Volvo Trucks and Swedish waste management company Renova have partnered to test autonomous garbage truck. Their aim is for safer, more efficient refuse handling and a better working environment for drivers.
When German photographer Julia Marie Werner found a scruffy homeless dog hunting for scraps of food in her garage in Spain, she fell in love with him immediately. While other people saw nothing but a homeless mutt, she saw a brave little lion, and she now wants the world to share her vision with this heartwarming series of photographs.
“He already looked like Simba to me,” Julia told Bored Panda. “And I am a big Lion King Fan. A friend of mine had some fabric left over so one afternoon we stitched the mane together.”
The cute canine model is named Tschikko Leopold von Werner, and the project is called Grossstadtlowe, which means “Big City Lion”. And as you can see from these pictures, he really does look like the king of the (urban) jungle!
“In the beginning he was very insecure,” said Julia. “Someone who knows a lot about dogs told me the best thing is “working“ with him and teaching him some tricks. He loves jumping on things and using the mane. The picture are both a game and teamwork between us.”
Julia believes that Tschikko was left to fend for himself after being thrown from a car in Spain. He’s come a long way since then, not just emotionally but also geographically, as after deciding to adopt him Julia brought Tschikko back to live with her in Germany.
“Everybody takes pictures of him,” said Julia. “Little kids often ask me if he is a real lion!”
Like big art? French-Tunisian artist eL Seed’s newest “caligraffiti” mural is enormous, both in size and emotional weight. The anamorphic piece, called Perception, spans over 50 buildings in Cairo’s Manshiyat Nasr neighborhood and challenges viewers (everywhere) to see the world around them more carefully. so
The area is known as the “Garbage City” and houses over 60,000 Coptic residents who have developed a highly nuanced system for reclaiming and recycling trash. While their efforts have gained international media attention, in Egypt the community is still regarded as nothing but a slum.
Despite their innovative repurposing of ~80% of the city’s refuse, its residents (called Zabaleen or “Garbage people”) live without basic infrastructure like electricity and water, and are met locally with disdain and few opportunities. As eL Seed points out on his website:
“The Coptic community of Zaraeeb…developed the most efficient and highly profitable recycling system on a global level. Still, the place is perceived as dirty, marginalized and segregated.”
To bring beauty to the neighborhood and affirm the value and contributions of its cultural-minority Coptic community, the massive calligraphic mural incorporates the words of Saint Athanasius, a Coptic Bishop from the 3rd century: “Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first.”
Not a fan of graffiti? Cool your civic heels. Before embarking on the massive project, the artist met with local community members and property owners to gain permission and trust. Key among them was the Reverend Father Samaan Ibrahim, who serves the Coptic Orthodox population in one of the biggest churches anywhere in the Middle East. Having the blessings of local leaders, the project went both beautifully and respectfully.
Working with a team of 40+ painters, eL Seed found the neighborhood more welcoming, enthusiastic, and generous than any previous project, despite the hardships faced daily by its residents.
“They don’t live in the garbage but from the garbage; and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city. They are the [ones] who clean the city of Cairo.”
As the immense and multi-site piece changes the look of Manshiyat Nasr, here’s hoping it helps change perceptions too.
Waste management in an urban environment is a big job, and it’s one that requires teamwork. That’s why Volvo is teaching drones how to tag-team garbage removal. The ROAR project (RObot-based Autonomous Refuse […]
As ID students at Pratt, my buddy and I were drinking beers one night in his dorm room. Maybe we were old enough to drink, maybe we weren’t, maybe you should mind your own business. In any case, after he finished his beer he opened the window and threw the can out of it. It fell six stories and landed on the lawn.
“The hell are you doing?” I asked.
“Recycling,” he said, cracking open another beer.
We’d previously seen a local man, whom we assumed was homeless, carefully collecting cans and bottles from garbage cans in the neighborhood. My buddy’s rationale was that he may as well let that guy have the nickel, rather than recycling himself, and that throwing cans on the lawn made it easier for the man to retrieve them versus digging through bins. I couldn’t fault his logic, however perverse the delivery system.
Those of us that do not live in poverty can recycle because it is the right thing to do; it is practically a privilege. But for those who live in poverty, recycling can be less about right/wrong and more about hungry/not hungry. Which leads us to the question: If recycled goods have value to the impoverished, how does all of that recyclable plastic trash currently floating around the ocean get there in the first place?
It’s easy to imagine us garbage-producing Americans kicking empty Doritos bags off the decks of our yachts. But in fact, according to an eye-opening article by Boston-based independent news organization GlobalPost, there are five countries that “spew more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world together”—some 60% of the global total—and those countries are all in Asia.
The countries are China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, and it’s tough for us to fault them because the problem appears to be poverty. Without ample funding, within these countries “only about 40 percent of garbage is properly collected,” leading citizens to organically create their own communal dumps. Both these and the official dumps are often intentionally sited close to riverbanks or shores, where the wind will cast it into the ocean, creating more room on land.
Enter the legion of ultra-poor recyclers, and we begin to see part of the solution and where it needs to be shored up:
Asia’s garbage pickers are the unsung heroes of conservation. They brave filth and disease to root through trash and extract plastic that can be sold to recyclers for a little cash. This ensures that lots of junk is recycled rather than abandoned in landfills.
But these pickers tend to focus on high-value items — like plastic bottles — in lieu of plastic bags, which fetch very little from recyclers.
According to Ocean Conservancy, a scavenger might spend 10 hours gathering plastic bags and take home a mere 50 cents. Devoting that day to picking up only plastic bottles, however, would rack up $ 3.70.
That means that scavengers skip over much of the waste, which can later end up in the sea.
The images are heartbreaking, and I suddenly realize my dorm story from above is neither funny nor cute. Surely fellow human beings should not have to subject themselves to this in order to eat, but that is the current global reality. So the question is, while this situation exists and the dumping will continue, what ought we do? How can we create economic incentives to get all of the garbage out? And more relevant to our readership, what can individual designers do?
The answer to the latter question might be nothing, but that doesn’t mean we oughtn’t try. Next we’ll look at an ID student aiming to make more of a difference than my buddy and I ever did by throwing beer cans out of a window.