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Sustainable Dave's 1-year trash experiment

January 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
One man's trash, they say, is another man's treasure. But in the case of one Hollywood man, it's still just trash. He saved each and every bit for an entire year. Monday, he cleared it out of his home and Eyewitness News was there for a look at the trash.Think about how much trash you accumulate in a single year that goes straight to the landfill. Movie cameraman Dave Chameides of Hollywood wondered how much he generated.

So for one whole year, from January 1, 2008, to January 1st of this year, he kept every glass bottle, plastic jar, paper cup, every recyclable piece of trash.

Chameides's nickname is "Sustainable Dave." He proudly displays what he's kept, amazed at how much recyclable trash one person can generate.

"This was just an experiment in understanding more, and I figured by understanding more, I would want to change and that's what absolutely what's happened," said Chameides.

He says he's collected around 30 pounds of trash in one year, that's all -- more than half in the first three months of his experiment. He says he's changed his buying habits: fewer packaged goods; buying in bulk; and more glass bottles than plastic.

Did he save money? Does his family eat healthier because he's buying less packaged foods?

"I don't know if they're healthier or not healthier but definitely the planet they're going to end up living on is infinitesimally better because we haven't put all this stuff out there," said Chameides.

So what happens now? Is all this going to go to a recycling center? Not exactly. Everything here is going to be what Chameides calls "repurposed."

"With the bottom having fallen out of recycling -- and who knows what's going to happen to it -- the recycling is going to an artist who is going to turn it into an art project," said Chameides. "And the garbage is going to Connecticut to the Museum of Trash where it will become a permanent installation to teach kids about wasting less."

Chameides says one area school is already asked him to help it become less wasteful.