Garbage, Garfield Wright Material Recovery Facility, East Gwillimbury.
Globally, societies have grown accustomed to an unprecedented level of consumption, to a limitless supply of canned, bagged, boxed and packaged items that feed growing appetites. So commonplace and ubiquitous is this endless stream of goods that this has become a frame of reference for many of us, the norm, with little or no recollection of a time when we didn’t need quite so much. Door-to-door visits by waste removal, recycling and compost trucks relieve each individual home of the end products of this consumption. This allows us to avoid acknowledging the sheer scale of the levels of consumption that characterize the world’s most prosperous nations, including Canada, and urban centres in particular. The impacts of such actions are not confined to national borders. Consumption habits, at once a cause and a result of the complex relationships of supply and demand that characterize the modern age, have become a model for countries around the world. This model threatens to exhaust all that the planet has to offer.
The images in the series Want Not, Waste Not were photographed at various tipping floors and material recovery facilities in the greater Toronto area. They are simple images with a simple message: humans produce an enormous amount of waste, and it does not disappear when it leaves one’s front lawn.