Bales of old clothing, sorted in to categories, are stacked and bound, awaiting reuse and export. A colorful mass of industrial polyurethane and fleece trim will be shredded to make acoustic insulation and shock pads. Tightly packed blocks of scrap wool from the carpet industry will be turned into heat-resistant felt and spun into yarn. Since 2013, Paul Bulteel has photographed operations at fifty companies that recycle waste across Western Europe, making images that highlight the alluring colors and shapes and textures of materials on their way to another purpose. The series is on view in “Waste Not,” a show at Anastasia Photo in New York City that runs until November 22.
Recycling may be part of Bulteel’s national heritage—he is from Belgium, where 62 percent of waste is recycled, one of the highest rates in the world (compared to only 35 percent in the U.S.). As the gallery writes, Bulteel “aims to document a variety of waste streams and make viewers aware of the enormous quantities of materials left behind.” The series “illustrates and encourages efforts to recycle waste on an unprecedented scale.”
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