The Our Waste Matters Story. My name is Audrey. I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a world ranked competitive swimmer gaining one of the first college scholarships in athletics for women at the University of Texas in Austin. My four brothers are very athletic. My mother was a swimmer. My father was an award winning mechanical engineer. When I wasn’t bothering him to show me how things worked, I was influenced by his honest desire to improve lives, conserve energy and be more efficient. As a 6′ 2″ female, I naturally gravitated to the fashion industry and became especially good at making patterns and figuring out how to construct and manufacture designer clothing. For 35 years I worked with the most talented garment manufacturers and designers in NYC, managing timelines, materials, craftspeople and budgets. After a recent company restructure, I had some unusual extra time on my hands. My new morning routine started with a brisk 6 mile walk from my home in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn to Prospect Park and back. In between rhythmic steps, I noticed how bad the garbage cans look in front of the beautiful turn of the century homes Brooklyn is known for. My walks extended further and further into other neighborhoods, then bicycling took the place of walking in order to cover more of the Brooklyn I was beginning to love. Its neighborhoods are unique, its architecture reflects the ethnicity and histories of its people, and it is becoming the most sought after place to call home. I envisioned better for our streets. A friend in the Sanitation Department brought a book written by Robin Nagel about the anthropology of garbage in NYC to my attention and a passion was set on course. I started photographing architectural details, I started counting garbage cans, I became obsessed with how difficult and expensive it is to get rid of our waste matter. Four prototypes of beautiful garbage cans were born out of thrown away cardboard and a single-mindedness that won’t let something ugly and poorly designed stay that way. I engaged a patent attorney, an industrial engineer, learned plastic production and enrolled in an online business course. As interest and funding grows the Cans with a Conscience will start to make their presence known.
Does It Have To Look This Bad?
A recent change of jobs in the NY Fashion Industry created free time for long reflective walks from my home in Clinton Hill Brooklyn to Prospect Park and back home again. On these walks my never quiet inner critic became disgusted by the appearance of everyone’s garbage cans in front of their homes. Day after day, the critic got louder so along came my camera to mugshot the offending objects. 30 years of fashion problem solving for production set me up to think I could improve on this curbside blunder! Our Waste Matters~ Cans with a Conscience!!