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I Feel Good, I Knew That I Would, Now

Via the post, “Don’t Make That Indian Cry” at wheresmyjetpack.blogspot.com,

Do I recycle? Yes, almost obsessively. But if I were completely honest, I would admit that the activity is more ceremonial than practical. Somewhat like wearing a (non-organic) t-shirt that proclaims, “SAVE THE PLANET!” or tooling down the highway in a hybrid at 70 mph with a “FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE!” bumper sticker.

It’s not a new argument that the costs, energy and yes, water, used to prepare, collect, transport and process recyclables often exceed the resources used to produce new goods. So rather than congratulate yourselves on your recycling prowess, perhaps ask yourself if you really needed to use it in the first place.

So, gotta go now, it is getting dark and I need to plug in the spotlight that illuminates our “WE RECYCLE!’ yard sign.

How about Sewranee Springs? Effluessence?

Yea, marketing! With a strategic sleight of hand, we can plaster a new name over something less pleasant and magically change everyones’ perceptions! Los Angeles is on to this trick, as noted in this story from Reuters on how the water crisis is forcing the issue of reuse in Los Angeles as the situation intensifies. The article notes,

Just don’t call it “toilet-to-tap.”

County officials prefer the term “Groundwater Replenishment System,” a name chosen after similar projects in Los Angeles and San Diego fell prey to public misconceptions, also known as the “yuck” factor,” and local election-year politics.

Their experience underscores one of the great lessons facing municipal officials across the U.S. West as they seek to bring purification and recycling technologies to bear against drought cycles expected to worsen with climate change.

The ideas are flowing! SiouxArTesian? Trader Joes, here we come! ReAgua? Let’s all join in the fun! You, too, can create your own re-branded, re-positioned “groundwater replenishment” product. Just go to The Soft Drink Generator, an interactive distraction where you can build your very own bottle from the groundwater up.

Post-Festival Fate of the Metheun Tree

Sometimes I’d just stare and think…I wonder what’s become of her? Just a couple months ago we wrote about plastic bottle holiday trees, including this recyclarific example from the 2008 Methuen (Massachussetts) annual Festival of Trees. And now that the holidays are over, we sadly assumed she had been shredded to bits and cruelly bundled in a recycling center or worse, buried alive in a dank, smelly landfill.

So imagine my excitement to see her again while browsing Flickr, under the heading I WON THIS AT THE METHUEN FESTIVAL OF TREES.

This must be this the same tree, I think, but she sure looks different in the morning without her lights! So I send a message to the owner to inquire about her fate… “I’m curious… what happens to it now?”

The happy response: “We have decided to move it to our pool area and keep it as a conversation piece.”  She always loved being by the water, and now she’s a bathing beauty. And possibly headed for another adventure as a emergency rescue flotation device. Ah, life’s funny.

Trendy Store, Trashy Decor

It’s one thing to claim “trash to treasure” but it’s another to greet your customers with it and hang it from your ceiling. And have all be in awe of your cleverness.

In Montevideo, Uruguay is a high end shopping destination, the Punta Carretas Shopping Center, which is housed in a striking building that was formerly a prison. The Magma boutique at Punta Carretas ups the ante on the recycling theme with their designers-gone-wild take on architrash chic.

The store’s outer walls are a light-filtered “sandwich” of empty water bottles.

Inside, this ethereal curtain of plastic discy-things looks somehow familiar.

Yes, I do know you! You are Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, RC, and all our other formerly 2-liter friends.

Since I’m unlikely to ever get to Uruguay, thanks, well-traveled Flickr user london2434, for these almost-like-being-there photos.

The aesthetics of recycling: Water Bottle Waterfall


If you were at the Nuit Blanche Festival in Toronto, October 4-5, 2008, you’d have been fortunate to have viewed this spectacular installation. “Waterfall” by Katherine Harvey is described as a giant “duvet” of commercial fishing nets filled with dumpster loads of recycled bottles. Draped from the Ontario Power Generation building, it was dramatically lit from below so that viewers approaching might anticipate falling water but when closer to the piece will instead discover a mass of plastic refuse.

From Flickr, Photo #1 by Veggiefrog and Photo #2 by willy chan88.

RNC: Protesters OK with bottled water in Minnesota

Denver might have been “green” but Minneapolis is greener, as protest organizers sell bottled water for $3.00 a pop. And where are those dandy recycling bins from last week–no room in the van? Thanks to Kevin D. Hendricks for sharing these fine photos on Flickr.