RISD Waste For Life / Basura Asura Por Vida @ RISD
In 2003, after the Argentine economy collapsed 30,000 to 40,000 people made their daily living collecting trash off the streets of Buenos Aires. Three years later well established cartonero (card board picking) collectives had successfully lobbied the government to legalize their trash collection, enforce curbside source separation to aid recycling, and provide childcare for their members. But income for the cartoneros is still dependent on the commodity value of recyclables. In 2007, the NGO Waste for Life began working with the collectives to develop salable products from recycled plastic shopping bags.
RISD joined this effort in 2009. The Department of Industrial Design with a grant from the Office of Academic Affairs built a “Kingston press” to thermo-form the bags to make new materials this past Fall. Ernesto Livon – Grossman’s award winning documentary Cartoneros was screened for the Year of Providence with assistance from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, HPSS and ID. This Spring, Respond|Design and the Office of Public Engagement are co-sponsoring the school-wide ideas competition Its in the Bag, and courses in several departments are taking up the materials for further investigation. The best outcomes from these investigations will be shared with the Waste for Life network in the Summer of 2010.
This cross departmental initiative, offers students a venue for the critical evaluation of hybrid materials, a close investigation of material properties of a constructed material, the opportunity to rethink paradigms for green materials, and to engage in a concrete socially-responsible design project.
For more info see http://risdwasteforlife.wordpress.com/