Tag Archives: garbage

Stalking Garbage

Chasing TruckBy Clare Trapasso

The garbage truck speeds up and I begin to run. I race down the sidewalk of the Lower East Side weaving through pedestrians. I’m stopped by a light, cars zoom by in front of me and the thundering truck turns left a block away from where I am standing. I should have known they were trying to lose me after the driver flashed me a sardonic smile and waved. I just didn’t think he’d slam on the gas pedal so forcefully .

I’m trying to follow the trail of trash by foot, train and taxi — from the moment New York City Department of Sanitation workers pick up the garbage on the curb outside of my apartment until it reaches its final destination, the Covanta Essex Facility in Newark, New Jersey. There it will be stuffed into a boiler and used to fuel the production of electricity.

My journey started around 7:40 a.m. when a garbage truck rumbled by. Johnny, a thin fellow with a thick, brown mustache, gets out of the white Department of Sanitation vehicle and starts hauling the plump, black garbage bags over his shoulder to the truck. When I tell him I plan to follow the truck on foot, he seems relieved to have some company. He’s been doing this for over 20 years

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E-Waste

Garbage electricityBy Cynthia Allen

The lobby of Supreme Computer Recycling, Inc. in Lakewood, NJ is posh. At the industrial park in Ocean County, New Jersey, most of the neighboring companies have modest buildings. But here the floor of the lobby is made of brown and white marble. Dark brown, leather couches surround a coffee table, creating a sitting area decorated with live plants. A 42” plasma-screen television hangs on one of the mahogany-paneled walls.

An elaborate presentation plays on the TV. It is highlighting the dangers of electronic waste—toxic chemicals inside computers and monitors that leak lead, mercury and cadmium into the water and food supply. “We just recently re-did the whole operations side of the warehouse,” says Mitchell Runko, Director of Operations. “Everything is top of the line.”

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Garbage Art

img_1613.jpgBy Brooke Edwards

New York’s garbage artists have learned not only to live with dirty streets, but to embrace them as part of the city’s landscape and even to profit from them.

“Garbage is the most abundant natural resource in New York City,” says Robert Lederman, president of a street artists’ rights group, ARTIST. “Thousands of artists, including Jackson Pollack, used paint found in the garbage,” Lederman says. “Picasso used ‘trash’ to make sculptures.” Lederman himself uses cardboard found on sidewalks for signs and makes all of his art displays from garbage he finds on the streets.

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