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One City's Trash Is Artistic Treasure

Inside the artist-in-residence program at the San Francisco dump.
Matthew Gottschalk, a former artist in residence, scavenges for material.
Matthew Gottschalk, a former artist in residence, scavenges for material.Recology

In San Francisco, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade—as long as the lemons end up in the compost bin. And when life gives you discarded hats, tires, old paint, and toys, you make art.

In fact, since they started weighing it in 2011, artists at the city's trash company, Recology, have taken 180,302 pounds of discarded hotel uniforms, mass-produced artwork, wigs, and trade show banners, and made it all into new sculptures, photographs, paintings, and videos.