Where does the garbage go when we’re done with it? Until 2001, most of New York City’s solid waste found its final resting place at Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. When Mayor Giuliani announced the landfill’s closure in 2001, it signaled a major change to New York’s infrastructure. Where would all the garbage go?

In 2002, CUP joined up with students from City As School to answer this question. They interviewed garbage experts, workers, and activists. They visited important garbage sites like waste transfer stations in the South Bronx. They studied garbage infrastructure, like boats and incinerators. Finally, they produced a 30-minute video called “Garbage Problems,” four educational posters, and a design for the reuse of the landfill.

“Garbage Problems” debuted at an exhibit at Apex Art in 2002. Parts of the project have been featured at the Netherlands Art Institute, PS1, and in the “Experimental Geography” traveling exhibit. One of the posters from the project was published in “The Atlas of Radical Cartography.” The “Garbage Problems” video has been used in classrooms around the city to explain our city’s garbage infrastructure and what people mean when they talk about environmental justice.

Check out the video below!

Resources & Links

NYCEJA is a city-wide network that links grassroots organizations, low-income neighborhoods, and communities of color in their struggle for environmental justice.

Sustainable South Bronx works for sustainable development and environmental justice in the South Bronx.

Special Thanks

Zoe Coombes, AJ Blandford, Josh Breitbart, Beth Lieverman, Leah Silverstein, The Municipal Arts Society, City As School, Hewlett-Packard, Apex Art Curatorial Program, Anthology Film Archives, Ted Purves, Peter Fend. And thanks to our interviewees: Tim Logan (NYCEJA); Omar Freilla (Sustainable South Bronx); Ellen Ryan (Municipal Art Society); Oscar Neumann; Tom Outerbridge (Citygreen); Maggie Clarke; Fortune Group (Greenpoint MERFs); Bernie Smythe (Department of Sanitation); Dan Butturini (Browning-Ferris Industries); Mayor Gregorio (Linden City Hall). 


  • CUP
  • Educator, Producer
  • Andrea Meller
  • Educator, Designer
  • Damon Rich
  • Educator
  • Rosten Woo
  • Educator
  • André Knights
  • Educator
  • Jason Anderson
    • City-As-School 
    • Students
    • Brandon Rivera
    • Danny Poutchkov
    • Elizabeth Sanchez
    • Francisco Simon
    • Geneva Eddy
    • Justyna Judycka
    • Lemar White
    • Leo Paulino