College professor teaches a lesson in sustainability by living in a dumpster
Jeff “Professor Dumpster” Wilson isn’t the first dumpster-dweller we’ve encountered — there’s this guy in New York, and these tiny dwellings in Germany, and Oscar the Grouch. Clearly there’s a certain type of mind that looks at a giant trash bin and thinks “home sweet home.” But Wilson, an honest-to-god environmental science professor at Huston Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, is the first one we know of to make college students part of his dumpster-based life.
FastCoExist reports that Wilson started his dumpsterventure by selling off everything he owned, “except for a suitcase filled with dumpster-ready essentials, a Sun God totem from Kazakhstan, and a pair of lederhosen.” Then he moved on into the former trash receptacle, where he’ll spend a year tracking his waste, water, and energy usage.
He’ll start by sleeping on the floor in the bare-bones cleaned-out bin, but by the end of the project, Wilson and his students will have kitted out the dumpster to be the ultimate efficient living space:
Next, Wilson and his students will make it comfortable, but wasteful, installing modern conveniences like air conditioning, lights and a toilet. Its inefficiency will be carefully tracked in order to develop a baseline. “I’m actually going to, for a few days, carry all my water in five gallon buckets up from town lake, filter it, and use it in the dumpster,” says Wilson.
Once it’s fully operational, they’ll take this deluxe dumpster and give it the full no-impact-man treatment. “I might say, ‘Looks like that drier is really hogging a lot of energy; What would happen if I just sold that on Craigslist and made myself a clothesline?’” Wilson says. He imagines proceeding from low-hanging fruit like energy-efficient bulbs to nano-insulation and energy-producing toilets, “until eventually, we get a completely pimped out dumpster.”
The plan is for Wilson’s students to enact similar efficiency improvements in their dorms — and his “Professor Dumpster” character will even spread the message to younger kids. But perhaps not Wilson’s own 6-year-old: ““My ex-wife did not express a lot of encouragement in our daughter sleeping with daddy in a dumpster.” Jeez, hasn’t this lady seen Sesame Street?