LANDFILL SITE ‘COLLECTIONS’

These Photo Collages are my response to an overwhelming landscape. Commonly known as a’ Landfill Site’, it is a location that receives our crap – stuff we chuck away and forget about. I thought I might put some of it back together again. Mattresses, Toys, Shoes and Packaging.

I arrived on an extremely hot and dusty day, the stench was unbelievable but after a half hour or so I got used to it. There is I feel, a terrible beauty to the vast multi-coloured landscape and a pleasure in roaming it, finding strange and poetic single items discarded and laid to waste there. It is by far the most unusual landscape I have ever encountered. In my visits to the site I never encountered a single human person, but there we were: everywhere. Our collective wasteful entrepreneurship fixes us to this place as securely as a map pin. The mapping of this place is via our discarded consumables, a daily document of black bags and bright carriers, clothing, toys, mattresses and sofas, rotting foodstuffs and personal papers cloaking the slopes and troughs of the site. This is landscape we have actively created and are intimately located within. For further information and photographs visit my website stevemepstedphotography.com

Some Notes:

  1. • Today in the UK it is estimated that each household throws away over a tonne of waste annually. In addition, for every tonne of products we buy, ten tonnes of resources are used to produce them. Around 70% of our household waste has the potential to be either recycled or composted.
  2. • Despite the fact that the majority of the general public regard recycling as worthwhile, and that over 65% of households have access to kerbside collection recycling schemes, only 14.5% of dustbin contents are recycled or composted.
  3. • Since the 1980’s, household waste arisings in the UK have risen from just under 400 Kg per person to over 500 Kg per person per year. Such an increase can be attributed to economic growth, social change, and waste collection methods.
  4. • The increase in waste has closely mirrored that of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the increase in single person households and increase in wheeled bin household waste collections have exacerbated the problem.
  5. • 3000 BC – In the Cretan capital, Knossos, the first recorded landfill sites were created where waste was placed in large pits and covered with earth at various levels.
  6. • 2010 AD – Most of the waste we produce in England and Wales is put in about 1,500 landfill sites. About 100 million tonnes of waste a year is landfilled.
  7. Materials Recovery Facilities plan to recycle 95% of our rubbish and will eventually replace Landfill.
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