Founders Note

For the very first post of this blog, which is also the mouthpiece for the nonprofit, A Clean Life, I thought it would be nice to write a little note about why I am doing this.

As an introduction…my name is Steven Mandzik and I want to be a trashman.  I am here with a simple vision:

Stretch your horizons, my son, for it is a big world of possibilities open to you, by Kreyten on Flickr
Stretch your horizons, my son, for it is a big world of possibilities open to you, by Kreyten on Flickr

I want to change the way America deals with trash.

I believe we have a true opportunity to effect change over the next few years. I pledge myself to this vision. Further, I believe in transparency, local communities, and using capitalism to lead to sustainability.

In the most succinct way that is what A Clean Life is about.

Why am I here?

Let’s switch gears now. A brief bit about me to explain why I’m here.

As those who know me can testify I’m somewhat restless by nature. This agitation has led me down many roads and many career paths. Each one seemingly more opposite from the previous one. I have worked in several fields (gaming, education, intelligence, technology, website production) and nurtured multiple educational interests (psychology, teaching, law).

Each one of those started out as a hobby of mine that grew into a career goal. I do love turning my passions into productive endeavors.

Now, I’m onto my next hobby, very personal one, trash.


You know I can’t always explain where my hobbies come from. I mean of all things for someone to latch onto, why trash?

I dunno, but, I do have a ringing memory. One of those that just keeps coming back into my vision and guides/haunts me.

The memory is from the autumn of 2001. I had just graduated from UCLA and was searching for my “true calling”. Failing miserably, of course, but I happened into the library one day. I left with nothing except a silly brochure on recycling. Or so I thought.

On the way home I read that brochure and it struck a chord with me. I hung it on my wall and I distinctly remember thinking to myself “this is where I start doing something”. Funny, because I had no idea what that meant, just felt it important to do.

That is where this hobby of mine all started. Everyday I would see that brochure as I left my room. It talked about the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle). I spent the next 8 years of my life systematically progressing through each stage (I will save those developments for another post).


Well…here I am then. A self proclaimed trashman with a ringing memory. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of these posts. You can keep up with me more directly on twitter as @robotchampion.

5 thoughts on “Founders Note”

  1. Dear B: I commend this initiative. It’s so needed in our society. And I think you are just the trashman to do it. I have never met someone more conscious of and accountable for his waste production. But I have to ask, does this mean you are giving up dirty girls?

  2. B: thanks a bunch. I can never give up dirty girls 🙂

    I will gladly take ur composting materials. Do you have a bin in your kitchen where you can keep them until I pick them up?

    I will definitely post the basics of compost, that is my next post. Im doing some research on that now, but here is a quick and dirty list:

    tea bags
    coffee/coffee grinds
    cardboard/paper/newspaper (helps if shredded to 1-1.5 inch size)
    egg boxes
    egg shells
    paper towel rolls/toilet paper rolls
    dryer lint

  3. Amy – here is the full compost process for someone with a backyard:

    Its good reading but I will need to write a follow-up for those with indoor only needs.

    You can use cardboard, but make sure to have enough green waste (see post above) to balance it out.

    Hopefully your eating habits are balanced enough that you produce equal parts fresh food waste with processed foods that comes in lots of packaging 🙂

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