Recology

Recology Community Gardens Give Back

Posted in Community, Composting, Diversion, Locally grown food by ErinAtRecology on September 23, 2014

Recology Community Garden As employee owners, we aim to serve the communities in which we work and live by giving back with more than just our excellent services. Employees at our organics facilities fight hunger locally by maintaining community gardens at many of our organics facilities, including Jepson Prairie Organics, Recology Grover, Nature’s Needs and Recology Northwest Greenlands in McMinnville and Aumsville, Oregon. The wide variety of crops cultivated, from squash and potatoes to eggs and okra, are all donated to local nonprofit organizations, such as food banks and senior centers.

The community gardens use Recology compost as amendment to grow organic veggies and fruit; the same compost that is made from food scraps and yard trimmings, collected from residents and businesses in the areas we serve. This year, our dedicated Recologists grew over 16,900 pounds of produce, with further harvesting expected in the next few weeks!

Recology Community Garden Recology Community Garden Recology Community Garden  Recology Community Garden

Sorting Out the Facts

Posted in Community, Diversion, Recycling, Services by ErinAtRecology on August 26, 2014

SF Apartment, August 2014
by Robert Reed
(View the original article here)

Making sure your tenants recycle and compost can seem overwhelming, but the benefits—to the planet and to your pocket—are well worth the effort.

Trash is not a glamorous subject. In fact, most of us do not give much thought to our discards. But since we literally depend on a healthy environment—clean air and water, and healthy soils that produce organic fruits and vegetables—for our very existence, it is important to learn new information about the benefits of recycling.

As San Franciscans, we have much more control over where our discards go than people in other cities do. When we toss something in a recycling, compost or trash bin, we decide whether individual items will get made into new products, become compost that is applied to local farms, or be transported to and buried in a landfill. We do not always remember that we have this power, but we do. When we learn that the typical American produces 4.5 pounds of garbage a day—about one ton of discards per year—we begin to understand the scope of this issue and its effect on the environment.

We recycle because we know recycling helps protect our planet. Recycling saves water, energy and other resources like trees, natural gas and oil. Recycling also avoids what environmentalists call “upstream impacts,” such as diesel emissions from heavy equipment used to mine virgin materials.

And here’s an economic bonus: recycling creates 10 times more jobs than landfilling or incineration. Across the nation and the world, many communities are waking up to the fact that recycling is a powerful job creator. If every city in America recycled 75% of its waste, we could create 1.5 million new, permanent, local jobs, according to a report called “Recycling Works!” produced by a coalition of environmental and labor groups. In California alone, if all cities recycled 75%, we could create 120,000 new jobs, according to a new study from the Natural Resource Defense Council. In many cases, these jobs would include health care and a pension.

In San Francisco, we created 200 new jobs in 10 years by increasing recycling. Many of these jobs are at Recycle Central, the large plant Recology operates on Pier 96 to sort blue bin materials, including bottles, cans and paper. Before we opened Recycle Central, many of these workers did not have jobs or had minimum-wage jobs. Now they earn $20 an hour.

Composting Is Key
In addition to supporting green jobs, recycling helps San Francisco make further progress toward achieving key environmental goals set by the city. The most significant goal, the one that gives San Francisco the opportunity to be a true environmental leader, is the goal to achieve zero waste by 2020. Zero waste means sending next to nothing to landfills. That is an ambitious goal. It may also be the most important environmental goal our city could have set.

Composting, for example, saves tremendous amounts of water. That’s because compost, by weight, is 50% humus, also known as nature’s sponge. Microorganisms in compost break the yard and food waste down into smaller and smaller pieces. When the microbes have done their jobs and the pieces can’t get any smaller, we have humus. It is carbon-based and both attracts and retains water.

Agronomists report that if we can increase the amount of organic matter on farmland by 1% by adding compost, we can save 16,000 to 18,000 gallons of water per year. There are 45 million people in California. Image how much water we could save if everyone composted their food scraps, plant cuttings and food-soiled paper like we do in San Francisco. This should be a key consideration and motivation, given the seriousness of the California drought.
Recology began collecting food scraps for composting in 1996. The rest of the garbage collection and recycling industry thought we were nuts. Now, hundreds of cities and more than 1,000 universities have replicated the program. And many more want to do the same.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that most of these cities do not have a place to take their food scraps for composting. That’s because U.S. cities and businesses have not built nearly enough composting facilities. San Francisco is fortunate in this regard. Recology established three compost facilities capable of taking food scraps and plant cuttings collected in the city. One is outside Vacaville, another is near Modesto and a third is at Pacheco Pass near Gilroy.

Where could our country build more compost facilities? One answer is: on top of landfills. Then, instead of putting materials inside landfills, we could move food scraps, plant cuttings and food-soiled paper to compost sites.

Farmers love compost because high-quality compost contains billions of microorganisms, tiny life forms too small to see with the human eye. This is important because the microbes break down the nutrients in compost into small pieces, so small that they can be picked up by plants’ roots. Agronomists call the work microbes do “microbial action.”

Recology operates its compost facilities as microbe farms. There are 11 stages to our composting process. Fundamentally, it works like this: transport trucks bring food scraps and plants collected in small trucks from all properties in San Francisco to the facilities. In 60 days, Recology transforms this feedstock into nutrient-rich compost that is applied to more than 300 local farms, orchards and vineyards.

For 13 years, Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farm has applied compost made from food scraps collected in San Francisco. Walker describes the microbial action achieved by applying compost to his farm as “stoking a fire” in the soil. We might think of it as new life working in the soil.

Farmers often have agronomists test the topsoil on their farms to find out what they need to put back to balance their soils. With this knowledge, Recology creates custom blends of compost for individual farms. We do this on blending pads at our compost facilities. We mix in soil amendments such as gypsum, lime, sandy loam, minerals and rice hulls. Using tractors called loaders we top load the finished compost into specialized transport trucks that deliver it to area farms. Farmers love this because the compost arrives ready to be applied.

Not only does compost give farmers a viable alternative to using synthetic or chemical fertilizers, compost helps farms achieve higher yields. Such are the findings of side-by-side field trials by agricultural organizations, including the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, the oldest agricultural institute in the United States.

Here is another great reason to compost: many local vineyards use compost to grow cover crops that pull carbon out of the air and sequester carbon in topsoil. These cover crops, such as mustard, fix carbon and nitrogen naturally in the soil. Paul Hepperly, professor emeritus at the Rodale Institute and a Fulbright scholar, believes that if every community followed this example we could offset more than 20% of carbon emissions. That estimate is the subject of much interest and further study.

Recology also brings compost back to San Francisco for residents to use in gardens and on outdoor plants. The annual Compost Giveaway, which we host each spring, is a bring-your-own-bucket event where we set up and staff four giveaway locations throughout the city. Residents bring empty five-gallon buckets and we fill them with a gourmet planting mix. Recology also provides compost to urban farms and community gardens in San Francisco through efforts coordinated by the Parks and Recreation Department.

Recycling Big and Small
We also recycle tremendous amounts of construction and demolition debris in San Francisco. Such debris comes from large construction and demolition projects, and from small contractors and individuals who bring materials to the transfer station at 501 Tunnel Ave. Recology maintains and staffs special recycling facilities and sorting lines at the transfer station for this purpose.

Large or bulky items are collected and recycled through the RecycleMyJunk program. Residents can also recycle textiles, such as old clothes, through this program—a new and popular service. Go to RecycleMyJunk.com for details. Working at the city’s direction, Recology has assigned several trucks and crews specifically to collect illegal dumping. This new program is working well, and our city is visibly cleaner.

Finally, while trash may not be a glamorous subject, it can be made into beautiful and unique art works. Recology’s Artist-in-Residence program continues to gain in popularity and renown. Last year, the program hosted a major exhibition at SFO. Pieces can be seen throughout the city in building entrances and other locations, including a three-acre sculpture garden at the transfer station. To learn about current and upcoming exhibitions go to Recologysf.com/AIR.

Increasing Recycling and Managing Collection Costs
In July 2013, the San Francisco Rate Board approved a rate order that changed the price structure for apartment buildings to encourage more recycling and composting. In August 2013, Recology, San Francisco’s recycling company, sent correspondence to apartment building owners and managers explaining the new structure and offering to help apartment buildings increase recycling and compost collection services and reduce disposal. By making these changes, apartment building owners and managers can help protect the environment and help manage their collection service costs.

In November 2013, Recology wrote, and SF Apartment Magazine published, a lengthy article titled, “Waste Not, Want Not” explaining the new rate structure. As a brief update and reminder, collection service charges now apply to all three collection bins: recycling, composting and trash. Importantly, the monthly rate charged to apartment buildings is discounted up to a maximum of 75% based on the building’s overall recycling rate. The rate board instituted this structure in support of the city’s goal of achieving zero waste by 2020.

To give apartment buildings time to increase recycling and composting and reduce disposal, the city instituted temporary caps limiting increases in monthly bills. Many buildings took advantage of this window to adjust their complement of bins and the frequency of collection service.

Under the Rate Order, the monthly service charge at all properties in San Francisco included a cost-of-living adjustment of 2.3%, effective July 1, 2014. Some buildings may see a larger increase due to either the elimination or reduction in their cap credit. These affected buildings received a personalized letter informing them of their new rates.

Apartment building owners and managers are encouraged to use the online apartment rate calculator Recology maintains at sfzerowasterates.com to see how potential changes in bin types, sizes and frequency of collection would affect your building’s monthly rate. You can also call us at 415-330-1300 and one of our apartment-house specialists will be glad to talk with you over the phone or set an appointment for a personal rate and service evaluation during the workshops we host specifically for apartment building customers.

Many apartment buildings are cleaning up and painting their trash rooms. Some buildings are improving lighting in recycling and compost bin locations. These steps make recycling areas more pleasant places, which helps encourage tenants to place their discards in the correct bins.

Additionally, Recology hosts a “property managers’ lounge” on its site, which provides owners and managers with numerous resources to encourage tenants to recycle and compost. The page is posted at recologysf.com/index.php/property-managers-lounge.

Reducing Food Waste from the Source

Posted in Community, Composting, Diversion, Recology, Resource Recovery by ErinAtRecology on May 28, 2014

We first turned our attention to food waste in 1996 when Recology implemented a food scraps collection program in San Francisco. Still in use today, the green bin program ensures that organic material, such as food scraps and yard trimmings, do not end up in landfills. Many other Recology companies and cities have implemented similar programs, including San Mateo County and San Bruno. You can learn more about the affects of landfilling organics here: US Composting Council – Keeping Organics out of Landfills.

Although we think it’s important to recycle food scraps when possible, we think it’s just as important to consider ways to reduce food waste altogether.

Americans throw away 40% of their food, according to The National Resources Defense Council.

Recology OrganicsThe environmental impact of wasted food is fairly large. Imagine the amount of energy, oil, and water is used to produce and transport food across the United States, from farms to cities, and from cities to rural areas.

By preventing food from even entering a bin, we significantly reduce financial and environmental impacts. Here are a few small, but impactful tips for reducing your food waste.

  • Plan your meals, buy what you need – There’s a fine line between purchasing enough food and buying too much. Planning your meals for the week will help you stick to a plan, meaning you’re less likely to toss expired food.
  • Learn more about expiration dates – Foods that are edible after the marked expiration date is surprising. The use-by dates don’t always indicate spoiled food, but then again it’s good to know which foods are more sensitive to these dates than others.
  • Freeze unused food – Utilize your freezer. If you’re unable to finish the pot pie you made last night, freeze portions for quick lunches and dinners.
  • Take your lunch or share your leftovers– Using leftovers for meals at work is the best way to use excess food. Pack leftovers in your kids’ lunch, or share with coworkers, family, or friends if you know you’re not going to finish it.
  • Proper storageLearn how to store fruit and vegetables. It’s important to keep pre-cut and chopped produce in the refrigerator in sealed containers.

Recology Western Oregon Partners with Local Veteran to Restore and Donate Thousands of Bicycles in Yamhill County

Three years ago, Dean Williams, a retired Vietnam Veteran from Amity, OR, noticed a few perfectly good bikes on a pile of scrap metal at a nearby waste facility. At the time, his granddaughter’s bike was recently stolen, so he went in to ask about purchasing one.

Recology Western OregonFrom that day on, Dean has been dedicated to refurbishing and donating bikes to local schools, probation departments, the Yamhill County Action Partnership (YCAP), police departments, church groups, and other local community organizations. Many of the donated bikes are the primary mode of transportation for recipients, members of the community who do not have access to a vehicle use the bikes to commute to work or school.

By early 2014, Dean’s project had become so successful, he’d run into a problem: his home’s driveway was full of salvaged parts, and he needed more tools and resources to continue his project.

Recology Western Oregon (RWO) decided to help. Dean’s project embraces RWO’s mission to achieve “Waste Zero” by finding a new life for previously discarded materials. It also provides a sustainable form of transportation for local children and families in need.

To help Dean’s project grow, RWO established a new Bike Shop at the RWO Valley Recovery Zone in McMinnville, OR. Dean has been provided with tools, storage space, and access to discarded bike parts at the facility. Even the shop’s benches and tables carry a message of sustainability – Dean salvaged lumber from RWO wood piles to build the work benches.

The shop is also serves as an education center where members of the community can learn basic bike maintenance and repair. Dean and RWO hope to educate the public on the importance of reuse and recycle, ensuring fewer resources end up in the scrap pile.

Dean has repaired and donated over 1,600 bikes as of May 2014, and with the help of RWO, his mission continues to expand. A box of bikes is currently being prepared for shipment to Africa, and Dean also plans to expand his collection efforts to other Recology operations along the Oregon Coast and Washington State.

Dean’s story began as one person’s passion to turn trash into treasure; today, it’s become a model reuse and recycle program. If you’d like more information or would like to get involved in the project, please stop by the “Bike Shop” at RWO’s Valley Recovery Zone, or send an email to rwoinfo@recology.com.

RWOBikeShop

 

 

 

Help California Save Water – Compost

Posted in Community, Composting, Diversion, Recology, Resource Recovery, Waste Reduction, WASTE ZERO by ErinAtRecology on May 6, 2014

In honor of International Compost Awareness Week (May 5 – 11), an initiative created by the US Composting Council, we’re sharing our thoughts on this years focus: “Compost: The Solution to Sustainable Soil and Water.”

The traditional reasons to participate in a curbside compost program are to keep materials out of landfills and to return nutrients, in the form of compost, to local farms and vineyards. Those nutrients give farmers a viable alternative to using synthetic fertilizers and help farmers grow healthy food that comes back to the city to support our good health.

But there is a third great reason to compost: It helps California, our home state, save water – tremendous amounts of water.

Compost is 50 percent humus by weight. Humus is organic matter that helps soil retain moisture. Humus is a form of carbon; it both attracts and holds water. When we apply compost to an orchard, farm, or vineyard, we increase the amount of humus in the farm’s soil, and thereby increase the capacity of the soil to withstand drought conditions.

Recology CompostFarmers like to apply compost because doing so helps their soil and their crops get the full benefit of any rain or irrigation. This is particularly important for orchards, which require a lot of irrigation.

Here is a key statistic: If we increase organic matter by one percent on one acre of land by adding compost and by farming environmentally, we can save 16,500 gallons of water per year. Imagine how much water we could save if every city in California participated in a compost collection programs, sending a lot more compost to local farms.

Knowing that composting is a highly effective way to help California save water, many Recology employee-owners have an increased motive to participate in Recology’s green-bin programs. We are doing a good job of composting scraps and plant cuttings in many areas like San Francisco, but we can do much better. What can an individual do on a daily basis to help? Place all food scraps and plant cuttings in the green bin for curbside collection. Also, we can place all food-soiled paper, things like used paper napkins and towels, in the green bin (soiled paper has short fibers – microorganisms in compost like short paper fibers). Soiled paper in a kitchen compost pail or curbside compost bin will also absorb moisture, which will help control odor.

Recology set the trend when we started an urban compost collection program in San Francisco in 1996 to reduce landfill disposal and turn food scraps into compost. Now we can help our state save great amounts of water by extending our good green habit and composting all of our scraps, plant cuttings, and soiled paper.

Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Exhibitions: Work by Matthew Gottschalk, Jamil Hellu and Claire Lynch

Posted in Community, Diversion, Events, Resource Recovery, San Francisco by art at the dump on May 2, 2014

The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco will host an exhibition and reception for current artists-in-residence Matthew Gottschalk, Jamil Hellu, and student artist Claire Lynch on Friday, May 23, from 5-9pm and Saturday, May 24, from 1-3pm. Additional viewing hours will be held on Tuesday, May 27, from 5-7pm, followed by a gallery walk-through with the artists at 7pm. This exhibition will be the culmination of four months of work by the artists who have scavenged materials from the dump to make art and promote recycling and reuse.

Matthew Gottschalk: From the Belly of the Whale
Matthew Gottschalk has looked to explorers such as Jacques Cousteau and Carl Sagan for inspiration while on his own epic adventure at the dump. Gottschalk, who in the past has used marionette puppets as protagonists in installations that include sculpture and video components, has crafted a Carl Sagan puppet to explore the cosmos of the Recology facility. Through the use of touchstones of popular culture—and an ever-engaging marionette—Gottschalk brings playfulness to deeper questions of what it means to be human.

Work alludes to Joseph Campbell’s concepts of the “hero’s journey” and universal myths, as well as to the primal human need to bring order and meaning to the world around us through such stories. Gottschalk also references the dangers and mysteries of space and oceanographic exploration; his series of harpoons made from materials including baseball bats and fireplace pokers suggest conquest and being “in the belly of the whale”—both literally and metaphorically—connecting to his own process of hunting for materials in the Public Disposal and Recycling Area. Much like the real Carl Sagan’s “Golden Record,” a collection of audio recordings and photographs representing aspects of life on earth sent into space with the hope that it might one day be found, Gottschalk’s marionette Carl Sagan has collected the evidence of life on earth through its detritus so that we may better know ourselves. Gottschalk will also create a soundtrack for the journey played on revived and newly created musical instruments.

Gottschalk holds an MFA from Mills College, a BA in studio art from the University of California at Davis, and has studied at Yale. He was the recipient of a fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, and he has exhibited his artwork and videos in Nevada City, California; Stuttgart and Kassel, Germany; Gaza, Palestine; and Rijeka, Croatia.


Jamil Hellu: Portraits
The images photographer Jamil Hellu has made during his Recology residency explore a range of ideas related to identity and portraiture. Examining how we create and negotiate our identities throughout our lives, Hellu looks at our memories via objects, and contemplates the pivotal influences that shape who we are. The work questions the shifting nature of identity and the many roles we play in our personal and professional lives. In some cases, Hellu places the things he has photographed alongside their images and brings poignancy to mundane yet once cherished items. He also replicates scenes in found photographs that are simultaneously humorous and touching, pointing to commonalities between seemingly different people.

Work also explores identity in crisis and what it means to dispose of key markers of identity in a place like the public dump. If throwing away things, especially photographs, is a metaphor for the loss of individual identity, then the dump pile, becomes a homogenous monument to general human experience. Illustrating this is Hellu’s shredded pile of one-hundred snapshots of people at the Golden Gate Bridge—both a permanent erasure of these specific memories and an evocation of the universal significance this destination holds in people’s lives. Other photographs expand on this Bay Area and California love, as well as a love of photography itself.

Born in Brazil, Hellu received an MFA from Stanford University and a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has been a recipient of a Graduate Student Fellowship from the Headlands Center for the Arts and received a residency at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. His recent series of photographs, Guardians of the Golden Gate, which capture friends in superhero guises of their own choosing in locations around the Bay Area, has been the subject of national media coverage.

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Claire Lynch: Befriending Demons
In a series of large-scale, abstract, sculptural bird forms, Claire Lynch explores difficult human emotions and how we negotiate and deal with these feelings. Of particular interest to Lynch are feelings such as tension, anger, or discomfort—emotions universally experienced, yet often condemned as socially unacceptable to express. Lynch explores the role these emotions have in shaping who we are, and how sometimes the things that are the most difficult to navigate provide space for the greatest growth. Four sculptures each address different responses to these emotions and represent concealment, routine, balance, and embrace. Together they point to the need to acknowledge and understand the place these feelings have in our lives.

Claire Lynch will receive her BA in studio art from Stanford University this June. She has taught art at the American Overseas School of Rome Summer Program in Italy, and at the Potomac School Summer Program in McLean, Virginia. While a student at Stanford, Lynch has worked as an assistant at the Stanford University Art Gallery, and as a fabricator.


About the Recology Artist in Residence Program

Since 1990, the Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco has encouraged the conservation of natural resources while instilling a greater appreciation for art and the environment in children and adults. This one-of-a-kind program enables artists to work in studio space on site for four months, use materials recovered from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area, and speak to students and the general public about reuse and their residency experiences. Over one-hundred professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. Applications are accepted annually in August.

When:
Reception- Friday, May 23, 2014, 5-9pm
Reception-Saturday, May 24, 2014, 1-3pm
Additional viewing hours-Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 5-7pm with gallery walk-through with artists at 7pm

Where:
Art Studio located at 503 Tunnel Ave. and Environmental Learning Center Gallery at 401 Tunnel Ave., San Francisco, CA

Admission is free and open to the public, all ages welcome, wheelchair accessible. http://www.recologysf.com/AIR

SF Residents Can Recycle Old Clothes, Linens, and Other Textiles

Posted in Diversion, Resource Recovery, San Francisco, Waste Reduction, WASTE ZERO by ErinAtRecology on April 30, 2014

Recology Textile RecyclingUnwanted or worn out clothes and other textiles, such as fabrics woven from thread or yarn, can be recycled through Recology’s RecycleMyJunk program. SF Residents can call (415) 330-1300 to schedule a pickup or email us through the “contact us” form on our website, RecycleMyJunk.com.

Our textile recycling program also accepts backpacks, purses, belts, and shoes. Recology will take all textiles, even if torn or ripped, as long as they are dry. When placing textiles by the curb for your scheduled pickup, please bundle them with string or place them in a box or bag clearly labeled “Textiles.”

RecycleMyJunk is an appointment-based program and part of the collection services we provide in San Francisco under City oversight. To view program rules go to RecycleMyJunk.com. Residential customers can now include boxes and bundles of textiles without them counting toward the per-collection item limit. Residential customers can also request “Textile Only” collections at no additional charge.

Recology donates textiles collected through the RecycleMyJunk program to St. Vincent de Paul Society, who sorts and re-purposes the materials.

13 Compelling Reasons to Compost

Posted in Community, Composting, Diversion, Recology, Recycling, Resource Recovery, Waste Reduction, WASTE ZERO by ErinAtRecology on April 7, 2014

Recology compost programs are designed to return nutrients back to our soils, and essentially back to our dining tables. Composting turns food scraps and yard trimmings into useful materials; the best and highest use of natural resources. 
Recology Compost

  1. Compost is a viable alternative to chemical fertilizers because it adds many nutrients to soil and doesn’t pollute groundwater, wells, or waterways.
  2. Composting keeps organic waste out of landfills, which supports more efficient land use and reduces methane gas emissions, a greenhouse gas.
  3. Compost sequesters carbon deep in the soil, which helps maintain essential nutrients in soil. This is especially useful when compost is used to grow cover crops, like mustard or beans.
  4. Compost promotes healthy microbial activity in soil, which makes micronutrients available to plant roots and discourages soil diseases.
  5. Compost improves soil structure, thereby protecting topsoil from erosion.
  6. Soils fed with compost retain far more rainwater, conserving our water resources.
  7. Compost helps grow plants and food crops that are rich with nutrients needed to sustain good health.
  8. Composting is easy and fulfilling!
  9. Compost collection programs return nutrients to local farms and support green jobs.
  10. Farms that utilize compost achieve higher yields than conventional farming that uses nitrogen fertilizers. This means farms produce more organic fruits and vegetables to support your good health.
  11. Composting reverses the course of waste from decay to new growth, turning coffee grounds, cantaloupe skins, and chicken bones into sweet carrots, juicy tomatoes, and fine wines.
  12. Composting helps our cities get closer to achieving zero waste.
  13. Composting helps California save tremendous amounts of water.

Turning Municipal Waste into Energy: Recology Runs on Alternative Fuel

Guest blogger, Chris Choate, VP of Sustainability at Recology, leads us through the dynamic world of creating biofuels.

Recology BiodieselRecology is driven to find the social, environmental, and economical solution to power our fleet of vehicles with fuel produced from the residual resources (waste material) from your trash. We’ve spent a lot of time evaluating and researching ways to generate and utilize bio-methane from our landfills and anaerobic digesters to power our trucks.

Our solution has proved to be a good one thus far.  We’ve found a way to integrate biofuels into our fleet fuel sources by transitioning to alternative fuel  equipment and utilizing compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and B20 biodiesel.  

Recology continues to partner with the City of San Francisco in an effort to lead the nation in diverting material from landfills to achieve the highest use of all materials. Over 80% of the material diverted is collected through an integrated system of reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting.  Even with all of these collection processes, over half of the current material going to the landfill is degradable and a good source of biomass material.

Recology is fortunate to have these alternative fuels accessible to us through our collection, recycling, and compost facilities. We not only rely on our recycling efforts to divert and reuse materials, but we rely on the nature of biology to also help our goals of zero waste.

SF Environment created the City’s Zero Waste Plan from our overarching environmental principles that include:

  • Reusing materials at a level that is their next best and highest use
  • Avoiding high-temperature conversion (incineration)
  • Achieving the highest carbon footprint reduction possible
  • Employing local and biological processes that mimic nature

Currently, biological processes are used, managed, and exploited to stabilize thousands of tons of organic material a year through our compost programs.  It is consistent with Recology’s sustainability goals, and the City’s overarching principles, to further utilize natural processes to produce biodiesel from the City’s waste stream.

Upcoming Artist in Residence Program Exhibition at Recology San Francisco

Posted in Community, Diversion, Events, San Francisco, You Should Know... by art at the dump on January 6, 2014

The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco will host an exhibition and reception for current artists-in-residence Yulia Pinkusevich, Stephanie Syjuco, and student artist Brittany Watkins on Friday, January 24, from 5-9pm and Saturday, January 25, from 1-3pm. Additional viewing hours will be held on Tuesday, January 28, from 5-7pm. An artist panel discussion will follow at 7pm at 401 Tunnel Avenue. This exhibition will be the culmination of four months of work by the artists who have scavenged materials from the dump to make art and promote recycling and reuse.


Yulia Pinkusevich: The Glory of a Tool is Seldom Judged by Its Handle

An important part of Yulia Pinkusevich’s practice involves the creation of large-scale monochromic paintings and drawings, often made directly on walls that engage with architecture and play with spatial perception. While at Recology she has continued this practice, but has also “drawn” with the duality of light and shadow, constructing projection boxes that contain objects that cast images on the walls of the studio’s back room. The results are visually complex cityscapes—large darkened outlines of high-rises and other familiar urban forms. While it is obvious this is a city, exactly what city this might be is less clear, as the architecture seems a cross between the futuristic and the familiar. It is no wonder that these forms are a bit enigmatic; they are created using capacitors and heat sinks pulled from common electronic devises—devices we interact with every day, but whose working components are far less familiar.

Pinkusevich examines the role of architecture in our daily lives and how it frames, transects, and obscures the world around us, affecting our spatial perception and cognitive understanding. Her use of components from computers and televisions—technologies that also shape our perception of the world—is an apt metaphor. Her work also addresses broader issues related to global urbanization and labor. The fabrication of electronics and other consumer goods increasingly has societal and environmental consequences when formerly rural areas become sites of rapidly built factories and worker housing. The long-term impact this instant architecture will have is only beginning to be understood. Pinkusevich’s working process also provided a more direct connection to labor. She discovered that there was a specific order to disassembling the electronics and realized that she was actually reversing the process of the people who put these components together. Other sculptural works speak to this more personal view of labor and tie what is built to the anonymous builders, people whose labor—whether used for the construction of an apartment block or a pair of jeans—is increasingly taken for granted along with the resources used to fuel our disposable lifestyles.

Born and raised in the Ukraine, Pinkusevich holds a BFA from Rutgers University and an MFA from Stanford University. She has been the recipient of a Headlands Center for the Arts Graduate Fellowship in Sausalito, a Cite Des Arts International Studio Residency in Paris, and a Helen Wurlitzer Foundation Residency Grant in Taos, New Mexico. She has exhibited primarily in San Francisco, New York and Santa Fe and her work is in the collection of Google, Inc. and the city of Albuquerque.


Stephanie Syjuco: Modern Ruins (Popular Cannibals)

For Modern Ruins (Popular Cannibals), Stephanie Syjuco takes beloved archetypes of modernist furniture and reproduces them dump-style to explore a range of ideas related to production, consumption, class, and economies. Continuing her investigation of copies and counterfeits, her George Nelson tables and Verner Panton lamps speak to how today’s reproductions are generations removed from their furniture forbearers. These iconic objects have been knocked-off or borrowed from so often that many people may think they originated at Ikea or Crate and Barrel. By exploring these forms, questions arise as to the original intent behind the designs and their meaning in today’s world where the clean lines of modern furniture often serve as signifiers of an affluent, idealized lifestyle.

Using what she describes as a “shanty-like” aesthetic, Syjuco’s reproductions are certainly not meant to fool anyone or be functional. Instead, they bring the sleek, modern ideal into collision with the scavenged and cobbled-together through the immediate use of materials in rudimentary constructions. The works speak to the shoddy materials and cheap labor used to produce affordable contemporary modern furniture, and like the remnants of a dying civilization, suggest societal and environmental collapse. Calling on her own memories of the Philippines where International Style buildings stood alongside slums and shanties, Syjuco’s work also references Modernism’s long and complicated relationship to developing countries—how decades ago these new urban spaces adapted and formed their own versions of Modernist architecture which in many cases are now dilapidated signs of the promise of utopian progress.

Syjuco is an assistant professor in Sculpture at the University of California at Berkeley. Her work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. She received an MFA from Stanford University and a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and has exhibited internationally including at venues in Paris, Manila, Berlin, and Bangkok. She is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco.

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Brittany Watkins: The Time Objects Tell
During her residency, Brittany Watkins has collected objects such as window blinds, wire and inner tubes, and has shredded, knotted, woven and bent them to create abstract sculptural works. By dramatically altering their forms, Watkins has liberated these common items from their intended uses and explores their hidden potential. Watkins’ repetitive and time-intensive working process provides intimacy with the materials, and the resulting sculptures speak to connections between the inanimate and the animate. Suggestive of natural or biological forms, her works may also prompt viewers to assign more personal, human qualities to these objects.

For her exhibition, Watkins will present a large-scale sculpture as the centerpiece of an installation that will include other smaller, related works. Designed to be entered, this central piece will enable viewers to step inside, be engulfed by the materials, and have the same sort of personal experience with them that the artist did when making the work. Those that enter will also be confronted with their own physicality within a space that itself references the body. The other small pieces that compose this sculptural ecosystem serve to illustrate the versatility and mutability of the materials. They are grounded, but also loop, drape, and expand out, adapting as required to unseen forces.

Watkins is a graduate student at the California College of the Arts. She received her BFA from Montana State University with an emphasis in sculpture. She has exhibited at the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, the International Sculpture Center Temporary Space in Chicago, and the IEI Austin Gallery in Texas. Her work was published in the October 2011 issue of International Sculpture.


About the Recology Artist in Residence Program

Since 1990, the Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco has encouraged the conservation of natural resources while instilling a greater appreciation for art and the environment in children and adults. This one-of-a-kind program enables artists to work in studio space on site for four months, use materials recovered from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area, and speak to students and the general public about reuse and their residency experiences. Over one-hundred professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. Applications are accepted annually in August.

When:
Reception- Friday, January 24, 2014, 5-9pm
Reception-Saturday, January 25, 2014, 1-3pm
Additional viewing hours-Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 5-7pm
Artist panel discussion- Tuesday, January 28, 7pm

Where: Art Studio located at 503 Tunnel Ave. and Environmental Learning Center Gallery at 401 Tunnel Ave., San Francisco, CA

Admission is free and open to the public, all ages welcome, wheelchair accessible. http://www.recologysf.com/AIR

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