Alana Presley, Recycling Education Coordinator, City of Denton, TX
Garbage. Rubbish. Junk. One of the biggest challenges for environmental educators today is moving the public perception of solid waste from being a gross inconvenience to being an important resource to be carefully managed. In order to think outside of the garbage bin, the City of Denton Solid Waste & Recycling Department, in partnership with the Denton Public Libraries, created the TRASHion Fashion Program to provide environmental education that promotes consumer behavior change through expressive art. This SWANA Webinar will explore how they developed their Excellence Award-winning program that transforms the meaning of trashy.
The TRASHion Fashion Program is a comprehensive fashion design competition for all ages, where participating designers create wearable art made of items destined for the landfill or recycling. Participants will learn how this program manages to engage students and artists to become knowledgeable about problems associated with waste generation through fashion and artistic design. Not only does this program engage the public, it also encourages them to find solutions and craft their own outreach messages regarding waste minimization. Participants change themselves, then create community awareness, spark conversations, and encourage behavior change in the community at large.
The designers attend a series of educational programs and workshops, receive design mentoring, and conduct independent research about the "waste" materials they are using to create their designs. The designers share information about the problems and solutions regarding their materials during a public TRASHion Runway Show at the Keep Denton Beautiful Redbud Festival, an annual home and garden show celebrating Arbor Day. The garments and facts are then displayed at a month-long art exhibition at the SCRAP Denton ReVision Gallery, a creative reuse center.
TRASHion Fashion unites many sectors of the community, and that is one of its greatest strengths. For any community who wishes to replicate this program it is essential to find a group of partners to collaborate with. This program literally takes a village to be successful. Each community is unique and will be able to craft their program to meet the needs of their residents.
All of the planning notes used by the City of Denton will be available and can be shared with attendees of this SWANA Webinar. This webinar will provide insight into this inventive program and provide attendees with the chance to learn how public perception of solid waste can go from throwaway to runway.