A local dump might seem an unlikely place to create art, but that’s exactly what's been happening at the San Francisco Transfer Station and Recycling Center, Recology, since 1990. As part of Recology's Artist in Residence program, local artists transform trash into art at an on-site studio, using discarded materials sourced directly from the garbage and recycling of San Franciscans.
The idea originated with artist and environmentalist Jo Hanson. After creating her own art with trash and assisting with campaigns such as city-wide street sweepings, in the late 1980s Hanson approached Recology about a program where artists could reuse materials from the dump. At around the same time, San Francisco was implementing new recycling laws, and looking for ways to raise awareness about waste. The artist-in-residence program fit that bill.