Everyone loves good food. But who knew the food we don’t eat would become a story in the country recognized by the United Nations as a true culinary leader?
On Thursday, 9.19.13, “Complément d’enquête,” the popular French news show modeled after 60 Minutes will air a 1-hour program on challenges Europe faces in dealing with trash. And what will steal the line up? San Francisco’s efforts to send next to nothing to landfill achieving zero waste.
The star of the report will be food from San Francisco. Not some amazing new dish from the great restaurants in San Francisco, sister city to Paris, but vegetable trimmings, fish bones, and all the other food scraps San Franciscans toss in the green compost collection bins we wheel out to the curb.
San Francisco’s urban compost collection program keeps materials out of landfills, returns nutrients to local farms, and helps farms grow healthy food that comes back to the city to support your good health.
The program is a driver in the zero waste movement, an international movement that is taking root in France, Italy and other countries that want to reduce landfilling and incineration by increasing both recycling and composting. This summer New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans introduce food scrap compost collection across the Big Apple.
The TV crew from France2 filmed recycling and compost collection in the Excelsior District, Recycle Central on Pier 96, Recology’s Jepson Prairie Organics compost facility, and a Napa County vineyard that for 12 years has applied compost made from food scraps collected in San Francisco.
Thursday, Sept. 19, 10:15 p.m., France TV2. You can watch the trailer here: http://www.france2.fr/emissions/complement-d-enquete/diffusions/19-09-2013_124112
Guest blogger Lorie Poole, Recycling Coordinator and Customer Service Representative at Recology Del Norte, on the bitter sweet experience of sending a boat brought to her town by the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
News travels fast in a small town.
The 20-foot boat washed up on Crescent Beach on April 7th. It belonged to a coastal fishing town of Rikuzentakata–a town in Japan unfortunate to have had the second-highest death toll from the 2011 tsunami.
We were preparing for Earth Day, so I quickly updated my Pacific Gyre/Beach Clean Up display to include beached tsunami debris in our list of targeted materials for the event. Soon, Lori Dengler, the Humboldt State University Geologist and tsunami researcher came up to Crescent City to research the boat. She was the one to discover that the boat belonged to the Takata High School’s marine science program.
Jeff Parmer, from the Crescent City Chamber of Commerce, explained that a local high school group headed by their teacher, Joyce Ruiz, was going to send the boat back to Japan.
Recology del Norte began coordinating with Commander Bill Stevens of the Sheriffs Office to help transport the boat. I wanted to see what we could do.
Mean while, the local students started fundraising. With help from the Crescent City maintenance crew, local property managers, and our area operations disaster management group, the students found a shipping company that would ship the boat for free. The students put together a video that they sent to the Takata students and have set up a donation page.
On the morning of September 4th I received a call from Bill asking for help transporting the boat to Menlo Park by September 16th. With such short notice, it seemed unlikely that we could help, but Tommy Sparrow, Recology Del Norte’s General Manager, was able to find a vehicle. It just so happened that an empty Recology truck was traveling in our direction. It was scheduled to pick up a load south of us, but one of Recology’s senior managers approved a stop in Crescent City and the boat was picked up the very next day.
I called Bill back. He was excited and instantly rushed to get all his contacts involved. Emails were flying. In just a matter of two hours the plan came together. The truck would be on site by 8AM on Thursday, the property manager would have the building open, the city maintenance crew would load the boat, two of the students would be there to say farewell to the treasured boat, and the Daily Triplicate would be there to tell the story.
The boat was delivered to the shipping company on Friday, September 6th. It will be packed and shipped on September 22nd. After a 14-day voyage, the ship is scheduled to reach Tokyo by October 6th.
The shipping company has arranged transport and storage for the boat until Takata High School can be rebuilt and prepare a space to put it on display.
Del Norte High students are working with city and county officials, as well as local clubs to raise money for 10 students and 3 adults to make a trip to Takata High School in Rikuzentakata, Japan. Many Del Norte officials are helping to foster a plan to become sister cities with Rikuzentakata.
This event has helped raise awareness about tsunamis and disaster preparedness in Del Norte County. Before this event, only one high school group had taken Community Emergency Response Training. Now two more classes are being scheduled.
Here’s a timeline and links to more info:
· Japan earthquake /tsunami, magnitude 8.9 with waves as high as 40 meters – March 11, 2011
· New York Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/world/asia/22missing.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 – March 21,2011
· Boat washes up on Crescent Beach – April 7, 2012
· Lori Dengler’s site: Lori Dengler – Tsunamis, earthquakes, geophysics, natural hazard mitigation, https://picasaweb.google.com/105862892016189181305/CrescentCityTsunamiBoat?authkey=Gv1sRgCNqP6t_Zs4qXUA&feat=email# – April 8, 2012
Del Norte Triplicate story: http://www.triplicate.com/News/Local-News/Tsunami-boat-to-move-to-new-site – June 10, 2013 and a more recent story: http://www.triplicate.com/News/Local-News/Symbol-of-hope-starts-journey-home-to-Japan
· Student to Student video: http://www.delnorte.org/news/tsunami-boat-student-to-student-video
· http://studentsrebuild.org/blog/2013-07-22/amazing-journey-japan July 22, 2013
· High school fundraiser page: http://www.gofundme.com/3vvsgc
Photos by Adam Spencer, courtesy of Del Norte Triplicate.
Yesterday, an independent panel consisting of former Mayors, architects and reps from the World Bank, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and Siemens recognized ten cities around the world for their leadership in urban sustainability practices. San Francisco was recognized for it’s work in ”waste management”. I think they actually meant resource recovery, but, it’s just semantics. Right?
In 2009 we started talking about WASTE ZERO. It’s our rallying cry to make the best and highest use of all resources that we can. The real natural resource challenges we’re facing around the world, and in California, have everything to do with it. Recology is driven to find a social, environmentally-sound and economical solution to the vast amount of waste that we create in industrialized economies. I was reminded that we have a lot in this country while having a conversation with one of the Haitian artists working at the San Francisco transfer station. He expressed surprise at just how much gets thrown “away”. Good things, repairable things. Reusable things. Recyclable and compostable things.
In San Francisco, the call to make Zero Waste a reality is starting to be heard. And with this award comes some recognition of the hard work being done in the city by regular people who have started to change their habits. They pause and consider what can be recycled and composted as they stand over the three containers in their kitchens. They search through Whatbin.com for answers to what goes where. And while there is still a ways to go before we reach zero waste, we’re at least on our way. And that’s exactly what sustainability is about.
Congratulations to everyone in San Francisco!
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.
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 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…”
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.
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
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.
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”.
You can read more about Shideh’s experience at http://www.thebolditalic.com/shidehe/stories/2872-i-refused-to-compost.
Here are a few photos from the San Francisco Pride Parade.
The downtown San Francisco celebration overflowed with enthusiasm, cheers, flags and dancing.
The Recology drill team, friends, family and volunteers wore costumes and joined along with the fun.
Congratulations Big Apple on Going Green!
Dozens of cities and hundreds of universities are following San Francisco’s lead and instituting urban compost collection programs. Most of these programs are located where one might expect to find them: Seattle, Portland, Maine, and University of California campuses. But not everyone expected New York City to come to the party. On June 16 Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to expand and eventually require food scrap compost collection at locations across the city.
In discussing the plan, officials also signaled interest in the zero waste movement. “You want to get on a trajectory where you’re not sending anything to landfills,” Caswell F. Holloway IV, a deputy mayor, told The New York Times.
San Francisco aims to achieve zero waste by 2020, a goal set by the Board of Supervisors. The green bin program is a major contributor to San Francisco’s landfill diversion rate of 80 percent, the highest in the country.
Replicating the San Francisco program is just common sense. Food scraps collected from San Francisco are turned into nutrient-rich compost that is applied to local farms. Most of them are vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties. Compost made from food scraps collected in New York City could be applied to farms in upstate New York, farms that grow fruits and vegetables sold at the 19 farmers’ markets in the city.
There are many wonderful things about these programs. They keep things out of landfills and feed topsoil on local farms, which helps farmers grow healthier food. Urbanites like to shop at farmer’s markets and increasingly are hearing about the connection between tossing coffee grounds and vegetable peelings in their kitchen compost pails and the heirloom tomatoes and fresh carrots they buy on Saturday mornings.
Bloomberg’s announcement generated a lot of New York media coverage and press calls to San Francisco seeking reaction and insights. Reporters looking for opposing views among New Yorkers were mostly disappointed and within two days said “people like it.”
The Times reported that test compost collection programs in New York have shown an “unexpectedly high level of participation.” More than one headline read like this one: “Take it from a composting veteran, it is easier than you think.”
That perspective will feel correct to most people who live and work in San Francisco, experienced composters that we are. Some here are compost holdouts and need to get with the program, but in total we are getting our city a little closer to zero waste everyday. And in that context it was nice, at least for a few days, to read headlines like “New York City amps up food recycling, while San Francisco shows the way.”
San Francisco, Calif. (June 25, 2013) – Recology announced today the launch of a web page featuring SFO Museum’s exhibition of work from the Recology Artist in Residence Program at the United Terminal. The Art of Recology, highlights this innovative art program that was founded to challenge the way we think about waste, consumption, and art.
The video and slide show, located at recologysf.com/SFO, allow those who can’t see the exhibition in person to experience the artwork online. More than 100 pieces made by 45 Bay Area artists who have participated in the program are on display.
“The purpose of the program is to encourage recycling, help San Franciscans think outside of the box, and help us get to Zero Waste,” said program manager Deborah Munk. “Recology believes that art has the power to influence behavior and inspire new ways of thinking about resource conservation and sustainability.”
The exhibition is open through October 2013 and is expected to be viewed by more than 2.5 million people. The myriad of artworks displayed include a gown made from recycled San Francisco Chronicle delivery bags and a life-sized Styrofoam Hummer.
“The wide-ranging artworks stand on their own as extraordinary examples of beauty and creativity, but the larger message of the need to change our view of material goods and their disposal in the waste stream is ever present,” said Tim O’Brien, SFO Museum Curator of Exhibitions. “It’s really gratifying to see such a strong public response by visitors.”
The Recology Artist in Residence Program aims to inspire and educate by providing local artists with access to materials, a work space, and monetary and administrative support. The artists chosen for the professional residency program have 24-hour access to a studio space and can scavenge in Recology’s Public Disposal and Recycling Areas for materials. Every piece they make has to be made completely from recycled or reused materials.
Through its tours and exhibitions over the past 23 years, the Artist in Residence Program has brought together diverse communities such as artists, students, environmentalists, businesses, and educators who share a common goal of creating a more sustainable world. The program has become world renowned, sponsoring more than 100 Bay Area artists since it began in 1990.
“In my opinion, this exhibition is the highlight of the Artist in Residence Program,” Munk said. “We believe that people who visit the SFO Museum exhibition will start thinking about reuse or recycling in a way that they wouldn’t by merely getting a pamphlet in the mail.”
To watch a video about the exhibition or download images of the artwork, visit recologysf.com/SFO.
(415) 269-2237 cell