Recology

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

Upcoming Artist in Residence Program Exhibition at Recology San Francisco

Posted in Diversion, Events, San Francisco, You Should Know... by art at the dump on September 5, 2013

The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco will host an exhibition and reception for current artists-in-residence Kristin Cammermeyer and Chad Hasegawa, and visiting artists Claudel Casseus, Romel Jean Pierre, and Racine Polycarpe on Friday, September 20, from 5-9pm and Saturday, September 21, from 1-3pm. Additional viewing hours will be held on Tuesday, September 24, from 5-7pm. An artist panel discussion will follow at 7pm at 401 Tunnel Avenue. This exhibition will be the culmination of work by the artists who have scavenged materials from the dump to make art and promote recycling and reuse.

Kristin Cammermeyer: DOUBLE HOW in & out the Back Room

When first looking at Kristin Cammermeyer ’s large-scale installation in the backroom of the Recology Art Studio, one might not immediately see a connection to her background as a painter. But it soon becomes apparent that she manipulates line, color, and perspective to alter perception, much as a painter does to convey three-dimensionality in 2-D. Cammermeyer uses these effects to create a sense of disorientation, which she likens to the surreal environment of the Public Disposal and Recycling Area, where she scavenged for materials. Viewers can succumb to the manipulation of lights, mirrors, and other objects placed in groupings throughout the space that appear like abstract still-lifes, framed by the lumber that is the infrastructure for the installation. Though carefully composed by the artist, the arrangements speak to the random meeting of materials at the Recology site which Cammermeyer has described as, “the arbitrary, yet seemingly composed moments that can occur at the fringes…instances of incidental formalism that suggest a collective consciousness and elegant design in a seemingly haphazard world.”

Site-specific in nature, Cammermeyer’s installation mirrors the framework and trusses of the building’s architecture which she sees as another found material with which to work. Cammermeyer has placed raw materials at the top of the installation, with the materials becoming more refined as they move down through the piece, drawing connections between the artistic process, the dump, and human digestion, in their shared processing of materials through labor. The constant movement of materials at the Recology facility is mimicked in the life-cycle of the installation, documented in her time-lapse video. The video provides a flattened, framed format through which one can experience the changing work. The precision of her construction and the vision behind it becomes even more apparent in this context as lines, shapes, and objects strategically envelop the video screen. Cammermeyer will also embed small mixed-media pieces within the installation and is working on a series of owl boxes for the sculpture garden.

Chad Hasegawa: Os Pukas

A constant in Chad Hasegawa’s paintings, sculptures, and murals is his iconic grizzly bear. Traditionally symbolic of strength and courage, in Hasegawa’s works the bear’s meaning is expanded to personify a range of qualities. Sometimes self-referential and sometimes representing the artist’s family or friends, Hasegawa’s bears offer the opportunity for anyone to see themselves in his depictions of strength, protectiveness, vulnerability, solitariness, and fierceness. During his residency, Hasegawa’s grizzly bear has explored the terrain of the dump. Paintings, sculpture, and an installation by Hasegawa position the bear as scavenger and survivor trying to make a home amidst the cast-off debris, and speak to the collision of nature and civilization. By positioning the bear at the dump, associations can be made regarding how our trash ultimately impacts the natural environment and the animals who reside there, but Hasegawa’s work speaks more broadly to ideas of the human/animal relationship. His bears inspire a sense of reverence, and suggest a more mystical or unexplainable connection between us and our animal counterparts. Says Hasegawa, “…bears are highly respected in many cultures and are considered to be ancestral spirits. Each of my bear paintings is created with the intent of being a protector; personally for myself and for everyone that may come across my work.”

In a large-scale installation, Hasegawa has crafted a cave from corrugated sheet metal, wood, and other found objects. By calling the work “Os Pukas,” Hasegawa has combined Portuguese and Hawaiian, using the word puka, or hole, to reference both a habitable space and the artist’s Hawaiian roots. Visually connected to shanty towns, such as the favelas of Brazil, the installation is both a bear’s den and a symbol of global struggles to find shelter and security. The work speaks to the fundamental need for habitable spaces, connecting us in the most primal of ways to the animal world. In addition to the installation, paintings, and sculptural works, Hasegawa will also paint a mural outside the Household Hazardous Waste Facility.

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Port-au-Prince to San Francisco: Work by Claudel Casseus, Romel Jean Pierre, and Racine Polycarpe

Beginning in mid-August the Recology Artist in Residence Program will welcome Claudel Casseus, Romel Jean Pierre, and Racine Polycarpe to the San Francisco Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center. The artists live and work in Grand Rue, Port-au-Prince, Haiti and are part of Atis-Rezistans, an artist collective whose members use recycled materials to create assemblage art. Their mini-residency at Recology is sponsored by Project HOPE Art, a local non-profit. This will be the first time artists from outside the Bay Area have participated in Recology’s residency program.

Claudel Casseus
Claudel Casseus was born in 1981 in Grand Rue, Port-au-Prince, a neighborhood with a strong art and creative community. From a young age Casseus made art and in 2008, he joined Atis-Rezistans. In 2009, he participated in the 1st Ghetto Biennial, an international arts festival organized by Atis-Rezistans and British artist/curator Leah Gordon. During the Biennale, Casseus met British artist Bill Drummond, and after the 2010 Haitian earthquake he collaborated with Drummond on Imajine, a book describing his experiences following the disaster. Casseus’s sculptures, informed by Vodou and made from recycled materials, have been included in many exhibitions. This will be Casseus’s first trip outside of Haiti.

“I grew up in a large ghetto in Port-au-Prince, a place that has a lot of trash around. I take advantage of this situation by creating artwork with the same garbage found in the community. I think this is a way to educate people who live in the area, to make people understand that it is not necessary to keep throwing trash in the street. Because with art, any number of things can be created. Definitely, art is a means of communication with everyone, regardless of social differences. Art can help a person to manage the frustration inside him and it enables you to say what you feel is happening in the world, whether positive or negative. Therefore, I think a person who chooses to make art is a person who wants to collaborate with the world.”

Romel Jean Pierre
Growing up in Port-au-Prince, where he was born in 1993, Romel Jean Pierre initially was interested in becoming a politician, but turned his focus to art when he attended the 1st Ghetto Biennale. He joined the youth division of Atis-Rezistans, called Timoun Rezistans, and began creating the video performance/citizen media series, Tele Ghetto Haiti. For the 2nd Ghetto Biennale he collaborated with Bay Area artist and writer Robert Gomez on Dreams/Rèv Ou, a video project in which Haitians speak about their hopes for the future. Romel’s works have been exhibited widely. In 2011 he was a visiting artist at Bates College in Maine, and in April, 2013 he attended the Tribecca Film Festival in New York where he participated in a panel discussion on Inside Out-The People’s Art Project, a documentary film about the French artist JR who worked with Romel in Haiti. Tele Ghetto video works can be seen on Facebook and Youtube. Romel will head the new photography program at the Project HOPE Art Center located at Haiti Communitere, in Port-au-Prince. The Art Center is housed in a converted 20-foot shipping container.

“The Rezistans movement means many things to me, because when I wasn’t part of it, I knew I would spend each day not doing anything and that knowing life would pass me by as I joked around, not going to school and losing all good chances in my life…”

Racine Polycarpe
In 2006 at the age of fifteen, Racine Polycarpe was adopted by his uncle, the well-known artist, Jean Hérard Celeur. He worked as an apprentice at his uncle’s school, the Realm of the Arts and Minds, in Grand Rue, Port-au-Prince, where he learned about contemporary art history, the skills of carving wood and rubber, and how to create sculptural works from found objects. Polycarpe is also a member of Atis-Rezistans, which was founded by his uncle. His work has been exhibited in Haiti at the Institut Francais (2009), the Fet Gede at the National Cemetery (2009), the 1st and 2nd Ghetto Biennales (2009, 2011), and Nouvo Rezistans at the Institut Francais (2011). In 2010 his work was exhibited at the Portman Gallery in London, and at the XISM Etnografiska Museet in Stockholm. This will be his first trip outside of Haiti.

“I make sculpture out of recycled materials such as wood, plastic, metal, rubber, and anything I find. I also make painted sculptures with carved rubber from old tires. The reason I use these materials as my medium is because, in my country, when people are finished using things they just throw them outside. As artists we see value in these things and turn them into art following the history of assemblage art. It is a transformative act to take these discarded objects off the street and turn them into art.”

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, September 20, 2013, 5-9pm

Reception-Saturday, September 21, 2013, 1-3pm

Additional viewing hours-Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 5-7pm

Artist panel discussion-Tuesday, September 24, 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.recology.com/AIR

Pretty Soon You Will Love to Compost

Posted in Composting, Diversion, Resource Recovery, Services, You Should Know... by ecotulip on July 8, 2013

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We’ve heard it before.

I don’t use the compost bin because it’s gross.

Using the green bin is just going to attract mice and flies. That’s why I don’t compost.

I don’t need to compost because I heard they’ll sort it later.

The reactions to the green composting bin when it’s first introduced to a community, or when someone moves into a community that’s composted for some time, are pretty predictable. The newcomers seem to go through a learning curve that begins with disgust and sometimes outrage, to understanding and adaptation, to a sense of purpose and empowerment.

It all takes a little bit of education. First, most people have to get their head around the basic concepts. What is organic? What can’t I put in the bin? Where does it go? How does my chicken bone become compost?

Eventually, they start to see how separating food scraps and yard trimmings from the garbage protects the air, water and soil. And then they start to think about what zero waste means.

I find myself caring in ways I’ve never cared before.

One example of a change of heart is Shideh Etaat’s “I Refused to Compost“.  In her article, she writes “the other day when I tucked my banana peel into my bag because there was no compost bin to be found on the street. It felt like a small triumph when I dumped it in my own not-too-gross green bin when I got home”.

Thanks for sharing your story Shideh!  We look forward to hearing more about how you’ve learned to compost. Share your stories with us on facebook and Twitter.

You can read more about Shideh’s experience at http://www.thebolditalic.com/shidehe/stories/2872-i-refused-to-compost.

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