Recycle Runway Blog

Moving and Sustainability Published: 10.13.2014 at 5:45 pm by Nancy Judd


Our Traveling Caravan

This summer my spouse, Nicole, and I moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Portland, Oregon. We made the move partially to be near family (Portland is my home town) but also for sustainability reasons. Almost daily we read articles about the long-term drought facing the southwest region of the US, and it seemed clear to us that water is becoming even more precious and scarce, and this area will be challenged to support the number of people that are currently living there. Our decision to leave was based on our desire to not be an additional burden on this ecosystem. It is unclear exactly how climate change is going to alter our communities, but we feel strongly that it is important to live in a place with abundant water, and Portland is certainly that! The City also makes it easy to live more sustainably– it is very bike-able, has a great public transportation system, is renowned for its recycling and composting programs, has multiple local organic farmers markets, strong neighborhoods that promote community building, and many other progressive sustainability programs! Plus it is a very, VERY fun place with tons of creativity. I look forward to working in this dynamic community!

Leaving Santa Fe after 20 years was not easy for me. Recycle Runway was born, incubated and lovingly supported by my Santa Fe and New Mexico community. I created my first trash fashion while working as the recycling coordinator for the City of Santa Fe, when in 1998 I co-founded the Recycle Santa Fe Art Market and Trash Fashion Contest and created a bubble wrap dress to promote the event. After that I made a dress every year and soon had a collection of recycled garments that I had created and that others had given to me. While working as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition, I met many other recycling coordinators around the country who invited me to organize recycled fashion shows in their communities which I enjoyed doing for seven years.

In 2008 I stopped organizing recycled fashion shows because I realized that I could reach more people (that were not already thinking about the environment) with my message of sustainability using exhibitions located in high-traffic public locations such as airports, shopping malls and museums. I also decided to make this my full-time work, and could never have succeeded if it weren’t for the assistance of WESST, a local non-profit funded by the Small Business Administration that helps entrepreneurs. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to all the people in Santa Fe and New Mexico who fostered Recycle Runway and I will miss them dearly.

Nicole Loading the Moving Truck

Nicole Loading the Moving Truck

The act of moving is not a very sustainable activity but there are certainly ways we found to incorporate reuse and waste reduction into the process. In the next blog post Nicole, who will begin helping me with my blog-posts and social media campaigns, will discuss some of these activities. Nicole grew up in many different countries because her father worked for the State Department so she was curious about the relationship between sustainability, moving and nomadic cultures and did some really interesting research into the topic. Tune-in to our next post to find out what she discovered.

Thanks again to all my friends, colleagues and family in New Mexico!

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