An upcoming documentary entitled Landfill Harmonic chronicles the work of Favio Chavez, who is using trash to inspire his local community in Cateura, Paraguay. The documentary follows Chavez, landfill technician and director of the appropriately named Recycled Orchestra, as he constructs musical instruments made of trash sourced directly from the landfill. He provides these instruments to local youth both to inspire them and to try to keep them out of gangs – an unfortunate and all-too-common fate for many in Cateura. He also hopes to use the Recycled Orchestra as a platform from which to teach the importance of recycling, conservation, and the hazards of wastefulness.
At first, building the instruments was a difficult task for Chavez, a landfill technician with only basic carpentry skills. But over the course of four years, Chavez has perfected his craft, discovering which materials works best for each instrument. The film depicts how an oil drum and meat tenderizers can sound as deep and rich as a cello, and that music can be a force to change the lives of a marginalized community.
Like Freshkills Park, Favio Chavez and his Recycled Orchestra are finding opportunities in what is, to many, simply a blighted landscape.