Students of teachers Sandra Sperow and Dawn Tesarowski from Audubon School in Foster City were awarded first place. The fifth grade class was rewarded with $500 by RethinkWaste for their “The U.S.A. Just Got Recycled Map”.
Second place went to Shelly Jones’ fourth grade students at Fiesta Gardens International School for “Young Shadows: Homage to Louise Nevelson”.
Third place went to Kathie Strafaci’s sixth grade class at St. Charles School in San Carols for “Tiger,” a representation of their school mascot.
Winners will receive their awards on Saturday, April 20th from 10AM-2PM at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos.
For more information, visit www.rethinkwaste.org.
San Francisco Dump Artist in Residence Exhibitions: Work by Michael Damm, Julia Goodman and Jeff Hantman
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco will host an exhibition and reception for current artists-in-residence Michael Damm, Julia Goodman, and Jeff Hantman on Friday, January 25, from 5-9pm and Saturday, January 26, from 1-3pm. Additional viewing hours will be held on Tuesday, January 29, from 5-7pm. An artist panel discussion will follow at 7pm at 401 Tunnel Avenue. Please note the new Saturday hours and additional Tuesday viewing time. 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.
Michael Damm: Incidental Films for an Accidental Audience, On Tunnel
During his residency Michael Damm has created a new video installation for his ongoing series, Incidental Films for an Accidental Audience. In these projects, Damm uses rear projection to present site-specific videos at night in large windows or doorways along transit corridors. Geared to an audience of commuters or others who may serendipitously find the work, the installations present fleeting glimpses of familiar, yet nonspecific scenes of urban life, and reflect back the viewer’s own lived experience. Works serve as sites for cognitive disruption, momentarily shaking viewers from their mental routines and leaving fragments of images for the viewer to take away and puzzle out. At Recology, Damm will use a series of windows in the Environmental Learning Center at 401 Tunnel Avenue as his projection screen. The installation will be viewable throughout the month of January (excluding Wednesdays) from dusk to midnight.
Damm’s second installation work, viewable only during exhibition hours, uses images from a scavenged collection of slides taken by a photojournalist. Damm has layered multiple shots of specific scenes to create complex readings of past events and explore perceptions of time, history, and representation. The majority of photographs were taken at political events in the 1980s that have long receded from public memory. Deprived of their temporal context and documentary underpinnings these scenes of public diplomacy and governmental machinations become generically enigmatic instead of historically significant. Through the overlayering of multiple shots—each minutely different, yet of the same scene—Damm has created images that move into one-another and then quickly slip out of reach. Work captures the banality that surrounds the pursuit of the photographic “decisive moment,” while also speaking to the slippery nature of documentation in general, and how some events are historicized while others are relegated to the landfill.
Damm received an MFA from Mills College. He has exhibited widely in the Bay Area including at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, and has exhibited in venues internationally including in Brazil, Germany, England, and Macedonia.
Julia Goodman: Rag Sorters and Star Gazers
Though Julia Goodman’s primary medium is paper which she makes by hand and uses to create sculptural forms, the vast offerings of the dump have inspired her to venture from this predominantly muted, monochromatic world and explore new materials and vivid colors. A found collection of water-damaged glass photographic slides, in combination with a personal interest in astronomy, has resulted in a body of work that references the power of the night sky. Resulting images are dreamy views of terrestrial scenes merged with celestial forces. Other works address ideas of navigation, and the role of the stars as literal and figurative guides.
In a separate body of work, Goodman returns to her paper-making practice and looks at the intertwined relationship women have had with rag paper over centuries—both as procurers and providers of the fabrics used in its production. Bringing a San Francisco focus to this history, Goodman interviewed a former Recology employee and learned that it was not until compactor trucks were widely used in 1964 that the city’s garbage collectors stopped gathering rags for recycling. Prior to this date, collected fabrics were brought to a room where female employees sorted them, doing dirty and difficult work. Having learned the names of several of these women, Goodman set out to honor them in her own papermaking practice. She replicated their process by sorting fabrics she had scavenged and then pulped the material. Using pre-1964 elegant fonts found in ephemeral materials such as Metropolitan Opera programs, Goodman recreated the women’s names in carved molds. She then pressed the pulped rags into her carvings to create her tributes. Elevated from their humble employment, Rita Bianchi, Maria Tringale, and Josephine Grosso’s names appear in grand style in Goodman’s paper relief works.
Goodman has an MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts and a BA in International Relations and Peace and Justice Studies from Tufts University. She has exhibited widely in the Bay Area and has participated in residencies at J.B. Blunk Residency in Inverness, California, and at the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Kona, Hawaii.
Jeff Hantman: Unassigned
Jeff Hantman combines a range of techniques and materials to create three-dimensional paintings that bow and bulge out from the wall. Hantman’s background as a woodworker informs his process which requires bending and shaping found materials, especially plywood, to create the rounded forms he uses as his canvases. Works are covered with materials chosen for their graphic or textual quality and then layered with his silkscreened and painted imagery. Signs of wear, stains, paint, and other remnants of the material’s previous use are incorporated into the pieces that are influence by deteriorating structures such as old barns or water towers, as well as personal memories of places and events.
While at Recology, Hantman has expanded his practice to include free-standing sculptural works. Now viewers can walk around his forms and view the frameworks that underlie his characteristic curved shapes, seeing interiors which are as visually compelling as their exteriors. Some works include a mechanical element, and the combination of this with Hantman’s weatherworn iconography results in sculptures that appear like obsolete contraptions or mysterious machines from a bygone era. Hantman describes these new pieces as the manifestation of childhood daydreams—fantasy objects built from the unlimited contents of the toy box that is the Public Disposal and Recycling Area. Much like his three-dimensional wall works that defy easy categorization, these free-standing assemblages provide space for interpretation rooted in imagination and memory.
Hantman received a BFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has participated in residency programs at Kala Institute in Berkeley and the Djerassi Resident Artist Program in Woodside, California. His work is in the collection of the Alameda County Arts Commission.
Reception-Friday, January 25, 2013, 5-9pm
Reception-Saturday, January 26, 2013, 1-3pm
Additional viewing hours-Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 5-7pm
Artist panel discussion-Tuesday, January 29, 7pm at 401 Tunnel Ave.
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
Last week, Time Magazine published an article that asked “What If the World’s Soil Runs Out?” The article highlighted the growing shortage of topsoil around the world due to unsustainable agricultural practices.
Topsoil is a living thing—it is the top 2 to 8 inches of soil where most of the microorganisms live and where plants put the majority of their roots. These microorganisms transform and recycle the topsoil material that they eat. We need them to make soil usable and livable for other organisms higher up on the food chain. They also are the tiny architects that structure soil so that it can retain moisture.
The article suggests that we have only about 60 years-worth of topsoil left. The reason is that most agricultural practices, even the ones practiced in European countries, strip the soil of carbon and nutrients. Soil is primarily eroded in three ways:
1. We take more carbon than we put back. Some fields are burnt after a harvest to clear them. Others are stripped to feed animals. In both cases, carbon is moved out of the growing cycle.
2. We misuse fertilizers. They provide nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and because plants will grow when these nutrients are available, we think that is all they need.
3. We also over-work the land through over-ploughing and over-grazing.
Through composting yard debris and food scraps, we add carbon and other key nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, back to the soil. Our efforts to return valuable nutrients and carbon to the soil are among the best examples of how to address the world’s soil nutrient shortage. You can learn more about the good things compost does for farmers, the environment and consumers in the WASTE ZERO section of Recology.com.
Art at the Dump: Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program Announces 2013 Residency Recipients
Recology San Francisco is pleased to announce recipients of artist residencies for 2013. The six selected artists are Kristin Cammermeyer, Benjamin Cowden, Chad Hasegawa, Yulia Pinkusevich, Stephanie Syjuco, and Ian Treasure.
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind initiative started in 1990 to support Bay Area artists while teaching children and adults about recycling and resource conservation. Artists work for four months in a studio space on site and use materials recovered from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area. Over ninety-five professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. Applications are accepted annually in August.
This Halloween, compost your pumpkins!
Don’t forget that residents and businesses in the Recology San Mateo County service area can have their Halloween pumpkins composted! It helps to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill and is better for the environment.
- Over 1 billion pumpkins are produced every year.
- Pumpkins are full of rich nutrients such as zinc, iron & phosphorus.
- Zinc, iron and phosphorus are a great source of nutrients for your garden (if you have your own composting pile at home).
- Pumpkins are not only fun to decorate but delicious and healthy to eat!
- The word pumpkin originated from the Greek word Pepon which means large melon.
After you have removed the candles and decorations, simply place the pumpkins in your green Compost Cart or bin and set it out on your regular collection day.
Learn more about the composting program on Recology San Mateo County’s website.
A National Record
This morning San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee Lee announced that the city of San Francisco reached an 80% landfill waste diversion rate. The city holds the national recycling and compost rate record in North America. And that is no small feat. The city of St. Louis’ recycling rate increased fivefold this year, and that city now diverts just 10%.
We are especially proud. San Francisco’s programs include source reduction, reuse, and recycling and composting programs, which set the city apart from other major North American cities. These programs helped San Francisco receive a perfect score for resource recovery and recycling in the 2011 Siemens Green City Index.
In city’s press release says:
“Recycling and composting is not only good for our environment, it is also good for our economy,” said Mayor Lee. ”Recycling alone creates 10 times more jobs than simply sending refuse to the landfill, and I applaud Recology, the Department of Environment and San Franciscans for reaching this record milestone of 80 percent diversion.”
On the road to Zero Waste
The work is not easy or simple. While landfill disposal has decreased substantially, San Francisco residents, visitors and businesses still send 444 thousand tons of material to landfill each year.
Yet San Francisco is determined to achieve zero waste, not only an environmental, but also an economic goal.
David Chiu, a City Supervisor also supported our work and urged San Franciscans to do their part. He said, “I thank Recology and the Department of Environment staff who are reaching out and educating our residents and businesses to make sure they continue to recycle and compost our way to zero waste.” This weekend, all of the events taking place in the city include forward-thinking plans for recycling and composting.
You can read more of the press release here: http://www.sfmayor.org/index.aspx?page=846.
San Francisco Dump Artist in Residence Exhibitions: Work by Tamara Albaitis, Amy Wilson Faville, and Calder Yates
San Francisco Dump Artist in Residence Exhibitions:
Work by Tamara Albaitis, Amy Wilson Faville, and Calder Yates
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco will host an exhibition and reception for current artists-in-residence Tamara Albaitis, Amy Wilson Faville, and student artist Calder Yates on Friday, September 21, from 5-9pm and Saturday, September 22, from 1-5pm. 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. A plant give-a-way will also take place beginning Friday on a first come basis. Plants have been rescued from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area and nursed back to life. Larger plants as well as propagated new starters will be available, one per visitor.
Tamara Albaitis: Dwell
When Tamara Albaitis has spoken to elementary school tour groups during her residency she often has asked, “What is your favorite sound?” Invariably someone will respond with the title of a song, and upon further prompting will understand that they are not being asked exclusively about music, but about the vast auditory experience that surrounds us every moment of every day. How sound figures in our existence can be a complex thing. It is the white noise soundtrack to our lives, but its ubiquity sometimes renders it outside our consciousness. Some people are acutely tuned in, while others hardly ever contemplate it, yet it is a human universal, rich with meaning and associations born deep within our psyches. Albaitis calls attention to this core sensory experience as a way to connect us to our environment and to each other through sculptural sound installations that combine the playful, visceral, primal, and poetic in unexpected ways.
Though Albaitis actually sculpts sound through its placement, movement and repetition, her main physical sculptural medium is speaker cones and wire. She has found these in abundance at the dump and has gathered countless yards of speaker wire and hundreds of discarded home stereo speakers from which she’s extracted the raw cones. Albaitis has crafted a large-scale, cocoon-like form viewers/listeners are invited to enter for an immersive auditory experience, as well as smaller sound sculptures. Reflecting her background in painting and drawing Albaitis uses speaker wire to “draw” on walls, one of many ways she explores the physicality of sound. Other scavenged materials have been incorporated into her work, including fur and leather, appealing to Albaitis for their role as protective skins, and various personal items that have emotional associations. She has also been inspired for the first time to use the speaker boxes she normally discards, stacking them for a sonic cityscape. Audio is drawn from varied sources including a found collection of CDs capturing sounds from space, field recordings of the Recology facility, voice recordings from scavenged cassette and reel to reel tapes, and Albaitis’s own heartbeat.
Explaining her sound installations Albaitis says, “Conceptually, these unfold as questions about sustainability (psychological and environmental), dependence, and the complex relationship between people and nature in a techno-centric culture.” A live performance with Delisa Myles (http://delisamyles.com) will take place during the exhibition receptions, Friday evening at 7:30pm and Saturday afternoon at 3pm.
Albaitis received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and attended the International Institute of Art in Hangzhou, China where she studied Chinese landscape painting. In 2003 she was invited to establish the first experimental sound department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she received the first MFA in sound art in the United States. She has been a recipient of a Eureka Fellowship and a James Irvine Fellowship and has exhibited nationally and internationally.
Amy Wilson Faville: Everything is Beautiful
During her residency Amy Wilson Faville has continued with a body of work that explores discarded materials. Prior to her residency she was painting public dumping sites in her Oakland neighborhood, and while at Recology she has chosen to work in mixed-media collage, capitalizing on the wealth of items thrown away to make representations of discarded materials from discarded materials. Faville seeks to turn the tables on the refuse—creating something beautiful from the abject—while also posing larger questions about consumption and sustainability. Says Faville, “To me, trash contains both narrative and metaphor. Stories are implied by things that are discarded and abandoned; heaps of cast-off belongings symbolize our economic decline and societal malaise.”
Faville’s working process first involves photographing her subject matter to create reference images for her paintings and collages. She discovered that photographing within the Public Disposal and Recycling Area (the dump) was challenging—objects moved through too rapidly as piles were quickly pushed by front loaders. However, individual piles of materials waiting to be recycled including mattresses, carpet, and damaged recycling and compost bins, sat longer for their photographs, so became the subject of her work. The resulting collage representations are rich with the repetition of form and line found in groupings of multiples. Faville’s titles for her pieces such as Mattress Canyon and Carpet Mountain speak both poetically to the enormity of the subject matter and ironically to its position as the antithesis of anything found in nature.
Faville’s collages combine a range of found materials including 1970s-era wallpaper culled from sample books, colored file folders, fabrics (including mattress ticking cut from her subject matter), and her own drawings. Faville gravitates to the vivid colors and bold patterns prevalent in 60s and 70s textiles, so in her work the dreary and bedraggled become vibrant, as we are invited to take a slightly psychedelic journey through these representations of accumulated objects. Pieced together colors and patterns also suggest quiltmaking, the domestic, and related feelings of comfort and familiarity. Faville will also present an assemblage of collected materials as a three-dimensional collage emerging from a wall of her drawings and other two-dimensional work.
Faville received an MFA and BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco, and is in the collections of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco and the di Rosa Preserve in Napa. She is a faculty member at Diablo Valley College where she teaches drawing, painting, design, and color theory.
Calder Yates: Corpus Curare
Calder Yates has used the Recology San Francisco facility as a staging ground for video works, drawings, and mixed-media sculptures that explore disruption and precariousness, and the strategies employed in negotiating such conditions. Using lo-fi materials in stripped-down productions, Yates presents situations in need of navigation and efforts that have gone awry. With an undercurrent of implied danger and an often comical poignancy, works probe common feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness.
Gesture and movement are important components of Yates’s work. Previous projects have been participatory, requiring the navigation of chance situations, and while at Recology he has involved facility workers in similar challenges. His choice of mundane objects speaks to their universality while also adding an element of the absurd. Yates addresses the desire to make things better and the sense of futility that often results from our limitations as humans.
Explains Yates, “Specific experiences inform my approach. These include having lived in Florida and witnessing the aftermath of hurricanes and working as a teacher. There is a specific terror in recognizing that your attempts to ameliorate a situation would in fact lead to complicating the problem if not exacerbating the suffering altogether. And that’s what interests me.”
Yates is a graduate student in the sculpture department at the California College of the Arts. He holds a BA in political science and studio art from the New College of Florida. He has exhibited at the Vermont Studio Center and was the APAC Artist in Residence at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida. Yates’s work will be on view at the Recology Environmental Learning Center at 401 Tunnel Avenue.
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind program established in 1990 to encourage the conservation of natural resources and instill a greater appreciation for the environment and art in children and adults. Artists work for four months in studio space on site, use materials recovered from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area, and speak to students and the general public. Over ninety-five professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. Applications are accepted annually in August.
Reception-Friday, September 21, 2012, 5-9pm
Reception-Saturday, September 22, 2012, 1-5pm
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
Guest blogger Carrie Gaydos is the Community Manager for VonChurch.com writes about an eye-opening trip to the San Francisco “dump.” VonChurch will be hosting Project Zero in Jan. 2013—a month-long commitment to create zero landfill-destined waste.
VonChurch, Inc., a San Francisco Green Business, is taking staff environmental education to heart. VonChurch is a recruiting firm working exclusively in the digital entertainment industry. Fueled by the passion to create and play, their culture is an elusive balance of focus and imagination. On August 17th, their “Work Hard | Play Harder” mindset and wild imagination lead them to a bizarre and unexpected place.
The Recology San Francisco transfer station is a piece of the on-going environmental initiatives in the city. A field trip there seemed to be in order. VonChurch staff wanted to look at the reality of San Francisco waste in the eye. The city of San Francisco has got a solid handle on resource recovery, wasting far less than the national average and creating nutrient-rich compost from food scraps and plant material for local farms and vineyards. VonChurch visited the facility to experience the truth behind what we toss out. A little dirt and grime-filled experiential learning experience, we hoped, would get staff to recycle, compost, waste less in the office, and to put a halt to bad habits and trashy behavior.
The two-hour tour consisted of a workshop on recycling and sustainability, a trip to the Art Studio to meet the current Artist in Residence at Recology San Francisco, a stop at the Household Hazard Waste facility, an unforgettable visit to the transfer station, a walk through the Sculpture Garden, and an enlightening video detailing the works of Recycle Central® at Pier 96.
It was an eye-opening experience. VonChurch employee, Nate Rhodes, described the tour as being “…really informative. I think it gave me a new perspective on how important it is to make an individual effort to compost, recycle, and to take the time to clean and deposit everything in its proper place. And the amount of effort it takes for Recology to operate for one day… fascinating stuff really.”
Another employee, Lisa Newton, went on to explain, “the SF Recology Center is a very interesting place. One-of-a-kind, to say the least! It’s home to one of the coolest art studios and gardens I have ever seen, while storing the smelliest and dirtiest trash I have ever been in contact with. Beyond the art exhibits, there are gorgeous falcons flying around, providing a humane form of seagull management. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would enjoy a dump as much as I enjoyed [Recology San Francisco’s transfer station].” We recommend the tour to any local business trying to educate and mobilize their staff to take action for the benefit of the environment.
VonChurch, Inc. is striving to work simpler and lighter on the planet; maintaining a compassionate, symbiotic relationship with the Earth is in their nature. After the tour, company CEO, Alex Churchill said, “I think this worked. I have noticed more people making the effort to compost and recycle.”
In January 2013, VonChurch will be undertaking an original program called, Project Zero, in which the collective staff will pledge to produce zero waste for the entire month.
It ain’t easy being green… but it is worth it.
VonChurch established and utilizes the VonEarth Committee to facilitate and organize mass, internal environmental initiatives and communication/environmental education. Their mission is:
To be mindful of the impact we have on the environment is a fundamental element of the VonChurch psyche. The VonEarth Committee was established to guide and unite VonChurch, to work simpler and lighter on the planet. Fueled by the passion to create and play, our culture is an elusive balance of focus and imagination. Maintaining a compassionate, symbiotic relationship with the Earth is in our nature.
The GLEAN Program is a private, public, nonprofit partnership between Recology, an employee-owned resource recovery company; Metro, the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area that oversees the garbage and recycling system; and Cracked Pots, an environmental arts group.
Now in its second year, GLEAN takes its inspiration from the Artist-in-Residence Program at Recology San Francisco. The goal of the GLEAN program is to inspire creative reuse and promote public conversation about how we can create more and waste less.
The artists, selected by a jury of arts and environmental professionals, include Andrew Auble, Chandra Glaeseman, Greg Hanson, Jennifer LaMastra and Sarah Wolf Newlands. For the past six months, artists have had access to the Metro Central Transfer Station to gather materials that they have used for their work which ranges from sculpture to mixed media assemblage to wearable art.
To learn more about the artists and their experience, check out this video: http://youtu.be/ibqwj7T7ll0
To learn more about the program and get details about the upcoming exhibition, go to
In today’s New York Times article, Flavor Is Price of Scarlet Hue of Tomatoes, the author asks geneticists the universal question: “Why are tomatoes usually so tasteless?”
Unlike the modern day genetically modified tomato that is engineered to turn red before it is ripe, true innovation occurs over a long period of time. Take for example, San Francisco’s recycling programs. Over 90 years of constant improvement in the services to the City & County of San Francisco has lead to the city’s status as the greenest city in the nation.
In celebration of Earth Day and our commitment to the environment, we created a documentary entitled, “Recycling in America’s Greenest City”.
If you missed viewing the documentary on Sunday, April 22 (Earth Day), you may now view it from the comfort of your home by visiting our website, Recology.com.