Author Archive

NYC’s Festival of Ideas

I got a chance to go to the Festival Ideas this morning. Very cool local businesses + organizations, green projects, and workshops to check out/get involved with. As well, you can drop off your e-waste or food scraps for compost. One workshop that caught my attention was the Upcycle Art Workshop where you can learn how to turn plastic bottles into beautiful objects. I love the idea of “Upcycle”. And of course there was performance artist Edith Raw’s “White Trash” piece, walking around wearing a headpiece made of various plastics and a dress made of clear plastic garbage bags filled with trash. Here are some highlights from the festival:

packaged garbage

"white trash"

Truck Farm

Green NYC



thinking about trash + space

Last night’s presentation got me thinking about the street, the trash receptacle, and the spaces in between. As Cindy shared in class, the frustration of carrying around a piece of trash, whether it be plastic food packaging or an empty M&M’s bag, looking for a place for disposal. Holes and crevices around the city sometimes end up as informal places where garbage gets tucked into.


Response to Team E-Waste Inquiry #3: Digital Sorting

I would say I spend on average very little time actually organizing and sorting my digital data in my various hard drives. At a capacity of 500 or 750 GB a drive, I own 6 drives in total. I wish I could say I keep them well organized, but most of the time I end up dumping files onto whichever drive I have handy, some files are backed up, some not. The things I end up discarding mostly (in order to acquire more room on the drives) are previous versions of video projects, Photoshop files, photos, etc. I do plan on going through each hard drive, backing up each file onto a master drive, and sorting each item into appropriate folders so I can easily access things. BUT the whole idea of the process makes me feel overwhelmed even though it would probably take a few hours to do so.

In terms of digital sorting, I would say I spend at least an two – three hours a day sorting through my various sources of information. Whether it be clicking on links I find worth clicking on to investigate further on Twitter, watching videos or reading articles sent to me by friends or family by email, or going through pages of blogs I frequent to sort out things I find valuable enough to share with others or Bookmark. I often wonder if spending hours on the Internet “researching” is productive or a waste of time.


Response to Team E-Waste Inquiry #2: Immaterial E-Waste

I think electronic waste can be seen as an improvement to carrying around your various mediums to store information. I’m a big fan of Dropbox, Google Docs, and my iphone Notes to keep my information easily accessible online wherever I may be. In terms of e-waste/hoarding, I would say I hoard notes from my Iphone and my Emails. A lot of times, I use my Iphone Notes as a quick and easy way to remind me of things I need to look up or important numbers. However, many times they don’t serve so well after awhile, quickly becoming e-waste when I revisit them weeks later and can’t make sense of what I have written. I end up with pages and pages of e-waste that I don’t want to delete because I obviously felt like it was important enough for me to make a note of, but also can’t decipher! Also, I’m sure I speak for most when saying that I always put off cleaning up my Gmail Inbox until the number of emails  becomes exponentially so great that I can’t fathom going through and sorting which emails are relevant, and which ones I am willing to delete.

Response to Case 5, Inquiry #1: Material E-Waste

Not my own e-waste but I stumbled upon this wreckage last weekend. Someone obviously didn’t know what to do with their electronic waste and left/threw it outside. I think many people are unsure of how to dispose of their old electronics. Interestingly, I just came across an article about the New York electronic waste recycling program.

“The law establishes a ban on disposal of ewaste; it will be phased in beginning April 1, 2011, for manufacturers, retailers, collection sites, and consolidation and recycling facilities. Beginning January 1, 2015, individuals and households will no longer be able to place or dispose of any electronic waste in a landfill or waste-to-energy facility or place electronic waste for collection that is intended for disposal at such types of facilities.”


Plastic is beautiful

“Plastic in itself is not evil, the evil is in single-use plastic”. One thing we didn’t touch on is artists who give life to discarded plastic by using it as their medium. Artists Richard and Judy Lang take colorful discarded plastic debris they find on the beach as an inspiring material to create art from, probing us to think about our relationship with plastic, while giving meaning to these discarded plastic items. They mention that a lot of the pieces they find are one-time use plastics, most common they found were cheese spreaders for Kraft handy snacks.

museo aero solar is “the first flying museum, built with recycled plastic bags, that flies only with solar energy. A solar flying canvas. Any plastic bag off any size, color, and thickness is useful.


Everyday Plastic

To begin our discussions of Plastics, we would like to invite you to contribute thoughts on your interactions with plastic for the day. List or name one interaction you have with  plastic during the course of the day, and how many seconds/minutes/months it lasted/will last.

For example, I bought a coffee today and between purchasing it, drinking it,  then disposing of the plastic coffee lid, my interaction lasted around one hour.

Plastic coffee lid – 1 hour


This morning I washed my dishes with a plastic handled scrubber which I brought last week and will probably use it for 5-8 months before throwing it out (and getting a new one).

Plastic scrubber – 5-8 months

Also, please share one aspect of your life you can’t imagine without plastic?


– The Plastics Group (Elizabeth, Vicky, Tassos)