Here, finally, is the gratuitous picture of just a garbage can. It is the receptical of most of our unwanted stuff so it's pretty necessary to include at least one of these in any garbage commentary, I suppose. The reason I snapped this, though, was not from a lack of time, but for what was all around it and leading up to it. As we had just gotten a fresh snow after a quick thaw at the time of the taking, there was nothing to cover what was ultimately the unprotected overflow of this can that had taken up residence as far away as atleast 80 yards. With the high winds of the snowstorm, the topmost garbage had been whipped all over the sidewalk and surrounding area. The trash included solo cups, plastic bags and packaging, bottles, cans, cardboard boxes, and food scraps (the typical college waste).
As can be seen, more things had been added to the top of this heap, awaiting one good gust of wind to send them off into the wild. It reminded me of a realization I came to when on an alternative spring break trip to clean rivers: people just don't care where there waste goes. As long as their trash is no longer immediately underfoot or even sitting at the end of their driveway, it would seem a majority of America has no desire to see it to safety. This mentality is unbelievably dangerous in a world that claims to be greening itself. A real "green" step would be to see that your refuse finds a home, be it recycling, reuse, or the landfill. While this is not a solution (landfills are notoriously great at being a towers for the wind to carry off loose particles) the responsibility of transporting one's own filth to a safe location might awaken people to just how much they are actually disposing. Understanding this would hopefully lead to the kind of revolution in consumption Elizabeth Royte believes is necessary to solve the world's garbage woes.