Archive for October, 2009

Trash Mash-Up

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hope you’re having a trashtastic Halloween! Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish sent me this holiday appropriate link to Trash Mash-Up.



According to the San Francisco after-school program’s Google Page:

Trash Mash-Up is a community art project. Using disposable materials, collected before they enter the waste stream, participants construct “Maskostumes” which are original pageant masks and costumes inspired by traditions from around the world. This project reduces waste and inspires people to see each other and our environment in a new way.

Absolutely adorable. Thanks, Beth!

Galpão das Artes Urbanas

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thanks to garblogger colleague Keith R.‘s wonderful recommendation, I made a point to visit the Galpão das Artes Urbanas while in Rio over Labor Day weekend—and to take lots and lots of photos of the neat stuff made out of trash by local artists. Apologies for the delayed posting. It’s been a crazy busy fall. The coolest thing about this trash museum/artist work space is that it is run by Rio’s department of sanitation, which supplies the raw materials. Now that’s a creative way to divert the waste stream!


Bottle cap-a-puss

Check out the full album at’s Facebook page. And while you’re at it, become a fan!

Sweden: Export an illegal fridge and go to jail

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Swedish Government seems to want to make an example, as the Cabinet later today will initiate drafting of a new law that would make it easier to send illegal exporters of electric and electronic tra$h, which we know is a global and profitable business, to court. The new law is also supposed to make it easier for law enforcement to press charges against individuals in the tra$h business for attempted smuggling (right now, the tra$h must leave Sweden for things to become illegal, making it a lot more complicated process for authorities to engage in).

While there will be a while before we see actual proposed legislation, I applaud this, but think that we should also recognize that this is a symptom that cooperation between police forces of involved countries should be strengthened. We can’t just add new legislation to cure an inefficient collaborative environment. International Trash Police Summit now, please!

More equality = more recycling

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reading this ambitious book review of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, written by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, I can’t help but to share the insight that it seems that the more egalitarian a society (be it a nation-state or a state within a nation), the more trash gets recycled by its people. Adding this to the list of the  many trashtastic outcomes of redistribution of wealth.

Recycling of clunker$ not happening at neck-brake speed

Monday, October 26, 2009

In August, we asked ourselves what in the world would happen to 750,000 clunker$ that were expected to be the outcome of the Cash for Clunkers programme (or as it’s actually called, the Car Allowance Rebate System; CARS), i.e. the old cars that americans have been allowed to trade in for a cash bonus, with the condition that the car would be subject to recycling, when buying a new car. A couple of months down the line, the New York Times alert us that all is not well:

Under the program, the cars are required to be crushed or shredded within six months of the date the vehicle is transferred from the dealership. Recyclers say the deadline, even a few months away, will be hard as they try to remove spare parts like transmissions, front and rear axles, starters and alternators.

Clearly, there are consequences that were not really thought of, although how on earth you can do policy implementation analysis this poor is beyond my wits. It seems as if deadlines will now be extended, but it proves that just because you have a great political idea that people agree with (not that CARS is one of them, but that’s another discussion), it doesn’t mean that things will automatically fall into place. Or in short, a society with less waste requires excellent civil servants in order to be sustainable. Municipal architects of the world, please report.

happen to 750,000 clunker$?

Midway: Message From the Gyre

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trash photographer Chris Jordan whose work documenting American mass consumption we’ve posted on before, has a troubling new series called “Midway,” in which he shows what happens when albatross chicks eat too much plastic.

Thanks to all the tipsters who sent me this link!

Upcycling Salvadorian style

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If you walk down Valencia (which incidentally is a must when visiting San Francisco), you should stop by Casa Bonampak, at #1051, and take a look at these beauties. Best upcycled bags I ever saw, with bonus that they were made in a Salvadorian cooperative. Shop ’til you drop.

san francisco bags

San Francisco bags

Solar Cities

Monday, October 19, 2009

Since the Egyptian government killed all their pigs, the Zabaleen trash picking community of Cairo have had no use for the organic waste they used to collect as food slops, thus creating a trash crisis for the city at large. NPR reports on a couple of positive developments. One, the Zabaleen neighborhoods now smell better (though other parts of Cairo now stink more) and an organization called Solar Cities has been building bio-gas and solar fueled heaters for the Zabaleen providing hot water to a community that has never had it before and creating a use for some of the organic waste plaguing Cairo.

Listen to the Weekend Edition clip and check out production assistant Kimberly Adamspost on NPR’s blog Soapbox describing her recent trip to Egypt and Solar Cities’ work there.

Happy birthday, Italicious!

Friday, October 16, 2009

It’s been a full year since my friend, Virginia (a.k.a. Jenny) began Italicious, a blog that chronicles the Italian (and sometimes Southern American) cooking that nourishes the charmed life she and her Neopolitan husband seem to lead. My FAVORITE thing about her blog is that she not only shares ideas for how to mix mouth watering combinations of amazing ingredients—sausage, fennel, home made pastas, dark leafy greens, saffron, cheese, etc.—but she’ll often include next-day recipes for how to recycle the leftovers, old school Italian style. And you know how we love to recycle! Recently, she added an entire “Reused, Recycled” page to the site to cull these recipes in one place. Check. It. Out.

Crochette di Riso via Italicious

Crochette di Riso via Italicious

Pictured above are tasty rice balls made from leftover risotto. You may remember the zero waste pasta pie featured here before. SUCH amazing stuff. Happy birthday, Italicious!


Saturday, October 10, 2009
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by ~Summon-The-Wolves

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by ~Summon-The-Wolves

I want one. via FFFOUND

Toward the Sentient City

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Now through November 7th, the Architectural League of New York brings us an incredible-sounding exhibit at The Urban Center. It’s called Toward the Sentient City and focuses on the use of mobile, sensor and other new technologies in city planning and architecture. A major feature of the exhibition is the Trash Track project from MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, which we’ve lauded here before. Check out the project Web site for images of some of the trash they’ve tracked through NYC and Seattle.

NYC trash

NYC trash

I hope to check out this exhibit before it closes a, because I can’t get enough of trash track and b, because I’m curious about all the other urban computing that’s going on out there. The mobile world truly seems to be exploding and I am constantly impressed by new and innovative applications toward the common good.

via Boing Boing

ReCORK America

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ReCORK America is a recycling project of Amorim, a Portugese company and the world’s largest cork supplier. According to a spokesman for the company, the program has collected over four million corks to date…and counting. This week, they partnered with SOLE, a footwear company that will use the corks as a base for their shoes.

Recycled corks

Recycled corks

I am usually very skeptical of green business press releases, but I really like this idea. Cork is such a useful material. It’s such a shame that so much ends up in the trash. Californians can donate wine corks to the project at these locations.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tested in Omaha and coming soon to a city near you, EcoATM is a vending machine that takes gadgets and dispenses coupons, vouchers and cash. The working prototype takes only old cell phones, but the company plans to add mp3 players, digital cameras and more to the list of recyclables.



Via MyGloss

RealSimple Recycling Facts

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A recycling cheat sheet.

New Eyes for the Needy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A colleague placed a collection box for used glasses in the kitchen at my office. Her son is collecting them for New Eyes for the Needy, an organization that recycles eye glasses in the U.S. and overseas.

Let me know if you have an old pair to spare. Or start a drive yourself.

%d bloggers like this: