Trash Trip

Exploring waste, from coast to coast.
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    Happy St. Plastics Day!

    Posted By on March 19, 2010

    The DCMS Eco-School Club 2010

    The DCMS Eco-School Club 2010

    On St. Patrick’s Day, I went to celebrate with the Deep Creek Middle School kids from the Eco-School Club (2010). There, I met seven seventh graders working on projects that are eco-minded. During my visit, they gave me the pleasure of sharing their work and their points of view.

    First, they all wore smart-looking t-shirts, with St. Patty’s green colors… well, it may have more to do with eco-green, but it just happened to suit the occasion on that day. On the front of their t-shirts was the phrase, “DCMS can be GREEN if we work as a TEAM“; on the back, it gets even better:

    Too Much Garbage
    Too Much Plastic
    Too Much Aluminim
    Too Much Paper

    Help us with our recycling project.

    They take time out of their lunch break, every Wednesday, to work as a team. I was shown the recycling bins behind their classrooms; then they talked about how people in the community are starting to contribute their home-based cans and bottles. Each item placed in their bins brings back money to the kids at DCMS, while earning that extra value of excitement and community pride!

    They also told me about the upcoming “Green Flag” competition, an honor granted through the Eco-School Project from the Foundation for Environmental Education. The students tested various ideas and decided on using trash separation and recycling as the core of their project. The results are yet-to-be-decided and I know where my vote would go.

    The kids have already learned a lot and it showed. They know that it’s not as simple as putting out labeled trash bins for paper, metal, and plastic; then again, they also know that it can be as easy as that – but only if everyone does their part. It is the small efforts by each individual that makes a bigger difference for the whole group. These kids are doing the hard work, by putting together a system and “monitoring” it – which includes getting their hands into it. Nothing good comes easy and this is no exception. Hopefully, their peers and parents will see this and make that small change of support.

    Here’s to the Eco-School Club at the Deep Creek Middle School in Deep Creek, Eleuthera, The Bahamas:

    Hershal Knowles
    Moesha Leary
    Brittany Gibson
    Treshae Clarke
    Janique Newbold
    Jovanna Sands
    Nickeva Griffin

    9th grader, Glenroy Miller, with Principal Joanna Paul

    9th grader, Glenroy Miller, with Principal Joanna Paul

    Later, I interviewed one of the ninth-graders, Glenroy Miller. He told me about their upcoming “guerilla art” campaign, which they plan on placing at street corners; to raise awareness about waste and recycling. By taking waste and making it into art, they want people to not only see trash but to see it in a different way.

    As Steve Trash, the “Rockin’ Eco-Hero” likes to say, “You can’t do everything to protect our environment… but you can do something.”

    So, here’s to doing something – today, tomorrow, the next day, and here on out!

    West Coast Wedding Plans – West Indies Travel Updates

    Posted By on January 13, 2010

    Wedding Cans

    www.weddingcans.com

    It has been weeks since my last update, and a lot has happened! Today, while reading the news, I came across this cute article about a Spokane, WA couple raising funds for their wedding, in a creative and recyclable way – check them out on their website www.weddingcans.com

    Currently, I’m on the Caribbean island of St. Martin (French side) with plans to go to the Dutch side this afternoon, to meet with some friends of the Pride Foundation and possibly a tour of the local landfill.

    To date, Norton Smith (from Whole Systems and Project Kaisei), Johnston Melbostad (of Sausalito), and I have made it to St. Thomas, St.John, Anguilla, and now St. Martin/Sint Maarten. We will continue south, as far as we can go, before returning to St. Thomas by the first week in February. There, we will change crew and continue to the Bahamas and I will be “deposited” on Nassau, to visit distant relatives there.

    I have 75 interviews to date and more yet to come! As always, I am still working on my podcast (that is, collecting interviews, but not yet editing them into a podcast). The process of traveling, interviewing, and seeking new contacts is a full time effort! Which brings me to raise the topic – if you have any contacts in the Caribbean or Bahamas, relating to waste management or environmental efforts, please send them my way!

    There are many stories to share, from St. Thomas to St. Martin, as well as pictures and videos, so stay tuned for those to be posted – I need an assistant!

    Invictus – Plasticus

    Posted By on December 23, 2009

    Invictus - The Movie

    I went to see the movie Invictus last night and enjoyed a particular scene in the movie… the one where they are in a meeting, discussing a per-bag fee on plastic bags, to reduce their impact on the environment in South Africa. Classic!!

    The common plastic bag is “affectionately” known in South Africa as the “national flower,” because it “grows” everywhere you look. I like this quote, from a 2003 BBC online article on the topic:

    “We want to get rid of plastic bag waste completely. We are hoping to walk around in our streets in a year’s time and see far less waste.”

    A plastic-bag tax was established in South Africa, in 2003.

    So, thank you Hollywood – for showcasing a social problem in a visually emblematic fashion, which I hope will be registered by many, worldwide.

    Yellow Pages – Opt Out

    Posted By on December 21, 2009

    Yellow Pages Opt Out

    Yellow Pages Opt Out

    If you were ever wondering, “How can I stop the companies from sending me the Yellow Pages?” here is the answer (well, a possible avenue to use):

    www.yellowpagesoptout.com

    So, sign up today and free yourself from the 5+ pounds of annual paper deluge.

    Rockin’ Eco Hero!

    Posted By on December 19, 2009

    Steve Trash - Rockin' Eco Hero

    Steve Trash - Rockin' Eco Hero

    Well, it took months (maybe weeks, actually) to align the stars, planets, and moon, so that we could successfully hold a phone interview… today! Steve Trash is his stage name, and eco-education is his game.

    We enjoyed a lovely 30-minute interview, while Steve talked from his home in Alabama, and shared his stories from his career in magic and eco-education through the decades. He has a free download to enjoy, for learning or teaching some fun magic tricks, with an ecological twist, “The Magic of Ecology

    You can also follow him on Twitter or Facebook:

    Check out his website at www.stevetrash.com and don’t forget to see if you, or your kids, might enjoy the “Green Magic Set.”

    USA, EPA, FB, YouTube, $$$, & YOU

    Posted By on December 16, 2009

    EPA Border 2012 on Facebook

    EPA Border 2012 on Facebook

    I just finished a phone interview with Ellie Kanipe, from the EPA, during which she mentioned some interesting things about EPA’s online presence.

    First, she works with the Border 2012 program, aka “US-Mexico Border Waste Forum / Foro de Residuos de la frontera de México-US” and they have a Facebook page!

    Second, they have a video contest – right NOW – for you (and everyone else online) to enter and win… MONEY. Here is the scoop, on the press release (hot off the press today):

    EPA Hosts Video Competition to Promote ‘Three Rs’ of Consumer Waste

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sponsoring a video contest that challenges filmmakers to produce short, creative videos that highlight the “Three Rs” of individual consumption: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The agency is accepting submissions for the contest, called “Our Planet, Our Stuff, Our Choice,” through Feb. 16.

    Entries should be either 30 or 60 seconds in length. The video should creatively promote steps individuals and organizations can take to minimize negative environmental impacts within their communities on the following topics:

    Reducing and reusing
    Recycling
    Composting
    Consumption and its effect on environmental footprint

    The winning submissions will be announced in April 2010 in time for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Awards will be given to the top three videos in the following amounts, as well as a special “Student Winner” category exclusively for submissions by persons 13 to 18 years old at the time of entry.

    1st Place – $2,500
    2nd Place – $1,500
    3rd Place – $1,000
    2 Student Winners (13 to 18 years old) – $500 each

    More information on the contest:
    http://www.epa.gov/waste/wycd/video.htm

    Oh, to be 13 – 18 years old again…

    So, get your game on and make a video – after becoming a fan of the EPA Border 2012 Facebook page!

    Where Forgotten Things Go

    Posted By on December 6, 2009

    As I comb through my pictures and videos, collected since late October, I found this YouTube clip that nicely sums up waste management in America… albeit from Canada and the DailyWebTV channel!

    They had another nice clip about the “Litterless Lunch

    If you have any YouTube clips you think I should share, send me a note!

    Plastic, plastic everywhere… not a drop to drink

    Posted By on November 11, 2009

    So, I’ve been offline for a while, again. I’m still managing ways to balance my time between gathering info, sharing info, and enjoying my travels. Lately, I’ve been enjoying my travels while gathering info. The sharing part has taken a back seat – just a little!

    One of the cool things I came across, while culling the internet for goodies, was this video. It illustrates, via killer computer simulation, water bottle recycling effectiveness… well, I’ll let the video help you determine what level of effectiveness is (or isn’t) achieved.

    Be sure to have your speakers turned on…

    Also, there’s a new blog to check out… in particular, the post on “Three Trashy Women.” I should mention, my quotable quote was a surprise but we’ve all heard the expression before – now you get to read how I used it!

    www.fakeplasticfish.com

    Beth, the author of this blog, was at a recent presentation by the Plasitki Expedition. We swapped info and now we’re swapping blogs! Here’s to the world of viral news… 🙂

    The Plastiki Expedition, part of Adventure Ecology, is building a catamaran from srPET (structurally reinforced polyethylene terephthalate) and other plastics. Through a series of processes, they are essentially making a type of “fiberglass” material, as well as un-processed PET bottles… you know, you’re classic, 2-liter bottle.

    In short, what I’ve come to find in my journey (as early as my first interview in Fairbanks, AK) is that plastic is a long-term problem, requiring a significant shift in how we view and use it. It’s a non-disposable product being used in disposable ways. This cannot last indefinitely; otherwise, we’ll be swimming in plastic bottles, plastic wrap, and plastic packaging.

    Here’s a glimpse at a possible future-view of plastics, looking back at what we’re doing today. Be sure to have your speakers on and your sense of humor activated.

    UZITAGN, baby!

    Posted By on October 25, 2009

    UZITAGN, baby!

    UZITAGN, baby!

    It’s the weekend, after two fruitful days of interviewing in the San Francisco bay area. In summary, it included: five interviewees, four locations, three interviewers, two cameras, and one digital audio recorder. Lots of smiles. Pictures, videos, and maps from the past two days are being posted, as I type.

    Joe Garbarino, a man with a mission, operates the Marin Sanitary Services out of San Rafael. His license plate says it all – “UZITAGN” – for those who don’t speak license-plate, it reads “Use it Again” (baby!) I like adding the “Baby!” part myself, but that wouldn’t fit on a US-sized plate.

    There will be videos available for viewing, on the TrashTrip YouTube channel, but wait until Sunday, to check them all out online.

    After Joe, we headed south to San Jose State University, to meet up with Heidi Sanborn of the California Product Stewardship Program and Bruce Olszewski of San Jose State University. Be sure to check out their website for information you can use in your area – even if you’re not in California! Like any problem, the real solution to waste is to deal with it at the source – and the producers are a good place to start!

    Ari Derfel and Tom Padia would agree, that nipping things in the bud is better than playing catch-up at the landfill. Ari’s blog illustrates what one person can do, over the course of one year, collecting his own trash (excluding the stinky food waste); while Tom works on getting county-wide efforts in place, with Stop Waste, to divert as much waste from the landfills. As they both said, “everything” should be removed from the waste stream. . . because, in nature, nothing is wasted – and that’s about as efficient as it gets!

    See what happened to Ari’s one-year-collection of trash, as it was transformed into art, “Finding Away,” by Kuros Zahedi of Bellingham, WA.

    No Impact Experiment – Starting on Oct 18th – Yes, I’m a Day Late

    Posted By on October 20, 2009

    No Impact Project - Starts October 18, 2009!

    No Impact Project - Starts October 18, 2009!

    I got wind of this today – No Impact Project – thanks again to Lisa Wood, of San Diego! A fascinating story and project which you can try out for yourself. I want to do this in the future, no particular time frame either, when I am not roaming the earth. I do my best but it is nothing compared to what this family has achieved!

    It really is the simple stuff that we enjoy the most – yet we give it so little of our attention.

    They have an interesting website with a how-to manual for helping seed some ideas for ways to participate in your own no-impact home project.

    So, try a change of pace and give this a go – be it this week, or any other week (or weeks) of the year (and years) ahead!