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Can Landfills Produce Art? A Look at Some Amazing Green Projects!

The Green Register, as we all know by now, is THE site for staying updated and gathering the latest information when it comes to ‘going green’ and making this planet a better place to live. Not to mention, doing all we can to help our environment survive for a good, long time.

 

When it comes to ‘going green,’ one of the major issues people speak about is finding a way to stop overwhelming our landfills. For a brief overview, a landfill site is a place for the disposal of waste materials by burial, and is the oldest form of waste treatment used on this planet. Historically, landfills have been the most common methods of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world.

 

Various initiatives have occurred over the years to try and vastly reduce the state of our landfills. To protect the environment, the landfill has been divided into a series of ‘individual’ waste (recycling efforts). There are only a few areas at the sites that are filled with trash at any one time, minimizing exposure.

 

But not only recycling comes into play, here. There are a ton of ‘green projects’ going on across the nation; some extremely interesting and fun ways to use this waste material in a way that not only decreases landfills but increases things like remodeling, education and the arts.

 

The Green Project in New Orleans is one of the most exciting in the country. It was in 1994 that Linda Stone, a woman who had a collection of unused paint piled in her garage, she wanted to find a way to dispose of it all without harming the local ecosystem. Even with all her hard work, she could find no resource in New Orleans to do so. Thus, she solved her problem by creating her very own solution. She opened a small paint-recycling center in a Mid-City warehouse.

 

It’s been seventeen years since Ms. Stone had her brilliant idea, and it has literally evolved into the recycling ‘hub’ of New Orleans. The Green Project, sells all sorts of salvaged bits and pieces – as well as more sizeable chunks that have come from deconstructed buildings. Everything from lumber and bricks to nails and hinges can be purchased for the absolute best prices around, or even donated in exchange for having the ‘peace of mind’ that your ‘one-time’ treasures won’t end up in a landfill.

 

The Green Project serves as a drop-off for various recyclables, not the least of which is e-waste – another product many of the eco-conscious living in New Orleans might otherwise keep in their garage collecting dust until those old computers become bona fide antiques. Even Best Buy has implemented an e-waste recycling program to make sure that this ‘ancient technology’ doesn’t become part of the problem.

 

The Green Project currently processes over 35,000 gallons of paint and diverts over 1.8 million pounds of usable materials from the waste stream every year. They conduct regular environmental workshops focusing on the ‘R’s’ of sustainability: reduce, reuse, reclaim, repair, recycle, repurpose, restore, rehabilitate; and The Green Project is a resource to the community for information on where and how to repurpose and recycle a wide range of materials

 

Think about this – this one project diverts massive amounts of tonnage from area landfills, over 1,050 tons of material each year. Most estimates of landfill contents indicate that more than 17% of landfill material is the result of construction and demolition, and much of that material is still structurally sound and absolutely reusable. Homeowners, remodelers, and companies can bring excess or removed materials to The Green Project, saving our planet for the next generation. And, again, this is only one!

 

The Green Project is also involved in certain salvage operations in the New Orleans area. They are contracted to several agencies and assigned the task of demolishing houses that are scheduled for removal due to blight. The Green Project’s own deconstruction crew removes the useful materials from houses before demolition begins, saving the materials that can be used again and putting them back to use in the community.

 

This saves not only products but it also cuts down on the amount of “embedded energy,” which is the energy used in the making a product. When manufacturing new building materials, energy is required to extract raw materials, run factories and transport the product, piling a great deal of pain and agony on the environment. When purchasing used materials, consumers save a great deal of embedded energy which immediately reduces the impact of our carbon footprint.

 

Now…here is a whole different approach to ‘going green’ and cleaning up our landfills – an approach that this writer personally loves. If you are a supporter of the arts, this is one amazing organization!

 

Landfill Art is a project whose goal it is to include at least one professional artist from each of Pennsylvania’s sixty-seven counties, at least one from each of the 50 U.S. States, and a number of international artists. 80% of the project is to be completed by professional artists and 20% by nontraditional artists. These nontraditional artists are mentally and physically challenged (i.e., down syndrome and autistic artists); politically oppressed artists; young artists (i.e., third-graders; and incarcerated artists.


This mission is twofold. The first is to compile a book with the story and photos of the evolution of landfillart.org and the coming together of 1,041 artists for a common cause – to create great art out of rusted refuse. The other goal is to select 200 of these metal canvases to travel the United States, and perhaps the globe, to inspire other such projects.

The 1,041 pieces of rusted metal that are truly works of art are actually being made from old hub caps coming off automobiles from the 1930’s through the 1970’s. Each hub cap, after being cleaned and primed, receives the name – metal canvas. Although most metal canvases have been created into some truly beautiful pieces by artists utilizing oil or acrylic paint, there are some that have been weaved, glued, screwed, or welded into remarkable sculptures.

 

When you think back throughout history, this is not an ‘odd’ premise at all. From the time of cave drawings to the Egyptian pyramids to the animal skins of the American Indians, various cultures have used many different items as their canvas. Not to mention, people who are true fans of the arts are usually extremely in touch with their environment and the need to ‘go green.’

 

Since the beginning of 2012, the collection has been enhanced by artists’ contributions from Japan to California, Florida to Australia. Over 850 completed projects have been received – well on their way to the 1,041 goal.

 

When all of the metal canvases are complete, this will be truly be a thing of beauty. From the book to the traveling show that will spotlight the artists’ work, landfillart.org will sincerely portray the global art community’s effort to positively impact the environment.

 

Think about this! With just this one article we have introduced you to a duo that is doing their absolute best to clean up our landfills and truly enrich our environment. So jump on board! Put that imagination to work and start finding ways to improve our world!

 

Until Next Time Everybody!

 

For more information on Landfillart.org:

http://www.landfillart.org

artistsubmissions@landfillart.org.

Or, email: ken@landfillart.org

 

For more information on The Green Project:

http://www.thegreenproject.org

Or, e-mail: info@thegreenproject.org

 

For more information on The Green Register:

www.thegreenregister.com

 

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