Mondo Trash: Photographer Shows Americans And Their Waste
(3BL Media/Just Means) - Americansâ consumer habits produce a hell of a lot of trash â (4.5 lbs. per person, per day).â About half of it ends up on landfills. Itâs so much trash that it may be a bit hard for us to visualize it, so photojournalist Peter Menzen and writer Faith DâAluisio embarked on a project together to show just how big a pile of trash American families produce.
The idea is similar to another photographic project âshowing âwhat a week of groceries looks like across the world. Hint: it varies âaccording to affluence, so itâs quite big in America. âFor âWaste in Focus,ââ the artists stayed in the U.S., looking at what eight families around the country are recycling, composting and sending to landfill.
âWe were most surprised by the amount of prepared food that we found in peopleâs trash,â says DâAluisio in this interview. âIn some cases it was more than 50 percent of their total food waste. This is in keeping with national statistics but it was a shock to see it in real life. I had our families save their food in separate containers so that I could ascertain edible versus inedible waste to determine the weight values. We were also surprised by the lack of newsprint until we learned from recyclers that while it is coveted material and highly recyclable, in many places few people read newspapers now.â
DâAluiso says habits âvaryâ according to the municipality, levels of education and local rules. She believes rules and guidelines need to be kept simple to âmotivate peopleâ. âBesides, grade schools are a good place to initiate children in the habit of recycling. âThe phrase we find to have better resonance is â'âlessening our waste footprint.â'â âTheâ idea of lessening oneâs waste footprint is an action, and certainly education would be a part of that. One can be made literate on a subject, but still not cause an action,â she adds.
Image credit: Peter Manzelâ