Did you know that what you throw away can actually tell a story about you? Garbology is the study of refuse and is used to detect patterns in human society. We (that is to say, archaeologists) use it as a tool to get an in depth look into people’s lives. By studying garbage, we can see things such as what certain demographics of people use more frequently than others, or a company can even use it to figure out common wastes in their products and tailor their marketing accordingly.
Our historical archaeology class did a garbology experiment where we would keep a log of everything that was thrown away in our kitchen trash at home for seven days. After which we anonymously switched logs with another person in class and did an in-depth analysis of their garbage. Questions we had to ask and find answers to were things like, how many people lived there, can you tell how old they are, and can you tell what their income is. From writing my own log and examining others, I would say that these questions could be answered easily, and it was utterly fascinating the amount of information you can gather just by looking at someone else’s trash.