I Put Trash on My Walls

Here, a coffee cup. There, a takeout container. Whenever my friends come over, the first thing I do is show them my trash. It’s all over my walls. And they’re not “just being nice” when they ask where they can get the same. It’s gone over so well, I even put trash on my mom’s walls. She loves it.

Now, before you judge, (nobody thought soup cans would be the next big thing either, and look at Warhol) consider that trash, when properly recycled, can take on many new walks of life. What was once a pile of packing peanuts can become a toothbrush handle, playground equipment or even art. Recycled goods are showing up in surprising places, and it’s anything but trashy — it’s environmentalism in action.

So, let me rephrase that — what used to be a coffee cup. What used to be a takeout container. They are those things and so much more now that they have been recycled into beautiful objects to deck out my apartment.

And given the perilous state of waste management today, we are now, more than ever, in need of creative ways to use recyclables. We can plead with ourselves to “reduce and reuse,” but we can’t deny that trash is a fact of life (at least for the time being). Nearly everything we buy comes in disposable packaging, and our consumer culture makes it all too easy-come-easy-go. If there’s stuff to buy, there’s stuff to chuck.

So, what do we do with all our garbage?

This bears repeating: Hang it on your walls. Litter-ally! (See what I did there?) But first, we must recycle it, which is unfortunately not as easy as it sounds.

In America, it costs less to make new plastic than to recycle the existing stuff. Like any other business, recycling requires time, energy, resources and labor. It’s expensive. Without financial incentives to recycle, more plastic than ever is winding up in landfills, being incinerated or just littering the roadside. Therefore, in many cases, those doing the actual recycling do so not out of convenience or cost-effectiveness, but out of legitimate concern for the planet.

At Whom, we care about the spaces we inhabit — within the home and without — and we believe recycling is an important part of our environmental health. Without national policies regulating what gets recycled and how, it is up to private companies to do their part. That’s why we own and run our very own in-house recycling facility. Who else can say that?

Every year, we keep literal tons of polystyrene (a.k.a. Styrofoam) out of landfills. We scrap our competitors’ trash and recycle it into raw materials that we can use. Picture this: plastic waste that came with your online purchases — goes into the bin to be recycled and comes out as … ta-dum! A picture frame. A backing for a mirror. The canvas for a piece of art you can decorate your home with.

Then we hang that stuff on our walls, take a step back and admire the results. Disregard the naysayers. One look at our furniture and home décor, and we think you’ll agree — decorating responsibly never looked so good.