Recycling culture at McMurdo Station in Antarctica

Dumpster diving in Antarctica. Photo: Peter Rejcek, Antarctic Sun.


Dumpster diving in Antarctica. Photo: Peter Rejcek, Antarctic Sun.

At the Antarctic Sun, a publication about US research bases on the southernmost continent, a feature on "Skua," the culture of reuse and recycling.

The article focuses on McMurdo Station, the largest research base in the U.S. Antarctic Program, with a summertime population of about 850 people.

Skua is a concept. It is a noun and a verb. In prosaic terms, it is Goodwill meets the free box. Poetically, some describe it as a karmic recycling of goods.

“Skua is a big part of the culture,” says Kate Austin, a communications operator at MacOps, the communications center for USAP field operations, during a visit to Skua Central, a 300-square-foot shack on the edge of McMurdo where unwanted clothing, electronics and other sundry items go to await new owners.

“What I like about Skua is the whole attitude in the program of making do,” she says. “There’s a lot of times in the program where you have to figure it out. We don’t always have assets we need, but we still make it happen.”

"Kate Austin, a communications operator at MacOps, was the lead volunteer during the 2013-14 season that helped keep Skua Central organized."


"Kate Austin, a communications operator at MacOps, was the lead volunteer during the 2013-14 season that helped keep Skua Central organized."

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