Posted by: grokscience | May 16, 2012

Talking Trash

What happens to our garbage after it leaves the bins behind out houses? Is all trash waste? On this episode, Author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ed Humes joins us to discuss these and other topics from his book, “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash.”

Does reality TV qualify? 😉




  1. You guys made it sound like the Puente Hills landfill is smelly, messy, “hell on earth”. That’s not what I see. I used to drive by there daily for years. Years ago, there was horrendous smell near 605 fwy (near the landfill). It was the chicken farm, not the landfill. Once the chicken farm was gone, so was the smell. Now all I see and smell is just normal fwy junk. You should watch Penn & Teller’s Bullsh*t episode on it; I think it was recycling episode.

    There is Rosehills cemetery on a hill next to the landfill. From the cemetery, it is just peaceful park next door with lots of greens. I don’t see seagulls, flying plastic bags, or other stuff mentioned in the podcast. Far from “hell on earth”, it’s probably one of the few serene and “heavenly” places in LA. Compare that to most of LA with graffiti strewn buildings and clogged freeways and roaming gangs, I’d rather take a stroll near the landfill any day.

    I live next to a closed landfill. I worried about groundwater contamination (I’m on well water), but testing revealed only high levels of nitrate. I’m not an expert at this, but they tell me it’s organic matter breakdown; it’s probably horse manure in my case; horses produce so much of it! It seems there’s no problem with groundwater contamination, even after 40+ years of landfill operations. Now that it’s closed, they’re planting grass and trees and contemplating placing solar panels on it. Having a landfill isn’t the best thing, but the way they’re run in So Cal, it’s not so bad.

    As for reducing landfill, it’s very easy. My trash is one or two plastic grocery bags per week, and I let them take my trash once a month or less sometimes. How do I do it? I work 12 to 16 hours per day (more if you count the commute). If everyone in the USA work harder than I do, there’d be no time to spend money, no time to make trash (individually anyway), no vacations, no time for nothing. In addition, we might also eliminate poverty. It’s a win-win situation for both republican types who don’t want to spend public money on social programs and democrat types who don’t want poverty and smaller landfills. I’m talking about any job, and there are plenty of menial jobs. If jobs aren’t there, we wouldn’t have illegal aliens.

    As a side note, my energy bill is under $10.00 most months. Energy savings and related reduction in emissions is yet another benefit to working and not staying home. One might say the energy use is deferred to workplace, but the workplace has to run all the equipment anyway, so my contribution is negligible.

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