Garbology

In New York City, Ryan McKenzie picked up and threw away all the discarded gloves and masks he found on the street over the weekend.
(Wong, 2020)

(Moyer and Chikwendiu, 2020)

Some behaviors or activities that are reflected in the items I discarded over the past week are spending more time at home eating and drinking as well as more cleaning from disposed items like, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, water bottles, grocery bags, food and beverage cans, latex gloves, masks.

Compared to the timeframe before COVID-19 impacts, there has been major a shift in the total amount of garbage accumulated. More specifically, the disinfectant wipes, canned goods, canned beverages, paper towels, toilet tissue, juice bottles, food packaging, online order packages/ boxes, beverage bottles, etc. has a repeated appearance within my own garbage. Thus, an increase in the consumption of not only food but other items such as cleaning supplies is apparent during these times.

When considering other people’s trash in my neighborhood, I expect to see more cleaning bottles, disinfectant wipes, disinfectant spray bottles, paper towels, paper towels wrappers, toilet tissue wrappers, plastic bottles, latex or nylon gloves, protective masks because there are more members within their household along with, more people are staying home rather than going to work or school. In regards of the trash that I might see less of than my own are items like, dog food cans, dog wipes, and dog treat packaging because my neighbors does not own any pets. The number of items that I think would be the same amount as my own garbage is the number of cardboard boxes from online purchases, or food packages like chip bags, juice bottles, condiment jars, and wrappers because everyone is stuck at home or has few places that they can go to or make a purchase from without violating social distancing orders provided by the government and healthcare providers.

The changes in consumption reflects what is happening on a social level right now by because the increase in the overall amount shows how people are spending more time at home instead of other places. This indicates how individuals are also more cautious of their overall health during this time due to the mass amounts of cleaning supply bottles, wipes, latex gloves, protective masks, and disinfectant bottles present.

A future archaeologist would see a dramatic increase in the amount of garbage within each household versus public buildings, more food waste, disinfectant bottles, wipes, paper towels, candy wrappers, eggshells, plastic eggs. Archaeologist might interpret the increase in the amount of garbage within each household versus public buildings as an era where humans are experiencing a crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, future archaeologists might distinguish how people are spending most of their time at home eating, cooking, online shopping, and other in-home activities since schools, shopping malls, and other businesses are shut down. To add on, archaeologist might interpret the increase in candy wrappers, eggshells, and plastic eggs, as a pandemic during the month of April because of the Easter holiday and how Americans carry out holiday traditions during troubling times. The increase in cleaning supply bottles, disinfectant wipes and bottles, latex gloves, and protective face masks shows humans reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak during this time and how social distance has affected how people interact with others when leaving their home.

References

Moyer, Wm. J., & Chikwendiu, J. (2020, April  9). Coronavirus spring-cleaning surge leaves residential garbage cans overflowing. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/coronavirus-spring-cleaning-surge-leaves-residential-garbage-cans-overflowing/2020/04/09/eba1ac10-79cd-11ea-8cec-530b4044a458_story.html

Wong, B. (2020, April 8). Please Stop Throwing Your Used Gloves Or Masks On The Ground. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/stop-throwing-gloves-masks-on-the-ground_l_5e8e08fac5b670b4330a7b93

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