America's largest city has a trash problem. Can it be contained?

Mar 21, 2024
Plastic trash bags, and the rats they attract, are very visible parts of the New York landscape. A plan to bring in bins may squeeze scarce space.
The sheer volume of trash New York City has to collect every day is enormous. It's "kind of an insane feat," said Larry Buchanan, a reporter with The New York Times.
Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Garbage collection slows in many cities as COVID-19 hampers staffing

Jan 13, 2022
Municipalities around the country have had to delay or reschedule trash pickup days.
Cities across the country are seeing trash pile up as omicron spreads.
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

As world leaders tackle emissions at COP26, Glasgow battles rats

Oct 29, 2021
As Scotland’s most populous city prepares to host the latest U.N. Climate Change summit, some local politicians fret about the global spotlight falling on their city’s alleged lack of cleanliness.
Mounds of rubbish dumped underneath the M8 motorway on Aug. 19, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Fly-tippers have been discarding refuge under a motorway flyover including construction waste, window frames, bath tubs and general household trash.
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

More working from home means we're generating more residential trash

Aug 31, 2020
Meanwhile, closed offices, stores and stadiums have been producing a lot less commercial garbage.
Workers sort recycled materials at a Maryland facility. Compared to pre-pandemic times, more refuse is being generated by homes and less by businesses.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

In New York City, getting rid of joyless junk can be complicated and costly

Feb 14, 2019
It's the urban underbelly of the Marie Kondo effect.
Manhattan’s Salvation Army on 46th Street has 20 trucks to pick up donations and two additional dump trucks to haul away unsalable items.
Leila Goldstein/Marketplace

United Kingdom council hires its own "garbage queen"

Dec 19, 2018
Brighton is getting creative with its waste disposal methods.
Cat Fletcher, Brighton's "Garbage Queen," stands outside of the Waste House, clad with carpet tiles.
Courtesy of Mimisse Beard

China is drowning in a sea of cardboard — so is the U.S.

Online shopping comes with a lot of packaging, and that packaging is becoming a problem.
Chinese laborers load cardboard onto a truck to be recycled in the Dong Xiao Kou village in Beijing in 2014.
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

For public good, not for profit.

China wants nothing to do with America's trash

Oct 17, 2017
It will no longer import recycled scrap from the U.S. So what do we do with it?
Scrap metal in Long Beach, California, waits to be shipped to Asia for recycling.

2015: A Trash Odyssey

Oct 30, 2015
Quartz and Marketplace find out littering exists in space, too.

Making money off trash

Apr 3, 2015
Selling what others throw out