I have been to the Salt Lake County Landfill many times since I moved back to Utah in 2001, mostly to bird watch at Lee Kay ponds, but also to pick up mulch for our garden. However, it had been about nine years since I toured the landfill with Salt Lake’s E2 Citizens program. It seemed like a good use of a rare day off to tour it with Mercedes Anto, the Recycling Specialist who will be hosting a workshop with me this coming Earth Day at Marmalade Library. She was great to talk with. Here are some pictures and thoughts about the visit:
This is the first hill of garbage made at the landfill in 1991.
This is the new landfill which takes in 2.2 million pounds a day — that’s 2.2 million pounds/day.
Here are a few more pictures of the heavy equipment working the trashscape:
This is one of my favorite things: the exothermic reaction from decomposing yard waste:
During our conversation we talked about people’s different perceptions of what they need in their life and what they want or would consider a luxury. Mercedes reminded me that “reduce” is actually the first “r” in how communities should approach the problem of waste.
We talked about items that people use often but might not consider as having much of an impact on the environment and Mercedes mentioned a statistic that really struck her and consequently, struck me: The American public uses 500,000,000 straws per day. That’s 500,000,000 straws per day.
This was especially interesting, since I have been working on an artwork with straws in my studio. I have been collecting straws for a long time — I use them, but not that often, but now I am thinking not at all!
Here’s a few pictures of what I have made so far. Its structural support is some old mini shutters from our house, I am still a long ways from feeling like it is a resolved artwork:
One final thought before I sign off: I am thinking this exhibition in August should be interactive. People could look at the artifacts in the art and place a mark, maybe a certain color on items they feel are necessary and a different color on items they don’t feel are necessary. Besides being interesting to watch it change visually, would we find that one person’s necessity another person’s luxury?
Quote for now: “The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” -Julia Cameron
To reach Mercedes Anto about educational programs about the Salt Lake County landfill and recycling contact her by phone or e-mail: 385-468-6399 or SLCO.ORG/RECYCLE
Another good recourse for environmental education is: Utah Society for Environmental Education, USEE. They will be having an environmental education conference this coming month. Check it out! http://usee.org/