The contents of one construction site dumpster processed on August 11, 2004 at the 334 Recycling and Transfer Facility in Zionsville, Indiana, included: hundreds of 2×4 lengths, hundreds of oriented-strand board shards, tens of wood truss ends, tens of cardboard boxes, tens of aluminum cans and plastic bottles, tens of rigid insulation pieces, and tens of lengths of steel strapping.
In 2004, approximately 75 to 100 dumpsters were processed every day at 334, along with 75 to 100 garbage trucks, and 5 to 10 smaller trailers. Most of the dumpsters come from construction sites; selected loads are sorted for cardboard, steel, or concrete chunks. A few objects were pulled out: bicycles and tires, among them. Everything else was transferred into 80-cubic-yard trailers that were driven southwest to the Twin Bridges landfill site in nearby Danville. There, the trucks backed onto a platform and unhitched; tilted into the air, their contents poured out. Thirty-two 18-wheelers arrived daily.
From 2003 to 2008 I photographed 500 construction site dumpsters and in 2005 my students photographed 250 more. We found walls and sections of walls, doors, windows, carpeting, carpet pads, trusses, shingles, building paper, timber and steel framing stock, sheets of plywood, sheetrock, and oriented strand board. We saw metal and PVC pipes of all sizes and lengths, ductwork, rigid and batt insulation, entire ceiling systems, corner bead, topsoil, smooth stones, rope, burlap, plastic pots, branches, trees, conduit, junction boxes, wiring, coaxial cabling, copper tubing, spools, bricks, concrete blocks, bags of cement, empty bags, aluminum and vinyl siding, cardboard boxes and tubes, reinforcing rods, mesh, buckets, timber pallets, bathtubs, cabinets, countertops, and kitchen sinks.
The flow of waste from construction sites is relentless; the transfer, a mad ballet; the destination, toxic.
I am done photographing dumpsters.
[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157623898703095″]