Waste Solution For Not-Recycling Houston: One Trash Bin For All Waste.

Laura Spanjian - City of Houston Sustainability DirectorHow do you get a city with a low 14% recycling rate and no enforceable recycling laws to start separating their trash and divert it from landfills?

You don’t…. you bring in some garbage sorting technology and let it do the work. The City of Houston knew it would be tough to educate and motivate their residents to separate their trash so they went out and found companies that process it for them. Spearheading the effort is Laura Spanjian, Houston’s sustainability director. From Fast Co.Exist:

“Spanjian’s dream system combines many of these technologies: It would take everyone’s trash in one bin and send it to a facility that pulls out every piece of recyclable material and separates out food waste. Recyclable commodities would be sold, and food waste would be turned into compost or put in an anaerobic digester to power facilities or trucks. Another portion of the waste would be turned into gasoline.”

Brilliant – put all the trash in one bin and let the specialized machines sort it. Much better than the alternative of sending all of the trash to landfills.

Here are some of the companies Ms. Spanjian found that can divert and reuse/recycle Houston’s trash:

“One company cited by Spanjian, Organic Energy Corporation, offers a one-bin waste sorting solution. A company called BHS operates a material recovery facility in San Jose, California–but it doesn’t deal with food waste. ZeroWaste can take care of that; the company operates anaerobic digesters to deal with food waste in the city. And CRI Catalyst Company–a Houston-based company–offers a technology that turn biomass into gasoline or diesel.”

Not all cities are like San Francisco – which diverts 80% of their trash from landfills. If Ms. Spanjian’s model is successful, other low recycling rate cities can copy and implement a scaled version of her system. Dog wags tail. [Fast Co.Exist]


Submerged Art Installations And Sculptures Made From Our Marine Trash.

Forlane 6 Studio - Posidonia


Scuba artists Mathieu Goussin and Hortense Le Calvez built underwater art sculptures out of marine trash.

Forlane 6 Studio - Martini Effect

Martini Effect

Here is a portion of their artistic statement:

“In response to our time of alarming climate change, the work presents a deliberate immersion of the objects that compose our daily surroundings. The certainty that in a near future, global issues will bring disastrous consequences on the environment creates a disturbing atmosphere. However the mass production rate of artificial material seems unstoppable. It overflows well beyond land frontiers and the seas surface, as it penetrates the depth of a distant and foreign space.”

You can read the full artistic statement on the Forlane 6 Studio website.

[Read more…]


The Majestic Plastic Bag Video: The Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Episode We Almost Missed.

Narrated by Jeremy Irons, “The Majestic Plastic Bag” was created by Heal the Bay in 2010. The video was recirculated when it was attached to California’s AB 298 – a bill to ban plastic bags. Unfortunately the bill failed in the California legislature.

Jeremy Irons’ documentary “Trashed” is now in limited release in the US. [AVAAZ]


Nubagg Gives Plastic Grocery Bags A Second Life. TrashRacs™ Work The Same Way But Are Out Of Sight.

Reuse your plastic grocery bags with Nubagg.Nubagg is a simple solution that lets you put your possibly landfill-bound plastic grocery bags to work as garbage bags. The Nubagg is built out of recycled materials and becomes the trash can in your kitchen by holding the plastic grocery bags. It’s now listed on crowd-source website Indiegogo and a $20 donation will get you a Nubagg. Nubagg is hoping to raise $15,000 by November 22.

TrashRacs™Another solution that reuses your plastic grocery bags for trash is the $14.99 TrashRacs™. TrashRacs™ are great because they not only put your normally thrown-out plastic grocery bags to work as garbage bags but the TrashRac™ adds a lid and will hid your trash out of sight and under your sink. [Inhabitat]


Dear Seattle, The Garbage Strike Is Good News And An Excellent Time To Start Jubbling.

Waste Management strike in SeattleJubbling is the only team I’m rooting for during the Waste Management garbage strike in Seattle. Those affected by the strike, please think about what you purchase and what you throw out and get to know your local transfer station (dump). It’s an easy work around and being forced to cut back on your garbage in these conditions will help you reduce what you throw out in the future. Maybe after the strike, Seattle’s residents will be ready for the same bi-weekly that Portland has

So citizens of Seattle, please look at the bright side because this is your chance to consume less and reduce what you throw out. It’s less about a garbage strike and more about some good Jubbling.


Want To Learn How To Consume Less And Create Less Waste? Live In A Country With No Garbage Service.

Paraguay Waste - Image: Marta Escurra for Infosurhoy.comIn Western countries, trash service and waste disposal is easy to take for granted. Living in a country without government managed garbage pickup or septic systems that can handle toilet paper, forces people to develop MacGyver type solutions to manage their waste. Good posted an article by Megan Wood, “How Living in Paraguay Taught Me to Get Creative With My Trash,” on her experience conscientiously disposing of her personal trash. Ms. Wood dealt with her refuse by burning (toilet paper), reusing (wine bottles) and consuming less (no more Pringles) based on her situation. It’s a great article and her trash-reducing solutions and efforts to purchase items that are easier to dispose of are ones that can be applied in any country. [Good]