Trash is Ugly, But Recycling is Downright Beautiful

TRASHThe European Union generates about 2.5 billion tons of trash each year. That’s 1,060 pounds of bottles, fast food wrappers, and other detritus for every man, woman and child. Forty-three percent of that stuff is recycled into still more stuff, a rate that puts the Europeans ahead of the US.

Belgian photographer Paul Bulteel has always been fascinated by the intersection of industry and sustainability, so it was only natural that he’d spend some 18 months visiting 50 recycling operations in five countries for his photo series and book Cycle & Recycle. “[I want] to confront the viewer with the volumes and variety of leftovers from our society,” he says, “and to document the ongoing efforts for recycling.”

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