Solid Waste & Recycling


High-fashion trash

The Waste Management Recycle America (WMRA) material recycling facility (MRF) in Port Newark was the key design ele...

The Waste Management Recycle America (WMRA) material recycling facility (MRF) in Port Newark was the key design element in the recent episode of Bravo’s Project Runway. Titled, “Waste not, want not,” the episode’s challenge called for the nine remaining designers to sort through mounds of paper products, mylar, bottle caps and other recycled materials to create a stunning dress that would be judged by four members of the fashion world.

“On the surface, you couldn’t pick two more polar opposites than Waste Management, a company that deals in recylables, and Project Runway, a show aired on Bravo that features top designers and high fashion, and is currently one of the most popular programs on cable TV,” said Matthew Coz, vice president of WMRA’s eastern division. “Doing the show was a great opportunity for us to get out the word about how we Think Green.”

Based in Houston, Texas, WMRA is the largest recycler in North America, operating 85 MRFs that handle 5.8 million tons of commodities each year. The WMRA collection center in the Port of Newark used for the show is primarily a commercial MRF located adjacent to the wetlands near Newark Airport and the New Jersey State Turnpike.

“WM is releasing an updated advertising campaign in early September that continues the environmental protection messages from last year’s campaign,” Coz said. “One of the new ads features a recycling message, so this opportunity presented another platform to educate viewers on recycling. This is an influential show, targeted at people who have an impact in our culture through fashion design.”

The winning designer, Atlanta-based Michael Knight, used a vinyl-coated burlap peanut sack for his skirt and frayed the seams and hem for more interest. He used the reverse side of some mylar tubing, which was gold in color, to make a shapely top. Over this was a clear plastic organically formed wrap.

Waste Management purchased all of the dresses from the “Waste not, want not” episode and will use them to raise money in the communities in which each designer lives.

To view all of the dresses, visit:

Contact Lynn Brown at 713-204-6697.

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