Vlog Post 3

What really is trash?  Is one person’s trash another’s treasure?  Nelson Molina certainly believes so!  Nelson Molina is a, now retired, NYC Department of Sanitation worker who, for over 30 years, collected items that were throw out, and stored them in a warehouse in Harlem.  In an interview with Hyperallergic, Molina describes his ability to spot treasure through a trash bag often by listening or observing the shape and feel of the bag.  I found this to be a really interesting addition as the aesthetics of garbage are most often to hide it away in opaque bags.  As I looked further into the museum, I began to think how these things ended up there.  Did people just trow things out?  Did someone die?  Was it an accident?  How much in value do ya think is thrown away every year?  I wonder what would happen if someone who visited found one of their own heirlooms.

I find this situation to be a bit confusing.  On one hand, finders keepers, but what if it was an accident?  Are there ways to ensure we don’t get rid of precious things?  Are there better places to discard of unwanted items still with value?  What I think is missing from people’s interaction with discard is a lack of creativity when it comes to repurposing or finding ways to more actively get rid of things.  The disconnect and lack of conversation around what to do with things we don’t want causes the anxiety around cleaning.  Studies, and mothers, say that a clean working environment makes keeping thoughts organized easier, but at what cost?  What can be done with things we don’t want?  At first, I thought this museum was a really interesting idea.  However, after looking into it further, I have found it is not often open to the public.  I was confused, as I think to have a museum of collected garbage should be for people to reflect on their own consumption.  I believe the lack of communication around consumption and convenience is harmful to all of us.  The issue, while at the surface, becomes ingrained in us.

We like to be healthy, to pay for organic, and to but all the artisan ally packaged goods, pick out the gluten free and the vegan, but we still aren’t doing much of our part in understanding the value of our consumption.  Since the development of agriculture, we have been able to produce our own consumption, yet more than ever, we rely on the convenience of people packaging our desires, and dumping the responsibility of consumerism on us.  I think the trash museum shows how even valuable or personal things are temporary, and we are always looking to change things up, and move on from items.  We crave more, but hen have to move, and can’t bring it all.  Or worse, we are gifted more space, and thus the desire to fill it.  Without communication between the person, their garbage, and the collector, there is no easy way to remember accidentally throwing away your wedding ring, or precious family photo.  The way we interact with our garbage, “tie it off, throw it to the side, and let it be someone else’s job” does not foster a positive feedback.  It becomes a lack of a thought, and without an inhibitor, consumerism is free to flourish like a virus.  Its is free to run a muck, and alter our perception.  To recycle is to do the better thing, to buy organic is to do the better thing, so if we do more of that, we can just throw everything else out, right?  Does it matter how much we consume so long as we make sure we leave it to someone else to be disposed of properly?  Or worse, do we trust those who don’t know how to properly recycle not to cause the whole lot to be wasted?


The Trash museum:




~ by Miles Quinn Kilcourse on May 11, 2018.