Onearth Magazine offers up a short but fascinating interview with Robin Nagle, the Anthropologist-in-Residence at New York City's Department of Sanitation (she's also a professor at NYU). Nagle spends her days surrounded by garbage, but her real interest is the people who pick it up: Nagel herself has worked at the sanitation department, and even earned a commercial driver's license so that she could drive a garbage truck and learn garbage-collecting from the inside. (Unfortunately, she says, "I realized I couldn’t hold that title and my N.Y.U. job at the same time.")
The most surprising fact to come out in the interview: even though we throw away more than we used to,
our garbage is lighter now, mostly because we’ve replaced metal, glass, and wooden items with plastic.
By weight, we now throw out only half as much as we did in 1940.
Photo from Scientific American; story via Kottke.
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