Documentary brings waste into focus

Film screening includes recycling talk



Courtesy photo

A free screening of the documentary film “Garbage Dreams” is at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

If you go

What: Community Cinema screening of “Garbage Dreams”

When: 6:30 p.m. Monday

Where: Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library

Cost: Free

Call: 879-0240

— In Arabic, “Zaballeen” translates to “garbage people.”

In the documentary film “Garbage Dreams,” the Zaballeen are at the center of the action, as members of the garbage-collecting population outside Cairo adapt their practice of recycling about 80 percent of the city’s waste.

Bud Werner Memorial Li­­brary, Yampa Valley Recycles and the Yampa Valley Sus­­tain­ability Council present a screening of “Garbage Dreams” at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Library Hall. The event is the second in a monthly Community Cinema series; the library project pairs documentaries from the PBS Independent Lens Series with presentations by related community organizations.

“I think this is an interesting opportunity for people to learn other ways that trash issues and recycling are being dealt with around the world and to bring those good ideas home,” said Jennie Lay, event organizer and the library’s adult programs coordinator.

“The Zaballeen were recycling 80 percent of what they brought in, which is a pretty amazing goal for us to be chasing ourselves,” she said.

“Garbage Dreams” follows three teenage boys born into the garbage trade as members of the Zaballeen, a population of 60,000 people who for generations have been in charge of taking care of Cairo’s trash. The documentary tells the boys’ stories as their lives change when multinational waste management corporations take over trash collection in Cairo.

“It tells the broader cultural story of that community and what their business is and what happened with the globalization of trash collection, but it takes it down to a personal level and follows these boys who are literally born into this trade,” Lay said.

The film isn’t directly related to recycling, but it shows what can be done with precision and attention to reuse, said Andy Kennedy, a board member for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

“They take them to a landfill, of all places, and they ask them, ‘If you ran a landfill, what would you do?’ and the boys say they’d dig it all up and recycle and reuse everything that could be used that’s in there,” Kennedy said. “That’s a nice segue to our landfill … (and) what Home ReSource is doing out there, really trying to keep everything from going into the landfill from the start.”

Representatives from Home Re­­­Sour­­ce, a salvage yard and warehouse at the Milner Land­­fill, will be on hand to give a presentation after the film. Representatives from Yampa Valley Recycles will present their “Recycling 101” lecture, outlining what can and can’t be recycled in the Yampa Valley. Waste Management will screen a 10-minute informational film about where recycling goes once it’s collected.

Yampa Valley Sustainability Council holds its first “Talking Green” informational event of the year from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Steamboat Smoke­house.

"Garbage Dreams" trailer

For more information about participating organizations, go to, or To learn more about the Community Cinema series, go to or


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