Professor living in a dumpster for a year to investigate sustainable living

19 pictures

Dr. Jeff Wilson of Huston-Tillotson University is transforming a dumpster and living in it for a year (Photo: Sarah Natsumi Moore)

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Lots of us make sacrifices for the environment, but few of us would consider supporting the cause by moving into a dumpster. Dr. Jeff Wilson of Huston-Tillotson University, however, is doing just that. Working with his students and the community, he's transforming an old dumpster and living in it for a year.

Gizmag has covered tiny living spaces made from all sorts of things previously, including repurposed water tanks and shipping containers. We've never featured a home made from a dumpster before, though.

The aim of the Dumpster Project is to investigate sustainable living practices in recognition of a world with an increasing population but decreasing space and resources to go around. The dumpster itself is 33 sq ft (3 sq m), compared to the average American home of 2,500 sq ft (232 sq m). Wilson says he is not suggesting that everyone should consider downscaling to such an extent, but should consider to what extent they can "do with less" and hopes that the project will encourage conversations and ideas around the topic.

In the bid to see whether a dumpster of this size could provide a legitimate living space, a number of modifications have been (and continue to be) made. In order to prepare the dumpster, it had to be thoroughly cleaned and rust-proofed. Insulation was required to provide some degree of warmth, and more simple solutions such as a clothes line and rain garden were added.

More complex additions, meanwhile, have included solar panels to generate electricity, a high-efficiency toilet, a false floor to provide storage, a weather station, air conditioning, a pitched roof, locks and a mailbox. The pockets have been sealed so that the dumpster cannot be mistaken for and serviced as a standard trash receptacle, and Wilson has furnished the inside.

The Dumpster is located on the Huston-Tillotson University campus in Austin, Texas. The project began last year, and Wilson moved into the dumpster on February 4th of this year. He plans to inhabit it for at least 12 months.

The video below is a documentary of the first six months of the Dumpster Project.

View gallery - 19 images

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