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Dumps and Landfills

Dumps. Landfills. Midden (in the olden days).  Why did anyone ever think it would be a good idea to throw all of our garbage in one big pile? Organic and inorganic matter mixed together with toxic chemicals, mixed with still useful building materials and furniture, mixed with "outdated" electronics and EVERYTHING else you can imagine. Within this subtopic of the website you will find upcycling innovations related to landfills and dumps. These heaps of "refuse" are now an indelible part of our lives, but how might we begin to salvage, reuse and even generate energy from the trash piled in landfills. Learn about garbage pickers in many parts of the world who make their living from salvaging useful things out of dumps; get ideas for how to make landfills more accessible to those interested in constructing out of waste; and explore the possibility that one day dumps and landfills may no longer be the only way of getting "rid of" our trash.


  • EVERYBODY Overwhelmed by RUBBISH Featured Blog Post EVERYBODY Overwhelmed by RUBBISH EVERYBODY Overwhelmed by RUBBISH

    Several months ago I clicked on a link in an e-mail entitled: “World Overwhelmed by Rubbish.” Up popped a photo essay from the Guardian UK that was actually entitled:... More »

  • Eco-Casas en el Basurero de Oaxaca Featured Photo Gallery Eco-Casas en el Basurero de Oaxaca Eco-Casas en el Basurero de Oaxaca

    These are shots taken by SiKanda and friends during their recent collaboration with Techamos la Mano Oaxaca and other civil organizations in the city of Oaxaca. The purpose was... More »

  • How I fell in love with the dump . . . Featured Blog Post How I fell in love with the dump . . . How I fell in love with the dump . . .

    For a week in the summer of 2006 Jimmy Condon of the Shire (a learning center near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) spent a week in Oaxaca, Mexico working with a group of innovative young... More »

  • Don't Call it a DUMP! Featured News Article Don't Call it a DUMP! Don't Call it a DUMP!

    This short video is about a waste mangement company in Southern California that keeps garbage out of the nearby Puente Hills Landfill (the largest in the U.S.), separates the... More »

  • How Landfills Work Featured Article How Landfills Work How Landfills Work

    This is a short video that explains the difference between a landfill and a dump and also explains briefly the process of capturing methane gas as bio-diesel. The town in Ontario... More »

  • Jo Hanson's dream come true Featured Blog Post Jo Hanson's dream come true Jo Hanson's dream come true

    That's a picture of Jo Hanson, the San Francisco activist (dead now) who founded the artists-in-residency program at the San Francisco dump. I posted about it on my blog, Visible... More »

Recently Updated
Eco-Casas en el Basurero de Oaxaca Last Updated on 2011-10-09 17:01:11 These are shots taken by SiKanda and friends during their recent collaboration with Techamos la Mano Oaxaca and other civil organizations in the city of Oaxaca. The purpose was construction of four houses with Tetrapak and PET bottles at the municipal dump. Estas son fotos tomadas por SiKanda y otros amigos durante su colaboración reciente con Techamos la Mano Oaxaca y otras organizaciones civiles en la ciudad de Oaxaca. El propósito fue la construcción de cuatro casas con Tetrapak y botellas de PET en el basurero municipal. More »
Waste to Wealth Tour Last Updated on 2011-10-09 00:00:00 Conserve India is an industrious upcycling business formerly based in Delhi, but now located in Bahadurgarh, Haryana, India. The Upcycling Portal posted an article about their work that you can read here. The organization also worked to try to upcycle waste from the 2010 Commonwealth Games which you can read more about here. A few months ago I received this notice from Conserve about "Waste to Wealth" tours that the company was going to be hosting in and around Delhi. Here is what the notice says: "A learning journey for the eco-minded tourist, the Waste to Wealth tour brings you through the process of how discarded plastic bags can be converted into high quality fashion products in a way that benefits both the environment and slum dwellers. Also experience firsthand the problems the ragpicking community face through a visit to a local slum." Here are the highlights: SHOPPING! The tour... More »
Visiting La Colonia Renacimiento Last Updated on 2011-09-30 00:00:00 This week I visited the dump. For all of my big talk about how much I love garbage and have a passion for trash, I am ashamed to say that I haven't been to a landfill since I was a kid. I had the opportunity to visit the municipal basurero of Oaxaca, located beside Colonia Renacimiento (the neighborhood of rebirth), because of my friends Jose Carlos and Aurelia. They started an organization called SiKanda (Solidaridad Internacional Kanda) that works with some of the folks that live in Renacimiento, the pepenadores. These are the hearty souls that sort through the thousands of kilos of trash that arrive at the dump every day and separate out materials that can be sold and recycled (or upcycled, I suppose). I had been wanting to visit the basurero in Oaxaca for about a year and a half and to meet some of the pepenadores that I had heard so much about. I was very excited. But as we came... More »
Pam Longobardi, coastal Hero Last Updated on 2010-02-20 00:00:00  Time and attention get way too fragmented if you're not careful, especially in the Facebook Era. So I'm gonna protect my time and attention and just give you the link to a blog post I spent real time on this morning: it's about Pam Longobardi and some of her recent work. Check it out on my blog, visibletrash.net. That's the direct link to the coastal hero post, but to see the blog's homepage just click on the banner (in case you only get to reading this in, say, 2011). Since there's no art category on here, I'm using "dumps and landfills" because whether it's done on purpose or not, our seas and oceans are turning into dumps for the planet. Have you seen the gyres lately? More »
The Story of Stuff gets BASHED Last Updated on 2009-10-02 00:00:00 Oh . . . I'm so mad I don't even know where to begin!!! Last week a friend of mine told me that this guy named Glenn Beck (who I suppose is some sort of Rush Limbaughian type) ran a whole program ranting against the amazing video The Story of Stuff (featured here on the Upcycling Portal). He had his panties all in a bunch because they've been showing The Story of Stuff in schools and supposedly "indoctrinating" all of our young people with harebrained leftist ideas (Marxism for kids he calls it). So, rather than just making a video to make HIS point, he simply takes the video and superimposes his own thoughts in the form of big red letters across the screen while Annie Leonard is talking. Occasionally, he cuts in and shows a chart or the same image over and over to prove how the Earth's resources are not finite or how our rivers and waterways are cleaner than ever (WHAT??). He displays... More »