Why Is It Important to Incorporate Garbology in the School System?
Garbology is the study of modern refuse and trash as well as the use of trash cans, compactors and various types of trash cans liners. As an academic discipline it was pioneered at the University of Arizona and long directed by William Rathje. The project started in 1973, originating from an idea of two students for a class project. It is a major source of information on the nature and changing patterns in modern refuse, and thereby, human society.
Industries wishing to demonstrate that discards originating with their products are (or are not) important in the trash stream are avid followers of this research, as are municipalities wishing to learn whether some parts of the trash they collect has any salable value.
The studies of garbology and archaeology often overlap, because fossilized or otherwise time-modified trash preserved in middens 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.
Garbology is also used as an overtechnical term for waste management, with refuse workers called garbologists, first seen in Australia in the 1960s.
Garbology has the potential to teach us more sustainable methods when it comes to managing our waste. Our lack of knowledge has resulted in many recyclable items being thrown out on a daily basis. This has negative effects on the environment and the health of the human population. Landfills continue to be filled up with unnecessary items that are taking up valuable space. In order to make a change, it is essential that we learn the necessary facts. In response, many schools have incorporated garbology into the curriculum. Not only have garbology studies been found in universities, but in primary and secondary schools as well. The general focus has been on the three concepts of reduce, reuse, and recycle.
The Lincoln Public Schools have made it a priority to teach their students the importance of garbology while making use of the previous three concepts. They have placed a particular focus on the younger grades, primarily grade two classes. Arlene Hanna, the extension associate and coordinator of enrichment programs in Lancaster County, states that the “students learn how to identify garbage as natural or manufactured, to describe how garbage impacts the environment and to describe ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.” She later reveals that they have seen positive outcomes from parents such as “children checking the codes on plastic bottles at home.” A large responsibility is put upon younger generations to make a change as they have the strongest potential for creating a better future. The lessons learned in garbology programs are essential in achieving sustainability. There is nothing more effective than “learning by doing.”
Metro High School in Columbus, Ohio, is a secondary school which has been recognized for its garbology program. The most unusual aspect of this program is that it is intertwined between all of the student’s courses and not just one in particular. Their program uses methods that include videos and graphing which the students then reflect on through assignments.