Lisa Bjerke is working on changing people’s relationships to waste. Instead of thinking of it simply as garbage, as something to be thrown away and forgotten about, she invites us to consider waste as valuable “discarded resources.”

Bjerke is a Master’s student at College of the Atlantic, where she manages the school’s discarded resources while also studying human conceptions of waste. Bjerke’s passion for compost and other processes to reuse discarded resources has taken her around the world and back to Maine. She tries to understand how and why we see physical materials as something to toss or keep, the impact of our habits of discarding, and how to move beyond waste management.

Bjerke is originally from Sweden, and holds a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic. In 2014, she was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow and visited Germany, India, China, and Japan to explore people’s relationships to compost and food waste.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more here.