Episode 4: Dumping is not Donating

Episode 4 Artwork

Episode 4: Dumping is not Donating

We touch base with Zero Waste Trash Talk family member Jess Johnson to discuss her experiences with donations as a home organizer.  In addition to asking what each organization is accepting before just dumping items on them, she finds out what they do with the items they can’t use.

Be Mindful of What Happens to Your Donated Clothes and Goods

Maris Masellis: Just press record already.

Jess Johnson: Oh, we weren’t recording any of that?

Maris Masellis: Here we are. I’m Maris Masellis, that’s Michael Britt and we have Jessica Johnson our Zero Waste Trash Talk family member

Jess Johnson: Yeah, hello.

Maris Masellis: We missed her accent. I texted you. I was like, I really miss your voice.

Jess Johnson: I’ll start sending speak messages.

Maris Masellis: And so what have you been up to? We miss you.

Jess Johnson: I’ve been working. I had to obviously with COVID and the economy changing and people having different priorities and things, I had to take a break on my business on Naturally Home because working in people’s homes, you know, they obviously weren’t going to spend money on me coming in to do their work and also safety wise, I couldn’t go into people’s homes. So I took a little bit of a career change. And I’ve ended up working in mental health, which actually has been fantastic. I really enjoy that. I’ve been hella busy with that.

Maris Masellis: While all of us were off of work, Jess has been going back to work. She’s finally on a routine. And so doing her thing out there. That’s awesome.

Jess Johnson: Yeah, I never took a break.

Maris Masellis: Happy for you about that. And we’re happy you’re healthy and able to do the show with us today. And we’re going to talk a little bit about while you’re at home, going through all your things, and you’re looking to get rid of some stuff. There’s this old idea that we could just throw everything away. And our very first episode we talked about how there is no fucking away. So here it is.

Jess Johnson: But it is so true there literally is no away and that, you know, with my business as a home organizer I go into people’s homes and I used to bring away all the items that they didn’t want. That was you know, really great for them because it was cleansing to get rid of all the things that you know were holding them back weren’t fitting with the with the lifestyle that they want now. Then I had to deal with that. And so back in the day, what everybody does is take it to Goodwill because Goodwill takes everything. Take it to you know Nashville, what’s it called the rescue society now. I can’t remember what that’s called. We’ll figure that out later. But yeah, just take it to all these like you know thrift stores that will take everything and you dump it and you leave it and you think that you’ve done something great because because you think it’s going to a homeless person or you think it’s going to somebody that needs it or whatever. But that’s not true.

A Home for the Hungry, Homeless, and Hurting | Nashville Rescue Mission

Close Donate Donate Stories of Hope Read about how your gifts change lives and restore hope. View Blog Ways to Get Involved Learn how you can make a difference right now. Learn More Nashville Rescue Mission is a Christ-centered community committed to helping the hungry, homeless, and hurting by providing programs and services that focus on a person’s entire life-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social.

Maris Masellis: What’s the truth Jess, tell us?

Jess Johnson: No, the truth is a tiny portion of that is going to go out onto the shop floors and a tiny portion of that is going to be bought so all the rest of the stuff that isn’t being bought or isn’t going out onto the shop floor is probably going into landfill. Yeah, cuz you gotta think right if you every every person say you know every time that you clean out your your bedroom, you’ve got like bags of stuff, right? Yeah, a bunch of bags, bunch of clothes and as much as you can into your car, yeah, all your shoes, all of your deck or things you take it all to, you know, goodwill, and then you just leave it there and say that there was you know, so there was somebody doing that every minute of the day. That’s a lot of stuff. That is more stuff than is being bought, like how often do you go into goodwill and buy things not that often?

Maris Masellis: Me, personally not a lot. Yeah, exactly.

Michael Britt: I have a figure here of exactly how much gets donated. Yes. In the United States and Canada every year just of clothing only. Americans and Canadians donate $20 billion worth of clothes and that’s the write off amount, I think is what they’re talking about, you know, they give you the receipt. But only only 10% of that gets sold to resale shops. 90% of the of the clothing ends up in Sub Saharan Africa and they actually call it dead men’s clothes because they think people must have time to send these clothes over here. Does it?

Dead White Man’s Clothes Trailer

The Fashion Industry produces more clothes than we can buy. We buy more clothes than we can use. Every year billions of items of clothing “end up” in places …

Maris Masellis: Does that actually do anything over there?

Michael Britt: It piles up. They salvage what they can but they’re all wearing like, Just-Do-It shirts and things like that. But in Ghana, what it does it destroys any chance of a textile industry starting in those countries.

Maris Masellis: But wouldn’t wouldn’t you think that’s a good thing because they have, they’re getting repurpose clothes?

Michael Britt: Just like it’s a good thing that China had piles and piles of plastics and …

Jess Johnson: Not really. The amount that’s being sent over there is (too much) for people to use and plus what Michael said, that means that there is an industry that country cannot make. On the one side, you’ve just got mountains and mountains of stuff that is coming over to these other countries. I mean, I’ve seen videos of where there was a river apparently on the landscape, but instead, this whole landscape is now just full of like, this one in particular (video) it was electronics actually and it was just full of electronics that were actually on fire. A whole landscape that covered a river and so people are walking over a river that is now electronics.

Solving “The World’s Largest E-Waste Dump” – Agbogbloshie

The Agbogblo.Shine Initiative is a non-profit foundation that seeks to fund social enterprises and projects dedicated to creating awareness and applying desi…

Maris Masellis: Where do we see that? It feels like we talked about this before.

Jess Johnson: I think I told you about that. And I probably showed you it. I saw it on Facebook, and it was actually made me cry. It was devastating to see that, you know, because obviously with the electronics, you’ve got all the chemicals and stuff that are coming out of that too.

Michael Britt: It turns the whole country into this dumping ground.. And yes, you know, great, they’re gonna reuse some of the clothes but they just don’t have the infrastructure to deal with.

Maris Masellis: It’s just dumping mindlessly. Again, we’re not taking any time to really see where it’s going and if it can be used, and if it’s making it better versus worse. I get that.

Jess Johnson: Yeah, that’s very true Maris. We buy something, we buy more and more and more and then we’re like, oh, okay, well, we don’t need that anymore. We’ll give it to some nameless faceless person who needs it. Then we feel good, because you know, we don’t have it anymore. But we think that we’ve done good, right? Because that’s what our minds tell us. And then it’s the same thing, it goes to this place, and then this place then sends it to other people, but only like portions of that are getting used.

Michael Britt: Doesn’t that sound like something else that we do that makes us feel good that we send it away hoping it goes away? Kind of like recycling?

Jess Johnson: Yeah, it does. Yes.

Michael Britt: It’s something else that’s like, Oh, I feel good about this but it’s not as good as we think it is.

Maris Masellis: It’s a common theme guys, there’s a common theme here. So Jess, do tell us more about your findings with goodwill and so forth.

Jess Johnson: Yeah. So after that realization, I was like, Oh, shit, what do I do? Because, you know, on a daily basis, I would have at least one carload of stuff that I had to find a home for. So in the end, I started bringing things home back to my house. And so my living room became my warehouse and I had to sift through everything and sort through them and create specific piles of what each of these items were. And then I would actually make like huge giant paper lists. Like, what do I have here? I’ve got clothes. Okay, I’ve got white clothes. I’ve got black clothes. I’ve got like, work clothes. I’ve got sports clothes, you know, like, how much stuff from cleaning houses from organizing them? Yeah, cuz I’m bringing home like, everybody’s like everything. Some people want to get rid of half of what they have. You’d be surprised how much junk we all have in our own homes that we don’t need. So anyway, I’ve got these lists. And then I would just scour the internet for all the names of all these places that might take something whether it was a thrift store or whether it was a charity or you know, something and then I would call each and every single one of them, and then ask if they will take what I have. Some places and this is where it started to get tricky, because you can’t just dump everything on to these places, right? Some places will say, okay, yes, we take clothing and you’re like, great. I’ve got a fucking room full of clothing. And they’re like, well, actually, we only take summer shorts right now. And you’re like, shit, okay. I’ll give you all my summer shorts but…

Maris Masellis: Yeah, every time I go to Buffalo Exchange, they may take one thing out of like three bags that I bring over there. They’re very particular about fashion.

Jess Johnson: Yeah, and it’s like because it changes with the seasons it changes based on what they have in their in you know, in their stores or you know, in their in their stock rooms and whatnot. Because say like, you know what, there might be one place where I had donated a whole bunch of pants didn’t matter what color pants they were like, I would have just sent all my pants to them at one point and it I think a lot of times it would be places that said that they could use these clothing for like interviews and stuff like that and to help people you know, have have clothing for jobs. So I’d be like, Oh my god, all these great nice outfits that I had, I could give to all this place. And then I’d call him and double check, like, Hey, what are you taking right now? And they’re like, Oh, well, the only things we’re taking right now are black, anything black? And I’m like, Well, what the hell do I do with everything else? So then I go through my list again, and try and find other places that would take all of these things. So yeah, it’s that in itself became another, like, portion of the, you know, that became another

Maris Masellis: app with a bunch of stuff and you had to take a lot of time to find the places that were going to take what you had and what ended up happening. Did you find any other places that we’re doing better or we’re not because there is never one place that is going to take everything that you have is just every single time that I have stuff that I have to get rid of, I have to go through this process and then you’re driving around everywhere. That’s one thing that got me upset. It’s the same thing with Grocery Mart or supermarkets. I’m going from one store to get this another store to get that because they do it more sustainably here or and then I’m like, I’m driving around town again. Like I’m still this is an addition. So I’m defeating the purpose. Like what is it? What is the point at this? Yeah, point.

Jess Johnson: Now I know that was that was definitely It was definitely hard. But I mean,

Michael Britt: when you like you call it an ask. And a lot of people just go here, guys my bag of stuff. And they told you right though you asked Didn’t you ask a couple of them? What do you do with this stuff? And

Jess Johnson: yes, there was a bunch of places where I actually managed to speak to you know, it could have could have been the manager or the director of the donations facilities. And they would say, I mean, there was this one particular place that claimed that they took everything you know, because it was for it was for homeless people, both men and women and they were like, We will take everything you Have? Well obviously, at this point, I know not to trust that right. So, you know, and I and Oh, one of the other questions that I’m always consistently asking is what do you do with the stuff that you can’t use? You know, and sometimes they will give me answers and they’ll be like, well, we just, you know, throw them in landfill or whatever, or we’ll dump them off at another charity and stuff like that. So I have to make my decisions based off of that. So anyway, I’m at this place that claims that they will take everything and so I get to speak to these people. And you know, I’m like, Well, what do you do with the stuff that you that you can’t use? And you know, again, like that, they will try to donate to places but the majority of times they’re gonna just throw things in landfill and we got to talking about the things that they actually do use. And it’s, I mean, it’s a tiny portion, a tiny percentage of what they actually take because they were going to they were going to take all the all the throw cushions and the throw blankets and all that You know, these bags of CDs and I had this was the the rescue mission the Nashville rescue mission, specifically this example on this day. And so yeah, they were they were gonna take all the music CDs I had, they were gonna take all the random lampshades and the other lamps that I had and um, you know, so then I get talking to, to the, you know, the supervisor of the the donations and he actually tells me that the majority of this stuff is not going to be used. It all goes into a warehouse that they have, and if it doesn’t fit, then it goes into landfill or they’ll truck maybe try to find another charity to give it to but really, I mean, if you think about it, if you’re homeless, and you’re being given the opportunity to you know, have some things to go into a home with, you don’t care about throw pillows, you care about things like kitchen utensils, the basic pants, you know, a blanket of some kind like you you really, really care about. The basic thing I don’t care about which is oh wait

Maris Masellis: the basics. What do you mean the basics like the basic necessities of living for a human being doesn’t mean we need all these extra things.

Jess Johnson: Yeah, yep, I know, right? It really opens your eyes.

Maris Masellis: It’s something I’ve been struggling with actually this last year maybe not struggling I’ve just become more enlightened. The fact that, you know, I see a lot of minimalist and even sustainable people that I’m around it’s, it’s so interesting, our different lifestyles, you see celebrities and actors and people that are in front of the camera all the time and on Instagram. All telling us we need this or we need that or we need to dress this way. Or we need to have sneakers in 10 different colors, and it’s, it’s fashion and it’s art, but it’s really sad. It really makes me so sad because we don’t need 10 pairs of sneakers. And guess what? I’m guilty. I have more than one pair of sneakers. I’m guilty, and I’m the Same, and it just makes me upset because now looking forward, I know I’m going to have all of these sneakers for a long time because I’m, I’m either going to give them to someone, or I’m going to use them until they fall off my feet. Because there’s no reason for me to have anymore. And yeah, I know it’s I know, it’s such a different idea for American society to think, Well, what about our children, we want to get them everything for Christmas, and we want Hey, the gift of giving isn’t only on Christmas and it doesn’t only have to be to your kids, maybe you give them one and then you guys go and donate your other stuff to to a company that we know is doing the right thing, which is kind of hard to find at this point listening to you jazz

Jess Johnson: Well, we’ll see there and like it’s it’s not about you know, what we what we have we just go and donate to somebody to a company that’s doing the right thing because they’re all doing the right thing, right. They’re trying to do the right thing, but the thing is, that isn’t enough people coming in and taking everything that they have you know, there’s there’s more stuff There’s more unwanted stuff than there is people who will take them because you know, even even, like, even the stuff that, you know, I might bring something into us into these places into the, you know, I might donate a bunch of stuff that, to me looks great. But to other people, it’s not great. So it’s just gonna sit in in the store forever. You know,

Michael Britt: when you say this, this is very much the same as the recycling problem. Because we’re all sorting and cleaning and getting it off to it’s going to wherever it’s going to go to get reuse, and no one’s buying it. The companies aren’t buying it, to use it back in their products. It’s the same with us. If you donate stuff, your first next shopping trip should be to a resale center, you should be buying used first. You’re not recycling this stuff. When you’re doing you’re dumping it just like the plastics industry. So I challenge everybody out there to take responsibility for that. If you during all this safer at home, you know, pending Make lockdown time you’re cleaning your closets. You’re stacking everything up.

Maris Masellis: Yes, we recycle. Yes, we want people to have our use stuff. But do we buy used things and that is yes, that is the hardest part guys, that’s the hardest part we all want to buy off Amazon and we all want to go and get brand new stuff all the time. And we just if we continue to, to live like that we’re going to be digging their own graves. Like for real.

Jess Johnson: I tell you what the most the easiest and the most successful way for me to be able to pass on everybody’s items. You know, when I when I needed to donate things. It was actually through, you know, through the social medias, you know like marketplace and the Facebook marketplace and I don’t even remember what the next door app and all kinds of things and then I would go into the local groups and just be like, Hey guys, I’ve got all of this stuff and would show pictures and people could come pick it up and I would just give it give it all away for free. You know I’ve got all these shoes I’ve got all this furniture, you know, I’ve got everything who wants it? Who needs it? Because there’s, you know, a lot of people that do need things. But again, they’re not the kind of people they’re not necessarily walking into the all of these thrift stores that I might might take them to, you know, yeah. So that actually was really that was probably the best way to get that I found to to get rid of things. So if people could keep buying or finding their stuff, secondhand and reuse that would definitely be helping things.

Maris Masellis: Yeah. And those types of stores aren’t as popular around Nashville. I feel like I mean, there are a few like I said, Buffalo Exchange I go to I haven’t been to good goodwill in a while, but Goodwill’s another one. But what do you I mean, what’s your opinion? What’s your What’s your opinion on that? And that kind of on those stores, like, have you found that to be useful? Like what kind

Jess Johnson: of Yeah, I mean, what to do. To buy or to sell to, to get rid to buy Yeah, I do. I mean, I mean it’s it’s what it’s like a you know, it’s a hit or miss like you know, I if I’m gonna go and do a thrift store run if I need to buy whether it’s clothes or furniture or whatever I do prepare to, to go to a bunch of them because you never know what you’re going to get. But yeah, I mean that’s that’s how I that’s how I furnish my house like

Maris Masellis: my friends that are grifters and I ended all throughout my you know, all throughout my I guess experience in Nashville even I met a friend my guys my friend Devin from whiskey kitchen, she’s great. She lives in Hawaii now. But she was man she was having she was selling all of her stuff on poshmark and yeah, a lot of like she was making good money. She was she was she had in her basement she just had all these she would go and buy and resell and I was just like wow, you have them little business going on here but that’s exactly the cycle you know, like she had never go in Buy something new somewhere and I was always so just I admired her I love that and I want to be like that and I think yeah I haven’t gone clothes shopping in quite some time like it’s been a while and a couple friends of mine whenever they clean out their stuff more kind of the same size will be like hey what you got going on let’s let’s get together and I’m cleaning out my stuff you want to come over and see what I have and that’s kind of how I’ve been doing it I get new clothes from my friends yeah trade

Jess Johnson: yeah clothing clothing was it that’s the one that’s a little difficult for me when it comes to like thrift shopping and stuff because that is quite hit or miss I don’t know there’s a lot of people out there who were able to find some absolute gems and I’m like how did you find that because I can’t do that furniture though. Man I that’s that’s my jam their furniture and and like other deco pieces like oh yeah, I love that stuff.

Maris Masellis: Yeah, good. Do that together. Yeah, no, not like I need anything. I I was telling someone to everything in my house is our reused piece of furniture or it was given to me by someone even like even the art on my walls and yeah, the different like things I’ve hung, they’re all gifts. They weren’t gifts from friends. And then what’s funny is I’ll go through stuff and I’ll think who would like this? Like, I can’t go shopping in my own house because I have so much stuff that I don’t necessarily use all the time and I had it and I’ll be going through it I’m like, instead of just dumping off the goodwill I think to myself, who could use this you know, and then it’s a nice present and repurposing is just it’s a huge part of the future. We have to repurpose, reduce reuse people, there is

Jess Johnson: no way I really, really hope that happens more. I mean, I think that it’s, I think that it’s great that so many people are trying to clear out their spaces and live a more minimalist life, like I think that’s great. And in order to get that you do have to get rid of your stuff. I mean, I did too and back in the day when I first started going down the minimalist route. I wasn’t getting rid of my stuff sustainably accidentally, you know, I thought that giving to Goodwill was fine. Yeah, but so you know, like it, it is gray. And that does obviously lead you down to a route where like you don’t have to buy as much anymore and you might be more happier to more more open to be getting secondhand things and stuff. But in the meantime, especially now, during this Corona situation where, I mean, it seemed like everybody that I knew and everybody that I saw on Facebook, in all the local groups and everything, everybody was getting rid of the things and I was like, That’s amazing. That’s great. Everybody has time to get themselves into the life that they that they want to live. But Holy shit, that is gonna be terrible for the environment because it’s all gonna go into a goodwill or to the Salvation Army or to all these charity stores or even into the

Maris Masellis: media. Yeah,

Jess Johnson: yeah, well, I mean, I like I know people who they can’t even be bothered to donate things they will. They might post something on Facebook and say, Hey guys, I’ve got this, you’ve got one day to get it or it’s going to landfill and then they will just take it to landfill. So like there’s just this. Yeah, it was it was it was terrifying for me to want to watch that because I was like, shit, I know what’s happening.

Maris Masellis: What do you recommend for you know, how can we be better at doing this?

Jess Johnson: I think that everybody needs to, first of all, they need to accept responsibility for everything that they own. They have to we all have to know that everything that we have goes somewhere, you know, and you don’t just take it to a donation place and think Yay, it’s gonna turn into gold. It’s not it’s good. You know, there are so many other things that can happen to it there it can easily end up in landfill. Easily ended up over in a in a third world country where they’re like, Well shit, this has to go to a landfill and this is poisonous now. So you’ve got to be mindful about everything that you have. And you should probably make sure that you research all the places that you plan to take your stuff to. Yeah. Which brings me to the other part, which is take your time, like literally just know, okay, I’ve got a room full of junk that I want to get rid of. But don’t don’t try it. You know, so many people are like, Alright, gotta get rid of it. Now go to do it now. Like, I don’t have time. You know, like the people I was saying who, you know, they’re like, come and pick it up today or I’m throwing it in landfill. Like, take your time finding the right place can I mean there are some things that took me months to find the right place to, you know, to take them to but that’s just

Maris Masellis: what I’m getting out to the people you know, to friends and family and in having a garage sale or putting it on poshmark

Jess Johnson: Social media is like he has pictures of this room full of stuff that I’ve got anybody want a I’m gonna have my you know

Maris Masellis: roadblocks to that because of Coronavirus I see some roadblocks just because people are worried about getting the terms from somebody James

Jess Johnson: well Yeah, I was gonna say cuz I used to in the summer months I would like just leave it all outside of my door and tell everybody to turn up but even then yeah, I guess that’s such a tough one that is a tough one but then again, wait, just wait you know find a space where you know that you can store all of this stuff? No, I want a day you’re gonna get rid of I have actually bad because

Maris Masellis: it right now. Yeah, because I knew that it wasn’t the right season. So I knew that Buffalo Exchange wouldn’t take it yet. And so I’ve been saving that in my closet. So just to recap yet one, you take responsibility for your stuff. It’s yours. If you bought it, you have it. You can’t just throw it away. There is no way to do research. Where are you going to bring it? What are you going to, you know, maybe some places take it Seasons, maybe places are specific about what color things are and you have to research number three, take your time. Yes. And just said you might have to hold on to something for a little while until you can find the right place to properly get you know, I hate saying I hate saying get rid of it. Oh, welcome back, Michael. Michael. We lost Michael for a second but he is back now

Jess Johnson: legal difficulties.

Maris Masellis: And Michael we’re just going over the highlights Jess was telling our listeners what they you know, the different steps of when they have things what to do with it, and we’re just saying you got to take responsibility for it. You got to research the places that you want to bring it. And you might have to hold on to it for a while. So take your time. Hey, can

Michael Britt: I can I there was one point I wanted people to know that like cram it in here at the end since I sometimes. So you know how the donation centers if they’re close people just leave the bags out in front, outside, or Yeah, little you know, the freestanding ones, little kiosks When you go to one of the donation centers and they’re close, I see this all the time people are stacking their stuff out by the front door. They’re leaving bags of stuff at the little kiosks that are out like there’s one Riverside Drive over here, you’ll see bags and, and donation stacked around the thing. And I think what most people don’t realize is it’s against the law, which most people may go, Yeah, I don’t care. But but the law says that if it’s on the ground outside of a Donation Center, they have to put it in the trash. They’re not allowed to accept it now.

Maris Masellis: I didn’t

Michael Britt: know Yeah, before and that’s the law. Yeah. So

Jess Johnson: the reason but it does make sense though. Yeah, I had to send just in case

Michael Britt: the reason is because I what from what I understand. The reason is because nobody wants big chunky piles of stuff out inside outside of all these donation centers. And so to prevent places from looking junky, they said they are not allowed to accept donations in that manner.

Jess Johnson: I was actually going down this route. Yeah, see? So

just imagine

if somebody left a bunch of stuff outside and it started to rain, and it wasn’t proper, properly, like covered well, so that stuff is no longer useful. So then what they’ve they then have to like get rid of it or what if like it’s outside and a frickin Roach walks in on it, and then they then they bring it into the store and now they’re bringing it into the stores. That’s that’s where my mind was going with that.

Logical like, That’s crazy. Like not dude.

Maris Masellis: It doesn’t look nice in front of the store.

Michael Britt: No, but I think that’s it, it’s just like a zoning law or whatever, and especially for the kiosks that you see in neighborhoods, you know, they people will complain, you know, we don’t want to see all we want to see stacks of shoes and, and, you know, garbage bags in our neighborhood. And I think more than, you know, we’ll clarify, I’ll put in the notes for this. I’ll put a link to to some more factoids about that.

Maris Masellis: Okay, cool. Cuz that’s That’s an that’s one of those sneaky ones, man. That’s one of those sneaky things that you don’t know. And then you’re like, I’m just gonna leave it out here because I don’t have any time and certainly my car and so people keep it in your car. But

Jess Johnson: again, take your time, right?

Michael Britt: This is why this is why I wanted to sneak it in because it was sneaky. But also, you know, back to our recycling, everything comes back to it. Same thing. You make the trouble to go to the recycling with all your cans that you’ve collected and you toss it in the bag even though it says it says I don’t want it says no bags allowed and was like I’ve done my part of throwing it in. Well, no, that gets that ends up in the trash. Nobody cuts open those bags and

Jess Johnson: the bags. No,

no, I actually just just on the one the local group here in Bellevue. I actually just commented on a post about that recently because somebody had posted a picture. I guess it was like last Monday and or maybe it’s Sunday. I can’t remember. And the the cans, the recycling cans here were like completely full. And then so everybody else and their mother had started just throwing everything on the floor, right? So the pictures were like awful there was cardboard boxes all in between in between these cans. And then they were also big plastic bags of like, you know, you know, plastic bottles and stuff that were also they couldn’t fit them in there. So they were hanging them on the outside of these recycling bins and then just throwing them on the floor and I was like, Okay, I’m coming out of a social media break. Hey, guys, and I was like, that’s not helpful at all. Because, you know, Metro is not going to recycle wet cardboard. So when it rains on that cardboard that’s now going to go into landfills. So they might as well have just put that directly in landfill and those bags. None of that’s going to be recycled because Metro isn’t opening plastic bags. So you might as well have just saved save them time and money and taken that to the landfill instead. Like none of this is helpful because somebody commented and they will Oh, well, at least they’re trying and I was like, No, no, no, no, ma’am. Let me tell you why that is not helpful.

Maris Masellis: Moral, the story being all of these systems in place that we think that we are doing well, they’re not really working. Yeah, and not that we’re here to tell you that nothing is gonna work ever and that we’re doomed. That’s not the message. It’s Think before you throw, don’t just put stuff in a bag. Don’t just put it out in front of a door and leave it to be someone else’s problem. That’s why the rest of the world doesn’t like us guys, because we think that we can just get rid of our stuff and make somebody else deal with it. We have to be conscious of what we’re doing with our shit. And consumer wise. Why do we need everything in every freaking color man? Like I don’t, I don’t. I know that these are really hard things to swallow. They really are because I’m still having a hard time swallowing. But I’m more conscious now. And I think as a consumer, and as someone that creates waste, the the more that I that I am aware of what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, I feel better. I feel like okay, I’m not in the dark. And I want to talk to more people about this. I want to know what other people have to say about this. And that’s why I got into zero waste trash talk because Justin Michael feel the same way. We all feel the same way.

Unknown Speaker Can I get an amen? Amen.

Jess Johnson: Amen. Amen. Right on.

Maris Masellis: Well, that was an exhilarating talk, Jess, thank you. It’s so fun to to see you to

Jess Johnson: see you all again.

Maris Masellis: We can see her through our our computer screens. We are all mobile. At this point. We’re having a lot of fun doing it.

Michael Britt: Mobile is strong, maybe stuck at home but remote stuck at home. Yeah, mobile seems like we’re gonna go out and sit in the car and record audio do that. Yeah, just thought about it. We’ve been Trying to figure all this out. Well and our next guest is talking about what else you can do besides donate Well, I guess it’s still donation right? It’s just a different type of donation

Maris Masellis: is Leah Sherry is going to talk about what we can do with all that random stuff that we don’t know what to do with that is not going to be accepted the good are going to save the goodwill.

Unknown Speaker If you didn’t listen to Episode Two, you don’t

Jess Johnson: get the joke. Sorry.

Maris Masellis: Anyway, thanks so much, Jess. We love you. Good. Thank you. Bye.

Maris Masellis: Welcome Leah Sherry of Turnip Green Creative Reuse. Michael and I are so happy you could be our guest today and how are you? What’s going on?

Leah Sherry: Thank you for having me. It’s so good to talk to you and see your faces I miss you all.

Maris Masellis: You know, it’s crazy that we have to do this kind of thing, but it’s actually a skill that we’ll probably use forever now. We’re going to have too

Leah Sherry: Yeah absolutely, hey we all saved some petrol by having this (virtual) meeting.

Maris Masellis: Yeah that is a plus side for sure

Michael Britt: I just saved bicycle pedaling time instead of petrol.

Maris Masellis: Oh, there you go bicycle pedaling time is that you said?

Michael Britt: I’m a no fuel guy in East Nashville.

Maris Masellis: He’s got the coolest bike. It’s got his giant wheels on it. Like, tell us about your beautiful bike.

Michael Britt: It’s got four inch tires and an electric motor for pedal assist. So I’m not the weakest gazelle on the road when I’m on the street. It gets me around. I use it instead of the car. I’d say 90% of the time – pre COVID when I actually went places

Maris Masellis: All the time he was like I’ll just ride my bike here and I’m like, that’s gonna take like three hours! Let me just come pick you up.

Michael Britt: Lets me get the key parking spot right in front by the door

Maris Masellis: Of course and that’s how you always know Michaels there cuz you see his bike outside. But yeah we are saving some patrol, you know Leah I like that but um thanks so much for sending us some of your background and how you got started with Turnip Green Creative Reuse. Leah is the executive director for should we should we minimize TGCR.

Maris Masellis: Arkansas girl? Started your own sustainability things and jobs at what age 12-14 How old were you?

Leah Sherry: I started my little recycling club in fourth grade. Which, as much as I would love to say it landed, it didn’t take off. Not the coolest kid on the playground. But yeah, I mean, I was always really interested in sustainability and I mean, I would also love to say that I was a visionary child but a lot of it came from, family influence and how I was raised.

Michael Britt: How you were raised is what we were kind of referring too. It was an intentional community in Arkansas, right? You sent us your bio and I looked it up. There’s not a lot of information about it on the internet…

Leah Shrerry: It’s it’s the off the grid type, it was truly off the grid.

Michael Britt: That’s crazy. What part of Arkansas was it in? According to what I saw (online) it shifted around and ended up in Little Rock where you…

Leah Sherry: So about an hour from Little Rock in the Ozark’s. If you’ve ever heard of Russellville, Arkansas, right outside of that. It’s kind of hard to describe because it’s not in a town. It’s called the Piney area that is in between towns. It’s that small. Yeah, like a little sliver of land.

Michael Britt: I don’t know if we’ve talked about this, but my family’s from Arkansas. My parents live in Northwest Arkansas. At one point I went to Camden High School, which isn’t very far from there. That was my senior year. I went from a giant school in Dallas to my senior year of 120 people or something like that in (my graduating class) Camden, Arkansas.

Leah Sherry: Hey, I didn’t know. Wow, you’re you’re a real Arkansasassy too. We always find each other.

Maris Masellis: You Arkansas weirdos. No, I kind of wish I lived in Arkansas. I’m like, you would have been the coolest kid on the playground to me. I would’ve been like I love this girl, lets hang out!

Leah Sherry: I needed you in my life when I was like eight or nine, like where is she? No Arkansas was cool though it’s like I think a lot of people whenever you’re growing up somewhere and you’re kind of like you have this curiosity and like oh this is lame I want to get out but then you leave and you start to sort of reminisce and remember the positive things and Arkansas it’s state name is the natural state. It has so much natural beauty and I mean I’ve I’ve moved around quite a bit and I remember the first few places I moved I’m like, what’s going on? Like, I can’t like throw a rock and hit a waterfall? You know, and like there’s so many like waterfalls and hiking trails and you can just take your dog off leash I mean, I think I don’t know if that’s actually right, but everybody does. It’s just such a stunning state like, I don’t know I really do miss that part about it.

Michael Britt: What about the paper mill smells? Do you miss the the rotten egg smells?

Leah Sherry: You’re bringing me right back.

Maris Masellis: You’re a city girl now and you are doing really big things at Turnip Green Creative Reuse. And for all of you that don’t know what TGCR is, it’s a great resource here in Nashville that I only recently came to find about a year and a half ago. If you’re worried about throwing a bunch of stuff out in the landfill that might have a second use, reduce reuse people that’s I learned that from from Leah, I learned all about that with Turnip Green. They are willing to take a lot of stuff that would end up in that in the landfill and they’re repurposing it and they’re using it as art and they’re teaching children about sustainability and they’re using it to do art with them and making it fun and approachable. Which is something we had talked about before we got into the whole podcast world we were talking about going live on Instagram, and when we were talking that day, we were talking about how, you know, how do we keep sustainability a priority. And you moved to Nashville looking for newer things and looking for your place here as I did. And, and you found it, you started at Trader Joe’s. I remember that part of your bio. You met Kelly Tippler, who was the creator of Turnip Green, and you guys found each other and she hired you on the spot basically and was like you are the fit for my puzzle. And you kind of took the reins from there. So tell us a little bit about that journey and what you’ve seen and and how it’s grown and maybe like before the pandemic and we can talk about how things have changed.

Leah Sherry: Sure, so let’s see. Yeah, Trader Joe’s you’ve covered that Kelly and you guys know Kelly.

Maris Masellis: We love Kelly!

Leah Sherry: Kelly has this really wonderful skill that I’ve tried to adopt, where she can meet anyone and find a space for them. I think she truly believes everybody has a purpose and everybody has a talent. It kind of goes into our philosophy of teaching that I think I wrote in my description to you all. We believe that everybody’s teachable. Yeah, everybody can learn about sustainability or really anything. It’s just sometimes the gap isn’t with the learner. It’s how you’re talking to the learner, like, are you speaking their language?

Maris Masellis: My favorite quote is to seek to understand rather than to be understood, and I live by that and I think that’s really really important.

Leah Sherry: Truth. Yes, it’s so good. But Kelly, you know, she has that and I remember Maris she saw one of your guys’s Zero Waste Trash Talk Videos, and I had already seen it and I was like, Who is this? This is amazing. And she was like, listen this girl has something she’s a rock star like and she has to be on our team. In some way she belongs in our lives. And I just really admire that you know. So many people approach their lives kind of skeptical and like, I don’t know, do I trust you? Right? It’s like you always have all of these barriers before you open your heart to a person. And she just goes like full fledged, everybody’s awesome until

Maris Masellis: I felt that when I met her, yeah,

Unknown Speaker yeah, totally.

Maris Masellis: I mean, we’re office by the way, and then never met her before in my life. I got her like through the grapevine somebody else it was another person to another person to another person was like, it ended up on Kelly’s desk and I was like, Hello, can I can I come in and meet you? I have no idea what I’m what I’m coming to touch. I just know I want to be involved. And you’re the lady. You’re the one. This is right when they brought me to you. She was so great. She really inspired me that day, but Sorry, sorry to interrupt. I just thought yours. Good. is a perfect example of how she really made me feel at home and that I could make a difference even though she you know, we had just met right then and there.

Leah Sherry: And so I think that I think her being the founder and I think that attitude and her surrounding herself and inviting people in who also have that very accepting, loving and like, sort of like, like you have to be brave to be like that it’s it’s much easier to just reject people and and kind of keep a bubble or a distance. So like that sort of bravery and and just like big, you know, open heart. I think that is what turnip green was founded on. And I like to think unless I’m just totally disconnected from reality that we still very much have that I love it. And so I think she’s a big part of that, but also just like the current team, you know, and I always tell people like as much as I would love to like take all the credit you know, there are so many people working hard to make, what turnip green does accessible and make our mission relative into the community. And so, you know, talking about post pandemic pre pandemic, I think we’ve definitely kept our mission, our core values, our guiding lights have stayed very consistent. And our team’s attitudes have stayed very consistent. And we’ve Of course had to pivot. You know, of course, we’re not gonna be like, Okay, everybody, just, yeah, we have to pivot, but we can still keep some things consistent. So like, you know, the creativity, we’ve gotten really creative with how we’ve made our materials accessible. We’ve gotten really creative with how we’ve provided education, especially to students in our 10 after school programs and you’re sending out packets, right? Is that is that how it’s working? Where we’re actually partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank and pencil and Tennessee Department of Environment conservation, and Metro schools. Because, you know, you really have to think like collaboration is always the answer, but especially in times like this, we really have to be thinking in that way. So like it made more sense for us to say like, Okay, what pieces do we have? What pieces do other people have? How can we like make it fit together? Second Harvest had that meal site stuff rolling. I mean, they were ready to go to get people fed pencil also just at the ready t deck. They’re like, Hey, we support you. And then the S is like, Hey, we support you. So we started partnering and going to those distribution sites. We already know those kids are coming there with their families. And we’re like, how about we hand out food and an art kit and school supplies? So it’s convenience is a really important thing to keeping sustainability accessible, whether you’re in a pandemic or not, as soon as it gets harder, complicated people are out. Yes. So so we made it convenient. We’ve I’m so excited. We’ve actually this week we hit 2000 art kits that we’ve distributed.

Unknown Speaker That’s so many

Maris Masellis: Yeah unresponsive you have you gotten from that?

Leah Sherry: Oh my god like just the sweetest ever I mean, the kids we’re getting some pictures back of what they’ve been making with their art kits one we posted one on our Facebook yesterday this kid made the cutest little classroom out of reusable materials like

Maris Masellis: that is horrible How are you spreading that message with the sustainability You know, when they’re getting these kits and they’re making all this all this cool stuff? How are you able to engage them and you know, these things were came from someone else? Or you know, it’s not just gonna go away into a landfill? How are you guys engaging that message?

Leah Sherry: Right so I mean, we had the benefit of being able to work with most of these kids already. Like these are kids we have relationships with because we have after school programs, so they are already reuse experts.

Maris Masellis: Are you guys? School Programs everywhere?

Leah Sherry: We have 10 Okay, at 10 different schools. Yeah. Okay. So now but we’ve We do in school programming, like where we’ll do a field trip or like, you know, we’ll send a teaching artists to do some sort of one offs. And we’ve been in over 60 of the metro schools doing those, but as far as like, we’re there, you know, consistently the kids by name. Like, yeah, so they they already know, like, they’re very familiar with the fabric swatch, or like a broken crayon and and I love telling people like the way in education, I used to be a teacher and it is so assessment heavy, I get the value of metrics, they’re very important, but sometimes you just gotta like, let go a little bit and be a little more human. But but the assessment at turnip green after school programs, if kids understand what we’re trying to do, at the beginning of the year, if they’re like, Oh, this crown is broken, it’s like, okay, that’s where you’re at. That’s fine. At the end of the year, if they’re like,

Maris Masellis: Hey, you look you

Leah Sherry: left a wrapper on the ground, we could make something out of this, which is I like them and plus they get it. That’s the only assessment I need because they’re looking at the world through a different lens of like being creative. And also Yes.

Maris Masellis: Oh, that’s a small success story for sure. Great. Love that.

Michael Britt: Also, you saw that you’ve upped your game with your videos on your YouTube channel in this whole lie. I try and subscribe today, because I saw it out. I watched Emery do one of her videos about airplane. She’s awesome.

Leah Sherry: Yeah, she rocks the whole education team rocks. So we actually you guys will be proud of us. We attended. We attended a video training workshop yesterday. So I my hope and everybody’s hope is that we just continue getting sharper with our video skills we learned about video editing. Did you know that’s

Maris Masellis: number one, we’re always Proud of you. And then I’ll have to say, I’m very lucky to have Michael because he’s behind the scenes. He’s the producer, and very much an editor and all of this. So yeah, I probably should be taking that class

Leah Sherry: too. But I always awesome. It was so helpful. And we all learned a lot. And it’s and like, that’s another way that we’re having to learn how to make things accessible. Because you know, the woman who is leading the workshop, her name is Gracie Phillips. She’s an awesome musician that you should all check out. And she also used to work with us. But she is she was saying like, did you know that only like, 32% of your content is being watched because your videos are too long. And we were like, Oh, so it’s the same thing to me. If we’re going into a classroom, whether it’s adults who are wanting to learn how to compost or like low income youth who have never heard of reduce, reuse, recycle, and they speak Arabic? Yes. Like we want to be able to like sort of bridge that gap to get our message across. So now we’re learning like okay, well we have to bridge the technology gap. It’s something that not a lot of us have like experienced extensively Marion’s Yeah, I’m, I’m so hands on and I want to like you and make something and hug you and hug you. But we need to learn, you know, the trends, the metrics, the tools, the editing, and we all need to be able to do that. Otherwise, it’s just gonna be like five people who see our nine minute video right, let’s

Michael Britt: take our original our first video I think was 15 minutes long. And then it went down to three minutes while we realized how to get it tighter. And I think we got some of our later ones down to 30 seconds for the video. Wow, it’s a matter of like just compressing and compressing the information and getting the fact that me directing their most important thing. Okay, cut the cut the extra verbiage go talk to this right here. And that’s that’s how Yeah, and

Maris Masellis: he’s a great director to let me tell you,

Unknown Speaker that’s awesome. That will maybe you should do another video.

Michael Britt: We’re here for you. You need

Jess Johnson: Oh,

Michael Britt: Maris is, uh, you know, she’s just such a guy in front for all of this. So like, I don’t want to be, you

Unknown Speaker know, I didn’t know

Maris Masellis: this was my calling though, guys, I came here doing music I was playing and singing open mics. And here I am today. And this is cool. You know, I was just on an interview with channel two news that reached out to zero waste trash talk earlier yesterday actually. And I told her I was like, this is a manifestation of all the things I’ve ever done. I went to school for Telecom, so I was working for the news after college. Then I moved to Nashville and I was performing. And then I was always in sustainability and my mom’s number. I’m like, all of these things just came together. And here I am. This is the this is the universe. This is where I’m supposed to be. And I think we all are truly because it’s been such a humbling experience, getting to meet all the different faces that are in the industry in the sector, I should say. And Kelly and you and Allie and everybody. It’s it’s been so so heartwarming to know like I have a place here. And and that’s, that’s what we’re trying to do the message with turnip green. There’s so many resources out there. There’s so many things for kids and adults and if you want to learn it’s out there and that’s how I met Kelly. And she told me to go to a sorting center and that’s how I met Michael. And and that’s how it started. It really just starts with one person and Nashville is so open like that and so friendly, that it’s it’s the gates just open the floodgates open whenever you put yourself out there. But so just the other day, I was talking with my neighbor, I was driving through the parking lot and I stopped he was outside and we were talking about how my area is it’s a lower income based housing area. When I first moved in here, there’s a lot of trash everywhere and there’s kids in this in this area, I know that a lot of them their parents will ask them to take the trash on the dumpster and half of them don’t make it and they just kind of throw it into the into the bushes is what as what I’m guessing. And we’re just talking about that and about coming together as a community and I thought and this was an idea way, way last year We wanted to do a cleanup and I thought, we got to get turnip green creative reuse out here. Because we could do that we could get the kids involved, we could do an arts and crafts, we could do a pickup. And that’s those are just some of the few things that you guys do. But that, you know, during this time, is there going to be a different way to go about that now with litter pickups and getting people together? You know, because that’s something I actually wanted to ask you personally. But it would be good to know, for everybody in Nashville that wanted to do something like that. Are you still operating? Or is that something we’re looking to still later in the phases?

Leah Sherry: So we have this is internally we have a four phase plan. And the the actual gathering components will happen and either phase three or four. So phase three at about half capacity, phase four, donations back to normal, but yeah, we actually are doing some things right now. So we are accepting donations two days a week. It’s by appointment that way we have a retake. I mean, I know like somehow as many things do, this whole health issue has become incredibly politicized. So I’ll say we stand on the side of taking it very seriously. We that’s just what we’re doing. And you know, it’s, it’s not political to us, to us, it’s health and safety of our community and our staff and our students. So we are accepting donations two days a week by appointment so we can space them out. We’re also quarantining the donations. So like if you go in turn of green right now, it looks like a whole different shop. It’s like everything is labeled with a date like this was accepted on this day, it can be unboxed on this day. And then like cleaning the donations and sort of rotating them through in a way where we know that we can safely pass them on where there isn’t a virus on them according to the science we do have. So that’s happening. We are in just a few days you guys get the first YOU GET THE FIRST ALERT that we’re going to offer virtual shopping. So people can actually FaceTime or zoom with us like, depending on what their setup is. And we have staff that are already ready to, like lead you through the store. And you basically say, like, I want that. And then I mean, these are things that we want to keep to even when everyone’s able to gather. One thing that we talked about a lot in our meetings is not everything about corporate or big box stores are good, but they definitely have some things figured out that we can adopt. And so making things convenient once again. And that’s a convenient thing we can offer to people. So we’re doing curbside pickup to we you don’t get out of your car. The number is really big on the door and you just call and someone comes out and gives it to you. What other things you saw the YouTube so there’s virtual programming, there’s art kits. We just did a Another blind spot. Another thing that I’m really excited about which are birth virtual birthday parties, so you can work with us and we’ll provide a teaching artists will help you set up the zoom. And if so, if it’s a group of kids, for example, we work with you to figure out what projects you want to do. And we’ll mail all of the attendees the art project, get together and zoom in so you can all do it together. So just like different things like that, that meet sort of more of like the physical distancing,

Maris Masellis: yeah. Do they? Do you make appointments on online? Or is there a number to call? Is that all online?

Leah Sherry: It’s all of the info is on our website, the FAQ page, I feel like it gets updated twice a day when it changes. Yeah. But that’s where the most relevant information is going to be in like all in one place. Okay.

Michael Britt: So that’s on the

Unknown Speaker turnip, green, creative reuse.org. And then you click Thank you

Maris Masellis: Yeah, there’s a there’s a home online shop who why how when and then Saks FAQ s. And so it’ll just be a forward slash FAQ.

Michael Britt: And we’ll post it in the notes on the show notes. So, so one thing you like taking one step backwards for the people who might not know exactly what you do, when you take items in, I know that as from our conversations and the videos we’ve done together and all of that they you you as an organization, feel that it’s better to be reused than to be recycle that reuse should be the first line of defense. And because of that, like at our house, we have, you know, the plastic bag recycling bin, we have the compost and dry compost bin and then the, the the turn of green bin of everything that could be reused again goes in there instead of before it goes into single stream or anywhere else. Are there things that like, we can You tell us what kind of items that you that you’d like the most like the other day, there’s a post on our zero waste. Facebook, Nashville Facebook group, or someone’s asking about an old cutting board is plastic and what I do with them people like to turn up green. I was like, I want that. I mean, what do you what kind of things do you want and don’t want and can really use?

Leah Sherry: Well, I think this is like a very hard thing for people to wrap their heads around. Because we just want to help you keep things out of the landfill that you don’t have another place for. And so maybe that is a cutting board. Maybe it’s half of an Easter egg. And maybe it’s maybe it’s something that we don’t necessarily accept in our store, but we still want to help you find a spot for it. Or we want to connect you to our, you know, I always think of Wiley like I’ll connect you to Wiley. He’s our friend who is like this super creative artist who can make something out of anything. So like, we want to be very solutions based and we don’t have a specific list. We just want to be more providing solutions, if that makes sense. So I, yeah, exactly. Yeah, we’re kind of just a catch all for all of these strange items that you look at. And you’re like, I hate to throw this away. But what else can I do? It’s like a turnip green. turnip green. That’s what else you can do. We’ll help you from there. Well, especially

Michael Britt: as recycling is, you know, like we’ve talked about in this upcoming in the last episode, we recorded how broken the recycling is, especially for plastics. and reuse is always going to be a better you know, choice for the

Maris Masellis: reduced for Yes,

Leah Sherry: yeah, reduce reuse, and I know that y’all are similar to me in this way. And I know a lot of people feel like this, but I don’t necessarily like leaning on systems outside of my control in general. It’s not a part of who I am. I like to know that like, if we have the weirdest 2020 ever A tornado wipes out my neighborhood and then a virus wipes out the rest of the world. Like, I can still rely on reuse. I don’t need a recycling vendor, I don’t need a recycling truck. Like I can still do the right thing and it’s in my control. So like Personally, I think that’s really special and I think we’re talking about you know, human connection and it’s something that we can work together to like help you know, like real name, you know, any red tape and then recycling to like, obviously, it’s better than the landfill but it still comes with so many other negative things like energy usage. And you know, we don’t i don’t see where this stuff goes and like I you know, we’re all just hoping but like with reuse, it isn’t literally in your hands and with turnip green, generally you can like say, Hey, I donated an old cutting board. You know, last week someone told me on on this Facebook site, do you know what happened to that? We are such a close, tight knit community that cares so deeply. I could probably be like, Oh, yeah, you know what this artist named Martha came in and got that and like, do you want you want me to connect to you. And I think that is just this other very human special element to reduce reuse and to what turnip green can provide.

Maris Masellis: What are some, like? What are some things at home that you do that when you say that are in your control, and you’re reusing? Like, give us a few examples?

Leah Sherry: If you can, I mean, yeah, of course, like, lately, I have just, you know, we’ve all been home a little more, and I just am missing so many of my friends and my people and my staff. So I’ve been doing a lot of card writing. But I mean, I’m not gonna go like buy a new card that is so silly. Like a card. That matters. Exactly. And so I’m also a collage artist, like that’s one of my favorite art form, too.

Maris Masellis: When I was a kid, I do so many collages. You should make some collages. Now, we’re soulmates. I knew

Leah Sherry: but One thing that happens with collages, a lot of times you have little scraps and bits. And I mean, you could recycle those because it’s paper, but I love saving mine and I’ve been making like collages out of the collage bits and then turning them into cards and like mailing them anymore. I think it’s a really fun challenge, especially when we’re teaching kids like, okay, here’s what you have to do. You can’t like have any scraps, like you have to use every scrap. So I’ve been doing that with my own like art practice at home. That’s

Maris Masellis: challenging.

Leah Sherry: Yeah, it’s fun. But once you start thinking it just like becomes habit, it gets easier and easier, and you start looking. This is so in the weeds. I’m sorry, I love collaging. And I’ve been doing a lot of it, but like you’re looking at this piece of paper, maybe I want like the lizard in the middle or the foreground, but then there’s this background. And so then I like automatically start imagining like, well, where does that piece go? And it kind of helps with this like, sort of larger scale view and like making connections in advance rather than just thinking of like one thing at a time, right? And I can go backwards to I know that I’ll have random things I’m like, What am I gonna do with this? But it makes me think back. How did I get this thing? Yes. Where did the exact wrong? Did I buy it? Do I? Do I buy things like this a lot and then not know what to do with them? It’s it’s that awareness and then it brings me backwards. And then my awareness shopping is different. Yes, totally. I think

Maris Masellis: we can i reuse this somehow or it was just gonna go straight to the landfill or is this gonna go to turn up green creative reuse is that should I do that?

Michael Britt: Or is it even worth buying in the first place? Did I need it when I bought it

Maris Masellis: unnecessary, right?

Leah Sherry: I know people tell me a lot of times they’re like, oh, like, I bet you just come home with so much stuff working at turnip green because you see so much stuff and I’m like, I hate stuff. Like I don’t want stuff ever because I see how much stuff comes in. And I would love to say it’s all like very second, third, fourth, fifth hand but a lot of the stuff we get is still packet. Wow. Because stuff is so accessible. People just buy it. It’s like, yeah, and I’m glad they’re donating it to us honestly. But I agree with you Like, you should always be thinking about the material before it’s in your hands. You shouldn’t be like having something and say, What do I do with this? Now, you know, you should be thinking of the whole picture. And ideally your ideal.

Maris Masellis: Yeah, yeah, totally. That’s, it’s a good sort of like goal, you know, for us to be thinking in that way. And that’s the that’s probably really intimidating for a lot of people. That’s how I felt in the very beginning. I felt almost kind of shameful. Like, how did I get all this stuff and why do I continue to buy more? And do I really need it like Michael said, and you two are very inspirational to me. I mean, in that sense, if you’ve been if you see Michael’s house, it is it is so clean, and he is the epitome of a minimalist. He could tell me about my

Michael Britt: wife, Carol, is I am a minimalist and really neat because of her For instance, when we were in LA and she first read Murray condos book I was like, Oh, it’s almost like giving an arsonist a can of gasoline or something. She’s a mentalist, like you would not believe, if we don’t use it. We used to live in photo studios, you could see everything. There’s no closets, hardly any storage. So we just got into the habit of things just collect us and have to get moved around. So why do you have stuff? And because of our lifestyle, that minimalism became important. Let me let me ask you a quick question. Because we have this sub topic in our head or I do is we’re talking about Maria Kondo. It’s like, you know that it’s great. It’s great that people are cleaning and organizing their closets and trying to get their lifes done or whatever but some of that advice like ripping your favorite parts out of books and then throwing the books away. I didn’t

Maris Masellis: I didn’t know that anything hurts in

Michael Britt: her book and I you know, I’m like, hashtag books are not single use, you know, like,

Maris Masellis: You could probably Yeah, yeah, probably straighten up a few of those things. And the first thing that comes to my mind the only show I’d seen one show of hers on TV, and going through all their stuff, and packing everything up. And the first thing that came to my mind was, where are you gonna play? stuff? Are you gonna ring it? Are you going to reuse it? Are you going to recycle it? But that is a misconception in our society right now is there is no away. It’s a constant, that I say it all the time. Now there is no way you think your stuff is just gonna magically disappear. And it’s not you have to really be thoughtful about it. And that’s what I love about turnip green. It’s so thoughtful and it brings people together. And I love getting to know all of your team and seeing how we can work together during this pandemic, especially. So if there’s some takeaways here. We’ve been kind of trying to highlight the main points of our talking of our conversation. And so I want to point out that They’re still up and running. They’re virtual. They’re doing their best to get savvy with technology and more videos so you can get online and you can have all that information fresh in front of you. And if there are things that you have questions about, send them a message. Yeah, well answer, and they will answer they’ll actually answer. Yes, we do. Um, and shout out to Kelly for supporting all of us. She’s met with Michael and I, a couple times and we’ve always had some great support and encouragement from her. So we love turnip green. Is there anything else? You want to leave the people?

Leah Sherry: You know, one thing that we didn’t touch on, forgive me for not discussing earlier. But one other cool thing that we do is a green gallery. We have two green galleries and so those are our galleries that feature local artists who use repurpose materials. Their work, and it, you know it, sometimes that turned up and people were like, okay, you have a gallery over here you have a shop over here, you have education over here, they’re actually all super connected, right? They all fall under our mission of fostering creativity and sustainability through reuse. And there’s a lot of education in the gallery. Whenever people walk it, you guys have been attuned to green. So you know, the first thing you see when you walk in on the right, is like this nice, polished sort of the crown jewel. And it’s like, wow, that’s beautiful work. If you didn’t see the rest of the store, you might not ever know that it came from what people call trash. We don’t believe in that word, but you know what I mean, right? And then you pan over to the left when you walk into turn a green and you see all of the raw materials. So you can in one sort of snapshot, see, this is stuff that I may have associated like with trash, I may have thrown this kind of stuff away, but look what it can become, if worked and curated and given like attention. So So we think that The gallery is really important for elevating artists and art and also just educating people about what you can do with these materials rather than throwing them away. But we have, you know, we don’t have people coming in right now, but we do have virtual gallery shows, so we’re still doing the art crawl. A lot of other galleries are too so I definitely want to plug that do an art one. That’s the first Saturday from six to nine. So we usually do like an Instagram or a Facebook Live and we interview the artists and we have them curate their own shows at home. You guys will love this mic. Windy. If you haven’t met Mike windy, he’s our current artist. Y’all would hit it off so hard. So he he has always been an environmentalist and an artist, as far as I know. But every day in 2020, he’s made a sculpture out of something he’s found on a walk or in a parking lot. Everyday everyday. Yeah, they’re so cool and like the way he has them curated. If you look on our web, You’ll see he has them in his get he has a gallery at his house. And it’s just beautiful all together. And there’s a story, you know, like a really funny title behind every single one. But there’s 120 in his current exhibition, and that’s our main show in our green gallery right now. So, if you go on our website and you purchase one, you also get to name your own price because he really believed in keeping this accessible. So it’s not gonna be like you have to be a millionaire to afford these art pieces. And then the other he’s splitting the cost between turnip or the proceeds between turnip green and educators cooperative, which is an awesome organizations guy. Yeah, that’s like an easy way to be sustainable support arts and education. I mean, what what could be better for But yeah, I definitely just wanted to talk about the gallery piece too, especially because our gallery coordinator works really hard and our gallery works really hard and that’s something else people can tune into and check out they want to see lady art. Absolutely.

Maris Masellis: Love that. Anything else? Yeah, that was it. about Michael

Michael Britt: No, I just think it’s awesome what they’re doing and the art of being able to buy art virtually right now everyone’s probably thinking, we’re out of work everything’s, you know, up in the air but you’re sitting at home looking at blank walls like why not look at something that inspires you and you know, spread, spread what good cheer and money there is around to each other and just like supporting restaurants, artists who can’t forget artists as well, they’re the galleries are shut down just like the theaters and the, the, you know, the auditoriums for us to go see live music and the restaurants and all. We’re all in this together. And I think art brings along life. Yeah,

Leah Sherry: yeah. And it’s like just a really great example of how that’s another way to make sustainability accessible. Like maybe I don’t like art, but maybe I love buying clothes. So a way that I can support sustainability without changing too much like I can start searching sustainable clothing brands, you know, that’s a quick Google search away. So like, I think there can be some stainability integrated into almost any interest in like, where where you are putting your dollars or your time or your energy or your conversations. So I think that’s just another really like good way to think about it. Like, what am I getting online to buy right now? Or like, what am I getting online to like, watch a YouTube video up and maybe see if there’s sort of a sustainable version or tie in. And that’s a great like entry point into this really like overwhelming sort of concept of how to be greener.

Maris Masellis: No, yeah. Cheers to that. Well, thanks so much for chatting with us today and sharing all the good things that you’re doing. Turn up green, creative reuse.org. And there’s lots of fun stuff on there. They actually have a Facebook group as well our Facebook page and I just saw the virtual tour. So Leah gives a personal virtual tour of everything if you want to go see it for yourself and support our artists support our community and less waste in the landfill, which is say,

Unknown Speaker whoo, thank you so much chiller, amazing for you. Spreading the good word and for so many other reasons

Maris Masellis: you think are amazing to good people attract other good people, and we’re just gonna keep spreading the love. Thanks, Leah. Thank you both

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *