Innovative economic choices have become alternative stories for a decade coping with recessions and upheavals in social paradigms, but most people would be hard pressed not to do a ‘double take’ when they saw Gregory Kloehn and his fully functioning ‘dumpster’ apartment
The smell of rubbish might be one of the obvious downsides, but Kloehn’s minimalist lifestyle isn’t quite as spartan as it seems at first sight. His dumpster is equipped with a shower, toilet and working kitchen, re-modeling the classic dumpster dive into a small pseudo-apartment whose grim exterior does not betray the quaint and comfortable interiors.
“It’s a challenge to see if I could make a home that would go undetected in the city,” Kloehn told HGTV, suggesting that other minimalist city dwellers try their luck at converting rubbish bins into liveable quarters with little more than a six gallon tank of stored water, stovetop, minibar and an optional five gallon propane tank for outdoor barbecuing.
Kloehn even has a skylight – just pull back the lid and enjoy the fresh outdoor air.
The Ultimate Recycling Venture
This isn’t the first time a person has repurposed a bin into a dwelling. Artists, designers and homeless people of all varieties have taken creative licenses with storage spaces before, and in many instances transformed an empty bin into a functioning habitat for their own minimalist needs or the housing of the less fortunate. Numerous charitable organisations have teamed up with city officials to convert unused storage freights into small but liveable homes for the homeless, additionally serving as a model example of the benefits of recyclable and renewable attitudes. Recycling does not begin and end with the recycling facilities and binmen, but the principle of a movement that believes people live in a world of material abundance that can be used and then reused into new forms and functions.
Weather conditions can hamper the long term sustainability of a “dumpster dive” without Kloehn’s technical know-how, since most dumpster homes do not have working heating or air conditioning, but efforts like Kloehn’s have given many adventurous developers inspiration in using their own recycling to transform anything from buses to boxes into minimalist living quarters for the disadvantaged or similarly inclined. These efforts bring as much attention to recycling as they do to the plight of the needy, and service both as a result.
Stories like Kloehn’s serve as valuable inspiration in the recycling movement, and this osmosis of ideology has even created several live-in waste bins that have been so thoroughly repurposed that they no longer house rubbish, but living, breathing people. Some of these examples might be taking eco-consciousness to extreme levels, but their ambition represents the ideal of what’s possible when people get creative with the resources at their disposal.
There are two thoughts that should occur to anyone when they see someone like Gregory Kloehn living in a repurposed dumpster. The first will entertain some due caution over just how crazy the man is, and where he keeps his tin foil hats, but the second thought will be the genuine surprise that comes when they realise what’s possible when giving up the throwaway society and we start reusing as much as we possibly can.