HTX Comforts of Home 2013
Dumpster Living?

Home Sweet Dumpster: Austin professor plans to spend one year in tiny trash bin

Austin professor plans to make garbage dumpster home for one year

Professor Dumpster Dr. Jeff Wilson
Huston-Tillotson University professor Dr. Jeff Wilson (a.k.a. Professor Dumpster) will live in a 6-by-6-foot trash bin for one year. Photo by Dr. Jeff Wilson/ Professor Dumpster Blog

Do you think you could live in 33 square feet? What about a 33 square foot dumpster? Well, one Austin educator is about to do just that. Professor Dumpster (you may know him by his given name Dr. Jeff Wilson), is a Harvard and University of Canterbury-educated environmental science professor now teaching at Huston-Tillotson University who has decided to live in a dumpster for a whole calendar year.

Professor Dumpster plans to soon take up residence in the customized trash bin to spread awareness about sustainability and promote the model of "less is more." After posting on Facebook that he was selling everything he owned for a single dollar (we wish we had seen that status update), Wilson moved into his office at HT to begin the process of lessening his environmental impact and living on a smaller scale.

Professor Dumpster plans to take up residence in the customized trash bin to spread awareness about sustainability and promote the model of "less is more." 

But this isn't just a story about living in a dumpster. Professor Dumpster is after all a teacher, and this year-long experiment is a chance for his students to design, build and test the bin with the goal of taking it from a garbage can to a home.  “The idea here is to ultimately show one can have a pretty good life in a dumpster," Wilson told Fast Company.

The first phase of the project is to outfit the tiny space to have many of the creature comforts of a modern home: shower, kitchen, bed, WiFi and toilet. After that, the goal is to design the space to be as energy efficient as possible in order to reduce its environmental impact (think things like solar panels and energy producing toilets).

For times when the professor just needs to get out of the trash can, students can opt to stay overnight in the dumpster. As one HT student told KVUE, she's already excited to spend a night in the bin. "I think it's pretty intriguing," said Evette Jackson. "It's pretty cool. I want to live in it too."

After his year of living in 6-feet by 6-feet is up, Wilson plans on taking the bin across the country to teach students about the possibility of living outside the box while living, well, inside a box.

You can follow Professor Dumpsters latest adventures on The Dumpster Project blog.