We are experts in excess. We are tireless consumers committed to the fearless disposal of unwanted goods. We know, can, and must do better.
Here’s a snapshot of our waste and consumption rates:
- The average American discards 4.34 pounds of garbage every day (EPA Facts and Figures)
- The United States, with less than 5 percent of the global population, uses about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources, burning up nearly 25 percent of the coal, 26 percent of the oil, and 27 percent of the world’s natural gas. –Worldwatch Institute, State of the World 2004 Special Focus: The Consumer Society, January 2004,I SBN: 0-393-32539-3)
- Humanity is now consuming over 20 percent more natural resources than the Earth can produce, causing rapid declines in wild animal populations. –World Wildlife Fund, Living Planet Report 2004
- Cancer, asthma, birth defects, developmental disabilities, autism, endometriosis, infertility and Parkinson’s disease are becoming increasingly common: these serious health problems are linked to chemical exposures from air, water and food, homes, schools and workplaces. –World Bank Group, “Toxics and Poverty”, 2002
Our consumption rates, especially in the United States, have been intentional. We have been tricked into thinking that we need to buy more and lured into accumulating as much stuff as possible before we die. If we keep practicing these behaviors, compounded by looming population growth, we’re definitely going to run out of stuff!
The good news is that we are capable of being far more creative with our stuff and staying focused on the “reduce” and “reuse” principles that precede “recycling” to begin to address the root of our manufacturing obsessions.
Soon after moving to Portland in 2006, I became acquainted with Junk to Funk® and currently serve as a founding member of the House of Trashion (trash + fashion). Junk to Funk inspires individuals toward responsible consumerism, creative re-use and conscientious disposal by providing unique fashion based entertainment and educational programs.
Through my involvement with Junk to Funk, I have made garments out of a variety of non-recyclable materials including records, wires, used coffee filters, and discarded inflatable rafts that I found along the Clackamas River. While these avant-garde garments may not demonstrate the practicality of wearing obscure materials everyday they do draw attention to the fact that we are capable of creatively re-using objects for everyday living.
In December 2009, I filed Classy Trash as a business. The mission of Classy Trash is to transform the way we engage with our trash by inspiring and empowering individuals to reinvent their refuse as chic accessories and functional home furnishings and decor.
The benefits of Classy Trash are to:
▪ Provide accessible alternatives to mass manufactured goods
▪ Create unique, one of a kind treasures
▪ Decrease the volume of our landfills
▪ Decrease personal clutter by transforming what you already have
Classy Trash is simple. I make stuff (jewelry, home accessories, etc.) out of my personal excess. Stay tuned for product information and how to order. Classy Trash can also help you transform your own excess into new items through creative re-use ideas, instructions and custom commissioned projects. Please contact me if your excess is in need of a facelift!
- Environmentalists. Every Day.
- Clean Air Council – Waste and Recycling Facts
- EPA Waste Facts
- Oregon Metro
- The Story of Stuff
- Junk to Funk’s House of Trashion
- Modified Style