America’s Waste in Focus: A Photoseries

Recently, photojournalist Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio, created photoseries “Waste in Focus” to highlight real families, their waste habits, and highlight solutions. The series follows eight families around the country from San Francisco, Atlanta, Phoenix and New York City, and are of different backgrounds and ethnicities.

On average, Americans send about half of their waste to landfill.
“Working with a precise set of instructions, but asked not to change their usual waste management habits, each of the eight families saved one week’s worth of household trash and recycling. D’Aluisio and Menzel then sorted, weighed, cataloged and cleaned the waste, as well as participated 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.”

click on thumbnails to see the full image

The Glad Products Company sponsored the series and provided some great tips for waste reduction.

1. Most composting involves waiting for organic materials to aerobically decompose, but coffee grounds and eggshells can be sprinkled in your garden immediately.

2. Some fruits, like apples and tomatoes give off natural gases that speed up spoilage of other produce. Store them separately and keep vegetables apart from fruits to reduce food waste.

3. Some fruits and veggies like bananas and potatoes aren’t fridge-friendly. Keep these in a dry, cool place instead.

4. In addition to newspaper, most communities accept corrugated cardboard and tissue boxes. Some even accept catalogues and phone books.

5. Salsa and peanut butter jars are two examples of reusable containers for food storage. And when it’s time to replace them, they’re recyclable.


YGL staff