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Taking the lid off America's trash cans
On average, Americans send about half of their waste to landfill. Focused on spreading awareness about this eye-opening issue, The Glad Products Company sponsored award-winning photojournalist Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Aluisio's newest photo series, a project called 'Waste in Focus', that takes a real life, moment-in-time look at what eight families around the country are recycling, composting and sending to landfill in a recent week. It's a timely project, coinciding with as New York City's announcement that it is to expands household composting.
The families, each with four members, live in San Francisco, Atlanta, Phoenix and New York City, and are of different backgrounds and ethnicities.
Working with a precise set of instructions, but asked not to change their usual waste management habits, each of the families saved one week's worth of household waste and recycling. Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel then sorted, weighed, catalogued and cleaned the waste, while participating in a consultation with regional waste managers to ensure accuracy in item placement for the resulting portraits. With consistency in each photo - recycling on one side and landfill trash on the other - the team independently developed data and stories to accompany each photo.
"After more than 40 years as a photojournalist, I'm extremely conscious of the story that the images I capture are telling and this project was no different," says Peter Menzel, photojournalist and co-author, with Faith D'Aluisio, of the award winning book - Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. "Faith and I have wanted to visually tell a story about waste in our consumer society for many years and we were intrigued when GLAD came to us with an offer to sponsor this public service campaign. This is a great way to start a conversation about trash literacy, and how the US can better handle its waste."
GLAD will formally unveil the eight 'Waste in Focus' photos today, partnering with the New York City Department of Sanitation at a press conference in Times Square. A supporter of the city's curbside collection of organic materials, which aims to reduce the 11,000 tons of waste New Yorkers produce every day, GLAD joins city officials to announce the broad expansion of the programme to more than 100,000 new homes and discuss how local municipalities influence the amount of waste diverted to recycling and compost. GLAD is providing 32,000 coupons to residents of New York City that are part of the expanded programme. The photo exhibit will also be on display at New York's Union Square on Earth Day.
"As a category leader, GLAD has a long history of making innovative products that help consumers waste less and help lessen the company's own environmental impact, as well as spreading awareness of waste reduction," says Scott Lazarczyk, marketing director, The Glad Products Company. "In support of the Environmental Protection Agency's goal to divert 80% of waste from landfills by 2020, GLAD is sponsoring this photographic series as one of many ways to help educate consumers about the importance of reaching this goal."
Image: Yuliya Radchenko and Walid Halabi of NYC, New York, with their children Zacharia, 7, and Khalid, 11, surrounded by a week's worth of their recyclables and landfill trash, in February. Recyclable items are on the left-hand side of the photo.
10th April 2014