New Trash Monster Delivers Sustainability Message in Blue Wall

The Trash Monster
The Trash Monster

Just in time for Halloween, a brand new Trash Monster has moved into the Blue Wall to tackle the monstrous problem of consumer waste.

The Trash Monster reminds students and others using the Campus Center’s dining hot spot about the importance of reducing their carbon footprint by using fewer disposables.

Designed and built by Leif Lindholm, a sophomore majoring in industrial engineering, the new sculpture is set between Tamales and Tavola. Made primarily of plywood, plumbing straps, and of course a lot of trash—including UMass compostable to-go containers, paper plates and plastic cutlery—the 6-foot tall creation is raising awareness of problems created by improper recycling and composting habits, or the neglect of them.

Lindholm’s concept—a tentacled sea creature made from trash—was chosen from 10 submissions to replace the first Trash Monster, created in 2016 by Alexander Nason, a junior in the Isenberg School of Management. Nason use metal wires to form his monster, an 8-foot tall skeleton holding nearly 200 meticulously arranged compostable to-go containers.

Lindholm hopes the new monster will serve as a fresh reminder to students that they should try to “feed it” as little as possible by reducing their own waste. That can be as simple as opting for a china plate instead of paper when dining in.

His design features a clay Sam the Minuteman beset by a sea creature built with waste items from the Blue Wall. “I wanted to show the impending nature of this threat as the rising sea beneath the ship, as well as its severity as the extreme danger Sam faces when we neglect to address the issue of consumer waste,” Lindholm said.

As the largest compost stream on campus, UMass Dining is proud to collaborate with students to raise awareness of environmental responsibility. “It’s been so exciting to see a tradition built at Blue Wall,” said Van Sullivan, director of retail dining. “What started literally joking around with a student about building a robot out of trash turned into our beloved first Trash Monster and now has blossomed into an entirely new version.”

Kathy Wicks, UMass Dining director of sustainability, said, “We are excited to have students involved in calls to action about how help to reduce waste and be more sustainable…[the monster] is a fun and creative expression of how everyone can get involved.”

It took Lindholm about two days to conceptualize and draw the design and about two and a half weeks at home in New York over the summer to build it with help from his parents and sister.