The art of recycling

Artist Mary Lacy, one of the organizers of the project, assembled a team of eight local artists who had experience with large-scale mural projects. This was the perfect project for Lacy, who is very passionate about environmental issues. Lacy created an abstract mural of Chittenden County on her container.

Anthill Collective has a group of artists who paint almost exclusively with aerosol. The Antill Collective has been involved in many projects working directly with community members, and works cooperatively to make large projects happen, whether it's a community based project or a private commission.

Each mural was completed within seven to 10 days, and at least 25% of each mural was painted with recycled or reclaimed paint. This fusion of art and recycling invited local artists to paint murals on 22-foot-long recycling containers to create a more engages recycling experience.

Prior to painting, the containers were cleaned, lightly scuffed, and primed with Stix bonding primer. To finish them off, each mural recieved three topcoats of Old Masters Spar Urethane, with at least six hours between each coat, and at least 48 hours of curing after the last coat.

Much of the paint used in the project came from CSWD’s Local Color recycled paint program, which collects and recycles leftover paint dropped off by residents and businesses at the CSWD Environmental Depot in South Burlington. Chittenden County has become a national model for waste reduction and recycling efforts.

The project was funded by a grant from, which has a strong history of investment in community initiatives, particularly involving local art and sustainability. The grant money paid the artists for their work and for the transportation of the roll-off containers.

In 2012, the Vermont Legislature unanimously passed Act 148, a universal recycling and composting law that offers Vermonters a new set of systems and tools for keeping as much as possible out of the landfill. The first thing the Legislature did was jettison the concept of waste itself.These container murals can be seen in rotation at five of CSWD's seven Drop-Off Centers.

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