Did you know that Recology San Francisco has an Artist in Residence program that is open to all Bay Area residents? And the best part is that they offer tours of the program, so even if you aren’t interested in working at “the dump” for 4 months, you can still go on a tour of the program and see what kind art is being made.
Recology should be thought of as a “resource recovery” facility because the goal is to have zero waste. Plastic bottles can be turned into fleece jackets, or outdoor rugs, yard waste and compostables can be turned into compost for landscaping, vineyards and gardening, just to name a few. If you go on the tour you’ll learn SO MUCH about recycling. About half of the people on the tour with me were really interested in recycling and wanted to know more about the facility and the other half were artists that are interested in applying for the Artist in Residence program, which is accepting applications right now. If you are even the slightest bit interested in either, you should go on the tour.
The materials that the artists use for art all comes from the Public Disposal building. The only people allowed to scavenge this building are the Artists in Residence. The public isn’t allowed to do so when they’re dropping off something. Anyone in the Bay Area can drive to the facility, located just south of San Fransisco, and dump a truck load of junk. The artists don’t go through the materials in our plastic bins. Every single thing that the artists use in their art must come from the trash. If they want paint, they need to use paint that someone has thrown away. They have to be incredibly resourceful.
The tour includes a walk through the sculpture garden that is just up the hill from Recology San Francisco. I took photos of some of the sculptures. The tour starts in a nice little art gallery on Tunnel Ave. The tours are on the 3rd Saturday of the month and the 4th Wednesday. Check their website for details and to make a reservation. There is plenty of time for questions and answers about recycling and garbage during the tour. The tour includes stairs and hills. There is also currently an exhibition in the United Airline terminal at SFO, but you need to have a ticket for a flight to get into that part of the terminal.
One thing that I really noticed is that Recology is doing all they can to meet their goal of zero waste, but they don’t have all the answers. I think that they need the public to try harder to separate recyclables from garbage and compostables. And in many situations, there simply isn’t a method to recycle certain items that we wish could be salvaged and turned into something else. The tour makes you more aware of how much you consume, how much packaging you use and how well you sort everything before the Recology truck comes to pick it up from your home, school or work place.
After the artists finish their time in the program, Recology hosts a 2 day public exhibition and reception for them. They leave 3 pieces of their art behind and it is added to Recology’s permanent collection. We got to meet one of the artists that is in the program and he told us what he’ll be working on for the summer. I can’t wait go back in September to see Chad Hasegawa’s big bear sculpture. Thanks Recology San Francisco for showing me all kinds of creative possibilities and inspiring me to do a better job at recycling. I loved your tour!