University of Trash garblogging talk links

University of Trash class

University of Trash class

In case you missed it, the team headed out to Long Island City, Queens yesterday to participate in the interactive installation project “University of Trash” created by Michael Cataldi and Nils Norman. Our contribution was a quick overview of some of the ways we and other garbloggers talk and track trash online followed by an informal conversation about trash and consumer culture. It was a fantastic event. We were very pleased by the supportive turnout (just look at how many people trecked all the way to Queens for and thrilled by the contributions everyone made during the open discussion. We learned a lot. Afterward, many of us headed to the new beer garden on the border of Long Island City and Astoria. We learned a lot there, too.

Here are links to the blogs I shared as well as some of the other resources and inspiration points Victor and I mentioned. Thanks again to all who came. It was great to see you IRL.

Garblogging links:

There are many ways to approach trash online. is the broadest of garblogs, posts on our site can cover any topic as long as there’s a trash angle.  The following are a few examples of other blogs I love that address trash in a variety of ways.

There are people who track their own waste like Sustainable Dave of 365 Days of Trash. Dave’s 365 days are up,  but his blog lives on as a wonderful resource for how to create less trash. For example, take a look at the bag he carries everywhere he goes and the tools of waste reduction within.

There is also a whole subgenre of garblogs focused on plastic. My favorite of these is Beth Terry‘s Fake Plastic Fish. Beth covers all kinds of cool plastic topics and at the top of her homepage you can always find a little chart of her monthly plastic use.

And of course, there are trash artists who can take a dull dry topic like solid waste management and make something fun and wonderful out of it. I consider Ruby Re-Usable of Olympia Dumpster Divers and Little Shiva of The Visible Trash Society my closest colleagues in the field of garblogging. Their work constantly inspires me and has consequently inspired a number of posts. Sometimes we even collaborate. See also Cynthia Korzekwa‘s  Art for Housewives.

In addition to artists making things out of garbage, there are also a few photographing trash in its native habitiat. Last Night’s Garbage is a wonderful blog to add to your reader—emphemeral photos paired with found text are uplodaed a few times a week. I didn’t have a chance to share these at the University of Trash, but Gutter Envy and Garbager also post trash photos.

And then there are the Upcyclers, taking recycling to a new level by finding reuses for objects that may be even better than the first use. Victor and I contribute to an Upcycling portal, which I encourage you to check out. Some of my favorite upcycling examples come from the Etsy Tashion street team. I’ve also been transfixed lately by artist Robert Fontenot‘s Recycle LACMA project.

Beyond upcycling there are blogs that focus on our consumer culture and point up the waste chain to ask if we could produce less stuff in the first place. The unconsumption tumblog run by Rob Walker (of the Times magazine column Consumed) and collaborators is full of interesting nuggets that fall under this theme.

And, of course, there are a ton of amazing DIY blogs that discuss and teach you how to make things yourself to create less waste and reuse scraps and trash. Some of my favorties are Instructables (which allows users to upload their own instructions on how to do and make things), the hip sewing blog Threadbanger, the ReadyMade Magazine blog, and the Make Magazine blog.

Which leads me to the scariest subset of garblogs, the green shopping blogs. I have mixed feelings about these sites becuase they all point to things I WANT and feel I NEED and want to HAVE because they are made out of sustainable products and trash. I try hard not to, but sometimes I look at Great Green Goods (which has a series of great green spinoffs for babies, pets, weddings and more). These sites are good to find trashy and geen substitutes for things you would have bought anyway.

I also love to peruse style sites like the wonderful blog Fabulously Green. But again, it makes me want to shop.

Finally, I want to share a few internaitonal garblogs just to point out that these conversations are taking place all over the world. I absolutely adore the site AfriGadet run by Hash of White African, a blogger and tech guru and several collaborators. The tagline says it all “Solving everyday problems with African ingenuity,” which more often than not involves upcycling.

Keith R. of the Temas Blog covers trash in Latin American. And the nonprofit Goods4Good keeps a Tumblog of their work repurposing excess from American companies in Africa and Asia.

There are many, many more links I could include here but I think the list is already a bit overwhelming. Let me just throw in some of Victor and my top recommended trash resources.

There’s the amazing animated video on the consumption chain, The Story of Stuff.

There’s the book Skräp by journalist Mattias Hagberg, which is in Swedish so I’ll share the link to his interview with Victor.

And there are the books Garbage Land and Bottlemania and the blog of their author, Elizabeth Royte, primordial guides for anyone who hopes to understand this massive topic.
Thanks again to the Sculpture Center and Michael Cataldi for making this talk possible. We hope to follow up on the dynamic discussion that took place and  look forward to more in person events.

To keep up to date on all our trashy activities, fan the blog on Facebook and share the link with your friends!

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