The Real Deal New York

Has the tiny house movement jumped the shark?

The evidence? A professor living in an "eco-friendly" dumpster in Austin

September 21, 2014 02:00PM
By Business Insider

A dumpster house

A dumpster house

Jeff Wilson lives in a dumpster. It’s not what it sounds like: Wilson is an environmental science professor and dean at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, and he’s working with his students and a team of experts to transform that dumpster into a sustainable home that costs under $10,000.

He uses the alter-ego “Professor Dumpster.”

“Professor Dumpster will be spending one year in a dumpster that is approximately 6 feet x 6 feet, or about 1% the size of the average new American home. Professor Dumpster, in his bid to become part of the ‘new 1%’ will strive to use 1% the water, 1% the energy, and create 1% the waste of the average American home,” reads The Dumpster Project website.

We first came across Wilson over at The Atlantic, where they describe his downsizing from a 2,500-square-foot house to a 500-square-foot apartment and finally to the 36-square-foot dumpster. For reference, that’s 152 square feet less than the self-proclaimed “world’s smallest house” in London, 204 square feet less than a typical $30,000 tiny house, and 92 square feet smaller than the tiny house in which a Business Insider reporter spent the weekend with her mom.

We were so intrigued by Wilson’s project that we reached out to Team Dumpster to see if it had photos to share. We’ve published them here with the group’s permission.

The Dumpster Project will be completed in three phases, starting when Wilson took occupancy in February 2014: camping in a bare-bones dumpster (shown here); living in a dumpster “home,” with additions such as storage and a bed; and then fine-tuning the dumpster into the ultimate sustainable home.

completed-in-three-phases-starting-when-wilson-took-occupancy-in-february-2014-camping-in-a-bare-bones-dumpster-shown-here-living-in-a-dumpster-home-with-additions-such-as-storage-and-a-bed-and-then-fine-tuning-the-dumpst

Now, the dumpster is starting to look a little more like home.

now-the-dumpster-is-starting-to-look-a-little-more-like-home

Here, you can see its garden beds, mailbox, and sole window.

here-you-can-see-its-garden-beds-mailbox-and-sole-window

This photo was taken from the dumpster’s sole window, which also functions as the door.

this-photo-was-taken-from-the-dumpsters-sole-window-which-also-functions-as-the-door

In the third and final stage, which hasn’t yet begun, the team will continue adding to the home with a focus on making sure it uses 1% of the energy and water used in of the average American home.

in-the-third-and-final-stage-which-hasnt-yet-begun-the-team-will-continue-adding-to-the-home-with-a-focus-on-making-sure-it-uses-1-of-the-energy-and-water-used-in-of-the-average-american-home

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