Finding Inspiration in the Dumps

Guest blogger Carrie Gaydos is the Community Manager for 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 staff admiring a curiosity made from waste at the recology sf transfer station

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.

Recology SF art studio

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.

salvaged from the landfill

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.

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