicured patches of tropical vegetation and freshly painted playsets for children. There are police and trash bins every few hundred feet and even large paper, plastic and glass recycling bins at the major entrances (photos forthcoming). Not at all what I´d expected.

Then again, at the nearby iguana park, tourists wander unregulated, posing with, poking and feeding junk food to the lizards and littering indiscriminantly.

Anyway, on the eve of my Galapagos adventure, I find myself camped out in the hotel business center (charging the various devices I seem incapable of traveling without and) searching the terms ¨trash¨ and ¨galapagos¨.

Isabela Island, photo via SuperVegan

Isabela Island, photo via SuperVegan

So far, the two most interesting results mirror my high and low reactions to solid waste disposal in Guayaquil this afternoon: a write up on Treehugger last year heralding an innovative recycling venture and several blog postings from a self-described Galapagos-based vegan priate criticizing the government of Ecuador for doing little to regulate illegal dumping and animal smuggling. I will let you know what I see for myself in a few days. Hasta pronto, compañeros.

en route

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hi, it’s Leila. I’m sitting in the Miami airport waiting to board my flight to Guayaquil, reading the paper and attempting to blog via smartphone. If you haven’t yet, check out the NYT story on the failing recycling industry in China. The news hook isn’t new, but the profile of a trash collector named Tian Wengui is.

Related slideshow at

Update: here are the links for the article and the slideshow

Trash Hiatus

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dear Trashies,

Leila is in Ecuador this week and Victor is in the process of relocating from Stockholm to NYC for six months. Please excuse us if posts are light this week.

Have fun in the archives!

Amazing email from Nancy

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fused plastic tote by Nancy

I woke up to this incredibly sweet note in my inbox this morning:  “Hi Leila–I went to see your presentation at the Princeton Library, and got inspired to 1) resume blogging, 2) make dozens of fused plastic totes. Thanks for the push into upcycling.”

Thank YOU Nancy. Garblogging is fun in and of itself, but it’s exciting to get proof beyond web stats that people out there are getting something out of everydaytrash. P.S., that CVS/Forever 21 mash up bag is rad. Keep us posted on the fusing madness.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rich and Bob started out of their dorm room at Yale. The site promotes a concept they coined: recommerce. AKA recycling incentives. Basically, it’s a directory of how to get paid to recycle your electronics. Thoughts?

This American Life

Thursday, March 12, 2009

And of course, This American Life has devoted an entire show to our favorite topic. Have a listen to the garbage episode, first aired back in ’05.

Marine Trash

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ira-glass1Recently, I’ve become addicted to  back episodes of  This American Life. It’s a cliche of my demographic, I know, but I heart Ira Glass. This morning, while rooting through the onlne archives, I found this show, which includes an opening segment on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In it, Ira talks to an environmental sea captain with his own Web site on the topic of trashed bodies of water and efforts to restore them.

The International Scientific Congress on Climate Change

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today is the last of three days of scientific discussions on climate change, held between some 2 000 experts in Copenhagen. Obviously, with so much brains in the room(s), summarizing outcomes is quite the challange, but the intrigued should check out the conference website for online abstracts. Later, a book will be published to be handed over to our mighty policy makers at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-15), also to be held in Copenhagen, in November-December 2009. As we know, the COP-15 iwill be the site for negotiating the post-kyoto protocol, so this book should be valuable input.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A friend at the UN researching nongovernmental organizations sent me this link today, to The Association for the Protection of the Environment (A.P.E.).

Garbage seperation project

Garbage seperation project

Since 1984 this NGO has worked to organize Egyptian garbage collecting families in and around Cairo. They run a composting center, health programs for mothers and children and a paper recycling program. They also coordinate a series of microfinance activities, helping families make and sell rag rugs, patchwork and recycled stationary. The funds raised go into community projects like new roads, schools, clinics and tree planting. Sadly, the links to buy their goods don’t seem to work or I would pimp them here.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Finally, zero waste biz cards. I’ve been having an ethical dilemma for over two years now about whether it’s hypocritical to print paper cards for a trash blog. Solution part a came via Cool Hunting today: sms contact cards. Soultion part b is homemade cards. Photos coming soon.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

unconsumption is a side project in the form of a tumblr started by Rob Walker, author of the weekly Consumed column in the Times magazine. It is also a concept tackled in some depth on his blog, Murketing. I think you’ll enjoy these links.

Reblog: Wallpapered Dumpsters

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Check out C. Finley’s clever and trashy street art, wall papered dumpsters.

C. Finley

C. Finley

Via Wooster Collective

On a mostly unrelated note, I saw a racoon (at least I hope it was a racoon, it could have been a very large possum or a big freaky rat on steroids) at the corner of Smith and Bergen last night. It looked like it was about to walk down the steps to the F train platform, but some people walked by (without noticing it) so it ran under a car instead. I imagine it was checking out curbside dining options from all the restaurant trash bags on that block. I’ve seen racoons in Brooklyn before, but never one that looked like it might get on the Subway.

Found on Vimeo

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Check it, a trashy Donky Kong-esque game some guy made for a school project on the environment. I hope he got an A.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Found on Vimeo", posted with vodpod

Trash Mountain

Friday, March 6, 2009

To demonstrate the huge amount of recylclables that end up in the garbage at the University of Missouri, a group called Sustain Mizzou had a forklift drop four tons of trash bails in the center of campus and stood on top of it. They called the project trash mountain. This clever group has a host of ongoing awareness projects, including an initiative to offer recycling at tailgating events. Even their Sustain Mizzou t-shirts are recycled, a great idea for any trashie team. Rock on kids. And seriously, get some help with your Web site. All these neat projets should be better showcased online!

Al-Azhar Park

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Where there was once a dump, there is now green space. Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Egypt grew out of a project of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, aimed at revitalizing the Darb al-Ahmar neighborhood and restoring and showcasing the area’s historic art and architecture.

Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, once a rubble dump

Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, once a rubble dump

For the full story of this transformation, check out this fantastic post from City Parks Blog, complete with links to a PBS video. One estimate cited in the project overview found that the amount of green space per resident of Cairo was about a footprint before Al-Azhar. I hope it’s a little better now.

Photo via Tines Egyptian

%d bloggers like this: