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Landfill Harmonic

This video has been making the rounds. It is a clip from Landfill Harmonic, an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where the musicians play instruments made out of trash. I decided to repost it as it seems like an appropriate message for the holidays—it's very inspiring!

Cateura, Paraguay is a town largely built on top of a landfill. Like many poor communities built on or next to garbage dumps, recyclers rummage through the trash for sellable goods. According to the Landfill Harmonic website, Cateura's children are frequently at risk of getting involved with drugs and gangs.

guitars photo

Nicolas, a recycler who lives by the garbage dump…

Holiday Toy Swap Event

Looking for a great holiday reuse event?

Reuse event sign photoTry a "toy exchange."

I had the privilege of participating in a recent toy exchange event sponsored by the Northampton Department of Public Works ReUse Committee. This was the second annual Toy Exchange for this community of 28,540, located in Western Massachusetts.

According the DPW's Waste Management Supervisor, Karen Bouquillon, "Participants reaped all of the benefits of reuse—like saving money, natural resources, and energy, while providing free toys for local families. As an added bonus, it was a great opportunity to de-clutter before the holidays!"

The event was extremely well organized. Volunteers from the City's Reuse Committee received donations of used toys and sporting equipment on Friday, December 7 from 5pm-8pm and Saturday, December 8 from 8am-9am.…

Reducing our Global Holiday Footprint

Alternative holiday treee photoAll those catalogs: According to Catalog Choice, U.S. households receive over 83 billion pieces of advertising mail each year. The organization estimates that, 46% is never read and 38% is not recycled.

While we all like to look at the nice pictures of items in catalogues, the Internet affords us an equally pleasing view of most catalogues. Ordering items online is certainly faster and easier than ordering through catalogues. Catalogue Choice offers an easy "opt out" online answer to many of the most popular catalogues. It may take some persistence on our part to eliminate catalogue mailings as retailers like us to receive their catalogues, but even a small reduction in catalogue production can have a huge impact on our environment.

Read more | Comments (0) | Dec 11, 2012

Memories of NERC’s Past

Jan Ameen, the Executive Director of the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District had these thoughts on her first encounter with NERC—early in her career in the waste management field.

NERC mug photo

The Mug

"I recently read Shelley Dresser's article and it brought back lots of memories from my early days in the field. I graduated from Antioch in May 1990 and landed a job as the Vermont State Offices Recycling Coordinator in September of that year. My job was to set up recycling collections in state buildings in Waterbury, Montpelier (including the State House), correctional facilities, judicial buildings, state parks, and regional state offices.

In 1991, I participated in NERC's Office Wastepaper Study conducted by Jaakko Poyry. Mary from Jaakko Poyry showed…