ZeroLandfill’s partnerships reduce our local carbon footprint.
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and this most certainly rings true when it comes to the mission of ZeroLandfill.
This award-winning upcycling program held seasonally in Akron supports the supply needs of local artists and arts educators while reducing pressure on local landfill capacity.
Since 2006, the ZeroLandfill project team has partnered with the architectural and interior design community to divert over 882,000 pounds of expired specification samples from local landfills and re-purpose them back into the community where they may hold value for other audiences.
Materials often include carpet tiles and books, paint decks and laminate chips, upholstery swatches, vinyl flooring samples, tile and stone samples, wall-covering books, glass and metal samples, three ring binders and stock photo books.
“Anyone involved with ZeroLandfill locally will tell how great this rather rudimentary idea has become in our design community,” says Katie Hauser, treasurer of the International Interior Design Association’s Ohio chapter.
That organization has become the vehicle with which the ZeroLandfill program is launched in new markets. “Our local Cleveland/Akron city center has long been a supporter of the program, and when we absorbed the day-to-day operations of the program, it seemed a logical time for me to become personally involved,” she says.
ZeroLandfill relies on the help of volunteers who manage the program from finding space to marketing. First, expired samples and materials are gathered from interior designers and architects. Next, sorting and weighing by material type, removing carpet samples from books, recycling paper from binders and stacking materials must be completed as they arrive. Community members are then invited to pick up the free materials for their use. Materials that aren’t chosen are kept intact and re-used for other purposes.
“I really love that International Interior Design Association is helping to bring together so many walks of life, different professions and generally intertwining folks that otherwise would have never come into contact with one another,” Hauser says.
This past February ZeroLandfill Akron collected 5,000 pounds of material. “We see many of the same faces in Akron from year to year, and anticipation for the program each year is continuing to become more and more prevalent,” she says. “We, as design professionals, take great pride in the Northeast Ohio roots that this program has and couldn’t be prouder or more excited to see the success that has grown from the ideas of a few of our own community members and colleagues.”
While the program has operated in Akron for the last five years, it’s been a part of the Cleveland community for twice as long. The team will pick up shop once again in Garfield Heights come August.
“ZeroLandfill actually got its start in Cleveland, working out of design firm parking lots,” Hauser says. “The International Interior Design Association operates both programs and continues to gain momentum in each market.”
/ Writer and web editor Aaron Fowler received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kent State University.