Americans produce approximately 4 pounds of garbage per day, which adds up to a large portion of the global garbage production. With increasing environmental awareness and our advanced technology, Americans are starting to see how bad this average actually is. Garbology has provided the world with startling information relating to the amount of time it takes for refuse to biodegrade and the types of items that are sent to landfills. It has even produced revelations about popular culture in regard to presumed thoughts about the habits of certain groups, including different genders. The study of garbology may be as simple as dissecting the contents of a dumpster, or as involved as excavating a portion of a landfill. The use of garbology has also caught the eye of many law enforcement and government agencies, many of whom use the practice to help thwart crime by searching for evidence of illegal activity.
What is Garbology?
Garbology is simply the study of common refuse and trash. It is a major source of information on the nature and changing patterns in modern refuse, and the human society in many ways. The studies of garbology and archaeology often overlap, because fossilized or otherwise time-modified trash is quite often the only remnant of ancient populations that can be found. For those who did not leave buildings, writing, tombs, trade goods, or pottery, refuse and trash are likely to be the only possible sources of information. In addition, ancient garbage sometimes contains information available in no other way, such as food remains, pollen traces of then local plants, and broken tools. The term garbology often refers to the scientific aspect labeling the work of waste management workers and trash collectors. The term may also be applied to investigative journalists who utilize a person's trash to gain more information for a story. Despite these two derivatives from the popular meaning of the word, the study of garbology in academic settings remains strong. Many schools, recycling centers and even several universities offer courses in garbology to improve community awareness about the amount and type of garbage that a population might go through on a regular basis.