Yesterday, was the culmination of six months of experimenting and two weeks of preparation with the local high school.  Together, we cleaned up the village, dug out the trash from the school’s garbage pit and dumped everything into the town’s centre plaza. What a mess!

But the students were eager to help out.  The last two weeks we’d been studying just what kind of nasty things our trash does to our environment, the oceans and… ourselves.  There was no hesitation or finagling:  All 207 students set to work segregating the trash in a dazzling display of impassioned collaboration.

You might have seen my early post on my experiments making trash bottle bricks.  Well, what couldn’t be recycled (like the toxic dirt from years of burned trash) we packed and sealed into specifically cut 1.5L coke and sprite bottles (a pair of bottles is cut at certain measurements so that the parts create an assortment of wall, floor, and pillar bricks).  After the lunch break a veritable Segregation and Packing Factory established itself on the plaza to attack the  mounds of Trash.  Steadily, the once imposing piles of noxious nastiness disappeared as we stashed it all into the bottle bricks.

By the end of the day, we had far exceeded my expectations for our production– we had made almost 1000 bricks!

My good friend Niklaus and his partner Christa played an integral role in crafting the vision for the cleanup.  Niklaus is a professional gardener from Switzerland.  We make a good team– I have the ideas on how to recycle the plastic trash, while he knows what to do with the organic stuff.  No solution for the town’s garbage is complete without dealing with both the inorganic and the organic wastes.

The plan?  The students are eager to build something with the bricks now.  With all the bricks we will build compost pits and a segregation bins for the school.   The staff are also inspired. They all want to use the brick  stashing technique on their regular clean up day at the end of every month. If they keep this up, they’ll be able to build a recycling palace!

Marshall McCluhan writes “The Medium is the Message”.  Indeed, if we can build a recycling and composting centre from recycled trash… well, the medium will be the message.  That’s the way you do it!


Click the photos to enlarge.