Life in Cateura, Paraguay, is tough. The neighborhood is built on a landfill and the people there make their living rummaging through the garbage for things to sell or reuse.
Now they’re using their skills to turn trash into beauty. They’ve started the Recycled Orchestra, in which local children play instruments made from trash. As this video shows, it’s not just a cute pastime. The instruments sounds like proper ones and the kids show real musical talent.
Now their efforts have caught the eye of some independent filmmakers who are working on a documentary about them called Landfill Harmonic. Check out their Facebook page and Twitter feed, for more information.
These kids are growing up in the depths of poverty and yet have made something out of their bleak surroundings. One of the girls in this video says she’d have nothing without her music. As their teacher says, “People realize that we shouldn’t throw away trash carelessly. Well, we shouldn’t throw away people either.”
Ever looked at the mountain of liquids (or, in my case, that luscious, unopened jar of dulce de leche, and countless yogurts) accumulated at airport security and wondered where they end up? Yeah, me too. I’ve always hoped they go to charity and the water bottles recycled, because I have a bit of an idealist streak beneath my jaded exterior.
Our friend Andy Bender over at Forbes helped get to the bottom of this tricky question, and the answers are somewhat surprising. Rather than being palmed by greasy-haired or hungry TSA agents (cause for immediate termination), large airports divvy up the booty by category and dispose of it accordingly, although smaller volume airports may just lump it as trash.
If you lie awake nights pondering the fate of your spendy conditioner or lotion, here’s the breakdown:
Liquids are sorted by type (sunscreen, shampoo, alcohol, contact lens solution, etc.) and emptied into hazmat barrels, which are then collected by waste management companies. They’re disposed of according to environmental regulations (Forbes reports that “water-based solutions are sent to a waste water treatment facility or waste energy recovery facility aka trash-to-stream plant.”
Alcohol ends up being treated at fuel-blending facilities because it’s flammable.
Large quantities of bottles are “chipped” and recycled, but not smaller volumes, which go to the landfill.
For more information on current regulations taking liquids in carry-on, click here. And here’s a tip: by carrying a refillable water bottle, you help reduce the 1.5 million barrels of oil required for U.S. plastic water bottle production each year.
Reduce, reuse, recycle – we’ve heard it ad nauseum, but it’s certainly a great maxim to live by. Bruce Campbell, an Oregon electrical engineer remodeling a retired 727-200 commercial jet into a home, believes he’s on-trend, according to an interview with CNN. He admits it’s not for everyone (it’s like the Ninth Circle of Hell for aviophobics such as myself) but he does have a point about the wings making for a great deck.
For a tour of Campbell’s dream home in progress, watch the video.
If you can’t take an actual round-the-world voyage, a virtual one is your next best bet. Recyclebank recently launched an application that allows users to virtually travel around the planet in order to learn about global sustainability practices, while earning points toward rewards and prizes.
Here’s how it works. Until May 7, users can log onto Recyclebank’s Passport for the Planet website and navigate through four regions to learn about local sustainability practices and how those practices can be applied in other communities. Each week, new regions will be unlocked and new information offered. Along the way, users will be able to earn Recyclebank Points, redeemable for offers and discounts, as well as enter to win prizes including a stay at Plantation, an eco-resort just outside Tampa, Florida.
The hope, said Recyclebank CEO Jonathan Hsu in a release, is that by playing this game, individuals will be inspired to make a global impact through their local choices.
“Be it biking to work, recycling your cereal carton or taking shorter showers – collectively, we all can make a difference and we hope that Passport for the Planet will help inspire and motivate our members to make more green choices that will continue far beyond Earth Month,” Hsu said.
Recycling – with all of the environmental issues the world is facing as well as the upcoming Earth Day holiday – is a hot topic. However, while most people think of recycling in terms of paper, plastic and aluminum, there is another type of recycling that is becoming a growing trend across America: re-purposing travel destinations.
Imagine eating in a restaurant that was once a church, immersing you in an atmosphere of stained glass windows, an alter and Biblical murals. Or, what about sleeping in a hotel that not only housed foreign diplomats after Pearl Harbor and served as an Army Hospital for wounded soldiers, but also held a classified secret government bunker used by Congress? Instead of getting rid of history, these types of places are refurbishing them and allowing travelers to experience them in a new way.
To help celebrate Earth Day, we’ve put together a list of recycled travel sites from around the United States. For a visual idea of these unique places, check out the gallery below.