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Trash Facts

     Have you ever imagined a world without trash dumpsters and scheduled trash pickups? It would be a world of filth, litter, insects, rodents, and countless diseases, wouldn’t it? From the great ancient civilizations like Mohenjo Daro and Rome, to the plague invested streets of medieval Europe, and the yellow fever outbreaks in nineteenth century America, trash has shaped and impacted human history. Trash has always been linked to diseases, and health boards were formed to organize and implement sanitation policies. Trash can be dirty, but it always has been full of historic and cultural insight. Archaeologists around the world have excavated trash sites to learn more about a community’s culture and past. Trash is personal, and it is comprised of hygiene, dietary, and cultural and technical innovations that people once used.

     In 1983, Atari Corporation buried 800,000 unsold ET cartage games in a landfill out in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Now those cartages are worth $1500 hundred dollars each, and the find became a trash treasure of Urban Legends. Scavengers comb trash sites with the motto: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Trash landfills and dumpsters are sometimes crime scenes. Police officers give tickets to people who loiter their trash. Prestigious and award-winning artworks have been made and inspired from trash. Environmentalists recycle trash. Clearly, trash has an interesting story to tell in human development and urban evolution.  

     Over time, waste management and the history of trash has evolved from ash, animal bones, pottery sherds, and vegetation scraps, to metal dumpers, 96-gallon plastic containers, the removal of biochemical hazards, and designated landfills. Trash has become a sophisticated business, and local communities benefit greatly from an organized trash service.   

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