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The art of recycling

July 1st, 2015 / By: / Projects

What do Houston’s local artists and recycling truck drivers have in common? Six trucks wrapped in colorful, dynamic graphic film to help the city roll out its city-wide recycling program. Artwork titles include “Green Dream,” “Patterns of Consumption” and “Mad Tax beyond the Astrodome.” Photo: Debby Joiner, Thomas Printworks
What do Houston’s local artists and recycling truck drivers have in common? Six trucks wrapped in colorful, dynamic graphic film to help the city roll out its city-wide recycling program. Artwork titles include “Green Dream,” “Patterns of Consumption” and “Mad Tax beyond the Astrodome.” Photo: Debby Joiner, Thomas Printworks

The City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) in Texas wanted to call attention to its expanded city-wide Automated Curbside Recycling program for single-stream collection of recyclables at 380,000 households. An unusual partnership between the “greenies” at SWMD and the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) set the Art Recycling Trucks project in motion; six recycling trucks wrapped with work by talented local artists have become a rolling reminder about resource recovery.

HAA put out an open call for artists to design the trucks, and six were selected to apply their artistic visions to the lumpy, bumpy three-dimensional surface of a recycling truck. The first completed truck wrap debuted during the Mayor’s Earth Day Breakfast in April 2014; “Green Dream” by Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola features larger-than-life images of fig ivy. The following month, “Green Dream” and the second truck, “Patterns of Consumption” by CORE Design Studio, participated in
the Houston Art Car Parade.

Thomas Printworks of Houston wraps a lot of vehicles, but “We’d never wrapped a recycling truck before,” says Joe Christ, strategic account executive. The wrap consisted of two layers of 3M™ products, both of which are warranted for durability up to five years. Thomas Printworks measured surfaces on the truck, took pictures and had a designer create a vector path for the “puzzle pieces” that went to the HAA artists. An Epson SureColor® printed the final artwork pieces on 3M Controltac™ Graphic Film with Comply™ v3 Adhesive IJ180Cv3 to cover the 25-foot-long and 9-foot-high vehicle. Similar pieces of 3M Scotchcal™ Luster Overlaminate 8519 protected and finished the wrap. Edges, curves and extrusions were managed by applying heat with a torch to make the films more malleable.

After the success of the first six trucks, Christ and his team were asked to wrap two more.

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