"What's In Your Garbage?"

For the Trash Issue, we asked 18 designers, “What’s in your garbage?”

Sam Weber
The photo is of my recycling bin, holding some reference photos and crumpled-up drawings.
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Natasha Jen, Pentagram
One 9-by-12–inch manila envelope; one padded manila envelope from a book-seller; two Starbucks grande-size cups; two crumpled yellow Post-its; one crumpled receipt; one letterhead-size color laser printout; two hardboiled eggs in a plastic container that was sitting on my desk for three days.
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Armin Vit and Bryony Gomez-Palacio, UnderConsideration
Since we have a home office, our recycling bin is a receptacle for both business and personal recyclables, so we have everything from yogurt containers to Amazon boxes and FedEx envelopes. Right now it’s an especially heavy recycling season because we are receiving entries for our FPO Awards, so there are a lot of boxes and tubes coming in. For the record, the beers and Mountain Dew were consumed separately.
Photo: Kelly Cree and Jessica Mullen, UnderConsideration
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Sara Cwynar, The New York Times Magazine
I never managed to buy a garbage can when I moved to New York. I always use these green bags from the grocery store down the street. I’ve been making color-coded photos, so I’ve been buying everything in bright colors—pink, yellow, green—then trying to use as much of them as I can. Hence the blue cups, yellow Post-its and elastics, and pink earplugs. Also some more standard garbage stuff in there: alcohol swabs from a recent studio injury, library notice from an absurdly overdue book, Kleenex.
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Timothy Goodman
Paper (left): Loads of tracing paper and scrap paper from projects I’m working on. Also, the mysterious Entertainment Weekly I get in the mail every week for free. Seriously, why?
Plastic (right): Organic orange-juice containers, blueberry container, Brooklyn Lager, and my newfound favorite drink, chocolate coconut water!
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Kenton Powell, Bloomberg Businessweek
Nothing too interesting. Just some receipts and a big dust bunny. I tend to find those when I’m rifling under my bed to find shoes.
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Julia Hoffmann, the Museum of Modern Art
Left: 11:45 a.m. This is my trash now, and it’ll most likely look like this tonight. Right: 7:00 p.m. Now with a clear garbage bag and newspaper. (I had a day full of meetings.) Sorry for being an incredibly boring trash keeper.
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Oded Ezer
Papers for recycling: a FedEx envelope that was sent to me from California by one of my clients; a type specimen (not good enough yet!); and some unsuccessful project sketches and scraps of paper underneath. Sometimes I recycle ideas. It’s good for the environment.
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Randy Hunt, Etsy
Here, a collection of things I recently pulled from the top of the recycling bin. The back of a résumé, some cute promotions from an Etsy seller, a card from a friend. I use all sorts of things for quick notes and sketches.
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Nadine Chahine
Left: Several newspapers, leaflets, and dress tags waiting for recycling. Bad Hom­burg, near Frankfurt, distributes its local paper by mail. Right: Dress tag from a recent purchase. This was taken during a trip, but I doubt that the hotel recycles. It would be great if we can convince the hotel chains to start implementing that.
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OCD Agency
The garbageman came yesterday. Shown here is one day’s worth of the trash that accumulates in our desk bins. (No food, or the dog would eat it.)
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Paul Sahre
This is clearly not the paperless office of the future. We are still cranking out as much paper waste as ever.
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Walter Green, Lucky Peach
My clichéd print-designer trash is the result of a marathon session designing issue four of Lucky Peach: many bottles of bourbon, failed lettering tries, doodles, and multicolored Post-its marking corrections on printer proofs. If you find any errors in the magazine, this photo should explain why.
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Elana Schlenker, Gratuitous Type
My apartment doubles as a work space for me and my boyfriend, and the evidence lies in our recycling—coffee fuels our days, and we wind down with a beer or two at night. This week the bin’s a little heavy on the latter. We celebrated some good news with friends and a case of Miller High Life, the champagne of beer.
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TOKY
We were just as curious about what was in our trash. It turned out to be a few recognizable categories, plus odds and ends: tarot cards, a plastic mustache, a dog’s-head photo-on-a-stick, and five pacifiers. Quark may not be recyclable after all.
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Nicole Jacek, Karlssonwilker
Left: For show.
Right: For real.
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Indra Kupferschmid
Probably like most designers, I keep old test prints for sketching on the back. Then there is a random box for wastepaper collection, a bag for mixed waste hanging from a hook, and stacks of old envelopes for reuse.
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This story is from the August 2012 issue of Print. Purchase the issue, or download a PDF version, from MyDesignShop.com.
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8 thoughts on “"What's In Your Garbage?"

  1. Oof

    Revised title for this post should be entitled, “Majority of Contributors arrange their trash to show themselves in best/most interesting/artsy light”. Congrats to Sahre, Jacek@Karlssonwilker, and Elana, for not indulging in the vanity of haute-trash-curation and showing a possible honest look at a pile of rubbish that resulted from a few days of inhabitation and consumption. As opposed to the selective tossing of some clever storyboards and sketches, or in Hoffman’s case, the NYT The Arts section is all that requires disposal, she possesses a truly enviable carbon footprint.

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