Reading: Garbology

I found this reading to not only be extremely informative, but also to be unique in both style and the coverage of all aspects of trash. The example in the beginning of the book that discusses hoarders, and their important roll in society, even though society deems them to be worthless, is something I have witnessed through TV shows throughout my childhood. Animal hoarding, trash hoarding, and any other hoarding to me have seemed in the past something that is looked down upon, but this view that hoarders are actually doing the rest of the world a favor in holding onto there ‘trash’ or old items for so long. In this book the idea that they should not be looked down upon is new, but that does not mean its necessarily a bad one. Is it the solution to our trash problem? Probably not.

The books further discussion into the aspects of trash that deal with the chemical breakdowns, dangerous unpredictability and chemical instability, as well as the economics behind our reliance on trash and what you can infer from these things, in a societal sense. Are all new to me because I grew up in the kind of household that takes the trash out every week, it gets picked up, sometimes bears and neighbors dogs get into it, and than it just gets taken away by the garbage truck. I do not know where exactly the trash goes in my area, I only just found out where the dump itself was a few years ago, so to me the realization while reading this book that the things I throw out have a lifespan and more importance than I have given them is something I now realize as important.

This book really helped me have a new relationship with ‘trash’ and even just things I no longer need or want. I have grown up receiving hand-me-downs, and than after I grow out of them giving them off to the salvation army or the church, but I never really realized just how much reusing and re-purposing can impact our relationships to trash. I recycle regularly, I return bottles to the store, but I also produce a lot of food waste, and material waste from producing art pieces, and these are just a few examples of my relationship to trash. Knowing that my efforts won’t have a large scale effect is something that I have come to accept, but that I am still trying to make changes in my relationship to trash can help my family to do the same. Without my awareness my family would never understand the complexity of the issue, and they wouldn’t be able to make changes themselves if they remain in the mindset that if its ‘out of sight’ its ‘out of mind.’


-Ashley  Tims

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