At IIDEX: Zerolandfill Cleans Out Your Sample Room And Puts It To Use

zero landfill designsLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

IIDEX is Canada's big annual contract furniture and design trade show, held every year in Toronto

Back in the day when I had an architectural practice, we had a closet that was overrun with laminate and carpet and paint and glass and who knows what samples from manufacturers. This was before there was internet based sourcing, but you can't pick a paint colour over the internet; you need a chip. Every year or so, the salesperson would come to upgrade and update the samples. I am not sure that they actually changed; I think they do it because it gave them an excuse to get in our face. In either case, it meant a new sample in and an old one into the garbage.

Zerolandfill peopleLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
Zerolandfill changes all that; they collect old samples from design offices and redistibute them among artists, designers and schools so that they can be used for artwork and classroom projects. It creates a range of activities:

Pollination: collection of expired specification samples and materials from interior designers and architects. A drop off location is ideal.
Cultivation: preparing the materials for pick up. Work includes sorting and weighing by material type, removing carpet samples from books, recycling paper from binders and stacking and restacking materials as they arrive.
Harvest: the creative community is invited to pick up materials for their use. There is joy and energy in the room as materials are discovered, projects are imagined and new connections are made.
Celebration: rewarding the volunteers. Celebrate the success of your program with volunteers, leadership, material donors and the creative community by sharing tonnage diverted from landfill, classroom projects realized and satisfaction of enriching your community.

table showing artLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Perhaps the greenest booth at IIDEX, I wish they had Zerolandfill when I closed my practice. I could have kept them going for years.

At IIDEX: Zerolandfill Cleans Out Your Sample Room And Puts It To Use
Offices for architects and designers are full of out of date samples, and they used to go in the garbage. Not any more.

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