If you’ve been to Friedland in Old Town, you’ve probably noticed their hubcap-decorated fence. It’s become a landmark of sorts. The hubcaps are painted by people who visit them during Be A Tourist In Your Own Town every year.
Except in 2014, they ran out of hubcaps! As a result, for the 2015 Be A Tourist In Your Own Town, they switched gears to more of an educational activity for kids about the various commodities processed for recycling.
This got Friedland thinking about how scrap evolves as society evolves. Hubcaps, which at one point were a highly valued detail on vehicles, weren’t produced as much when automotive manufacturers began to make all aluminum wheels. In the 1980s and 1990s, Friedland still saw hubcaps come in as scrap frequently, but they practically never do today.
As one commodity goes extinct, another tends to take its place. Like hubcaps, newspaper seems to currently be in a transformation period. Now, people tend to read news articles online, rather than from a hard copy newspaper. Since there is less of a demand for the hard copy, newspapers have become thinner. But while newspaper is experiencing a decrease in demand, electronics, which we use to view article online and that can also be processed as scrap for recycling, are increasing in demand.
For the fence of hubcaps at Friedland, it becomes clear that though our scrap is constantly evolving and can’t live forever, our concepts of art and creativity can.