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Trash - Oct 6

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Meet Dave, the Man Who Never Takes Out the Trash

Bryan Walsh, Time
David Chameides is not your average American. For one thing, the TV cameraman owns two Emmy awards — how many do you have? But more importantly, while the average American throws out around 1,700 lbs. of trash annually, for the past year Chameides has thrown out absolutely nothing. A deep green by nature — he also runs a website called Sustainable Dave — beginning in December Chameides decides he would keep all the garbage he created, at home and on the road, in his house. "We have the concept of throwing something away, but in reality, we're just tossing it over our shoulder and forgetting about it," says Chameides.

"It wouldn't be so funny if it was really just in your backyard." (Hear Chameides talk about his trash habits on this week's Greencast.)

Essentially, that's what Chameides has been doing. All of his non-recyclable trash — including organic waste like food — is stacked neatly in the basement of his Los Angeles house. He uses a tin box to hold bags of waste paper, and cans of garbage to hold the rest. For organic waste, he put in a worm composter that breaks down leftover food. Beyond that, he didn't create a master plan for his year of no trash. "I didn't really think this through — which is probably for the best," says Chameides. His wife and kids are exempted from the challenge, but not from the neighbors' scoffs. "My wife's friends do make fun of me."...
(22 September 2008)

Consumer culture turns into murals of trash

Laura Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle
The enormity of trash produced by the American consumer culture is so hard to comprehend that we fail to both react emotionally and contemplate what to do about it, Seattle photographer Chris Jordan told a receptive crowd of Bay Area designers this week.

"We are suffering because we have created this culture, this tidal wave of information that pours over us each day," he said. "And there is nowhere you can go and see it or feel it."

Jordan received a standing ovation from 500 people attending the annual breakfast of the Northern California chapter of the International Interior Design Association for a riveting display of photographs illustrating the numbers of aluminum cans, cell phones, office paper, plastic cups and bags and other detritus generated each minute in the United States.

The images, part of Jordan's latest project, "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait," were an attempt, he said, to take "the dry unfeeling language of data and to translate it into the visual language of feeling."
(27 September 2008)
Images at the original.

Cancer fear over plans for £50m waste plant

Paul Kelbie, The Guardian
A plan to develop a waste-to-energy plant in Aberdeenshire has sparked a massive protest campaign over fears it could cause health problems.

More than 4,500 people living in and around Peterhead have signed a petition against the £50million plant which developers Buchan Combined Heat and Power Ltd claim will burn a third of the north-east of Scotland's rubbish and produce enough power for approximately 10,000 homes. Six hundred letters of objection have been submitted against the proposal.

Residents are concerned it will spew a deadly mixture of chemicals over the area, causing increased rates of cancer, heart attacks, clinical depression, autism, asthma and coronary heart disease. Their fears have been fuelled by a retired GP from South Wales, Dick Van Steenis, who claims research into similar plants in other parts of the country has demonstrated an alarming rise in serious illnesses in surrounding communities...
(5 October 2008)

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