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Published: Friday, 4/24/2009

Artists have designs on landfill-bound trash


One person's waste is another person's art.

A northeast Ohio group called ZeroLandfill was built around that concept in 2006. It puts landfill-bound building materials and product samples into the hands of artists and educators who can use them as art supplies.

Now, that concept is coming to Toledo.

Under a partnership with the International Interior Design Association of Toledo, the two groups have formed a pilot program in which items such as surplus carpet samples and roof shingles will be given away from noon to 6 p.m. on four consecutive Fridays through May 15.

The materials can be dropped off and picked up from a vacant building at 1301 Adams St., Alison Dillion said. She's a design association member and chairman of the Toledo program.

The program, which begins today, operates like a co-op.

Donated materials are made available to those who can use them on a first-come, first-served basis, with the goal being to keep as much as possible out of landfills.

Got a few spare ceramic tiles? Who knows? In the right hands, they could become a decorative tabletop.

ZeroLandfill claims to have diverted 150,543 pounds of samples from landfills since its inception.

"They were completely overwhelmed by the response they got," Ms. Dillion said.

There is no charge to see what's available or to leave with something.

The advice? Simply bring your own box or bags to haul the stuff away and give it new life as art supplies.

Toledo's giveaway could become popular among scrapbook enthusiasts, scouting groups, animal shelters, day care centers, church groups, and others, said Ms. Dillion, a sales representative for a building supply company.

"This is really a trial run," she said. "Obviously, the goal is to keep as much out of the landfill as possible."

ZeroLandfill is now in other cities, including Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Boston. Columbus, Louisville, and Minneapolis also are launching programs this year.

For more information, see www.zerolandfill.net.

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