From Trash to Treasure

The documentary ‘I Love Trash’ by David Brown and Greg Mann, will get you thinking; not only about the fact that some people on earth can very comfortably live off the waste of others, but also about humanity’s role in taking care of the only planet we have to live on.

Sometimes things are trashed for the wrong reasons. They haven’t outlived their usefulness and can be used again, either by someone in need, or by an artist who wants to re-purpose that trash into something else. Using your creativity, you can find new ways to use things you would normally discard, and this documentary shows that beautifully. Discarded things can become ‘found art’ on their own, or they can be worked into something else entirely, like a painting, sculpture, or decorative piece.

In the film, the two main characters conduct an experiment. They move into an apartment for three months and choose not to put anything into it that wasn’t found in the garbage. They decide not to buy anything, not even food or fuel, but take care of all their needs using second hand items. Along the way they interview other trash collectors and artists who all have the same hobby for different purposes. Some do it for the sheer thrill of the hunt, to satisfy their curiosity for the unknown. It’s like an adventure. Others do it to serve their artistic purposes, and yet others merely do it for survival. The many interviews conducted (by David Brown and Greg Mann) contain fascinating insights, and will make you think differently about how much you purchase on impulse on a daily basis, and how many new things we purchase in general that really aren’t necessary to our health, growth and well-being.

Everything you could ever possibly want can be found second hand, and if you’re not one to go digging in the garbage, then join your local free-cycle group or check the ‘free’ section on Craigslist.  You may just discover the final element missing from the masterpiece you are creating in your mind, or something that you need simply for practical reasons. There is no reason to always buy new when someone is likely giving away (or throwing away) the exact item that you are looking for. So keep your eyes open for opportunities and think outside the box. Why not try a white elephant exchange with your friends? Engage your creativity the next time you see something that might otherwise be discarded. It might spark a new way of looking at the whole world around you!

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November 13, 2012. Tags: , , . movies.

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