Jeff Wilson spent the last year living in a dumpster.
It’s not what it sounds like: Wilson — who goes by the alter-ego “Professor Dumpster” — is an environmental science professor and dean at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas who worked with his students and a team of experts to transform that dumpster into a sustainable home that cost under $US10,000.
The project’s director of operations Karen Magid says that the dumpster’s development is far from over, and that they’re currently accepting applications from educators to spend a night in the dumpster as a catalyst for teaching their students about the environment and sustainability.
Wilson is now transitioning back to a noisy life full of the usual bills in a normal-sized house with his girlfriend, but plans to begin a new project soon: 99 Nights ATX, where he will spend 99 nights sleeping on couches in 99 different households in Austin.
Here, Team Dumpster shared photos of the 6×6-foot trash receptacle that served as Wilson’s home for the last year.
The Dumpster Project was originally intended to be completed in three phases, starting when Wilson took occupancy in February 2014: camping in a bare-bones dumpster (shown here); living in a dumpster 'home,' with additions such as storage and a bed; and then fine-tuning the dumpster into the ultimate sustainable home, which will continue now that Wilson has vacated.
Earlier in stage two, the project's current stage, a fake floor was installed to store Wilson's belongings and limited wardrobe. This dumpster will probably be preserved mid-stage two, and the team will turn their attention to another prototype.
The dumpster has been hooked up to electricity, although the team is looking at bringing in solar power. As far as water, 'the bathroom will always be a sticking point,' Magid says.
Here, you can see its garden beds, mailbox, and sole window. The team hopes to eventually add more levels, as well as a bathroom, deck, and vegetable garden.
Wilson told The Atlantic that in the summer, his Texan dumpster can easily top 100 degrees, making it unbearable during the day. The team purchased an air conditioning unit to fight the heat -- and he could always take refuge in his office. During his occupancy he relied on the university's shower facilities.
This shot from the 'skylight,' 'retractable roof,' or 'lid,' depending on what you want to call it, gives a pretty good idea of the dumpster's dimensions, which decreased from 36 square feet to 31 square feet when the floor was added.
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