Robin Nagle, the New York City Department of Sanitation's anthropologist-in-residence explores the hidden world of garbage that surrounds us.
The Believer has a fascinating interview with Robin Nagle, who is the New York City Department of Sanitation’s anthropologist-in-residence. Nagle examines the dissonance around waste, and explores the culture of, and around garbage – and how it has changed society through time.
She talks about waste and attention:
Garbage is generally overlooked because we create so much of it so casually and so constantly that it’s a little bit like paying attention to, I don’t know, to your spit, or something else you just don’t think about. You—we—get to take it for granted that, yeah, we’re going to create it, and, yeah, somebody’s going to take care of it, take it away. It’s also very intimate. There’s very little we do in twenty-four hours except sleeping, and not always even sleeping, when we don’t create some form of trash. Even just now, waiting for you, I pulled out a Kleenex and I blew my nose and I threw it out, in not even fifteen seconds. There’s a little intimate gesture that I don’t think about, you don’t think about, and yet there’s a remnant, there’s a piece of debris, there’s a trace.