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The Barking Dog Issue

Hey, That’s Not Garbage

Humans create an atrocious amount of waste. According to a 2008 report by the EPA, every American produces about five pounds of garbage a day. That’s right, on average each one of us fucking slobs throws away more than 1,800 pounds of crap every year.

Κείμενο Harry Cheadle
01 Ιανουάριος 2011, 12:00am
ILLUSTRATIONS BY LISA HANAWALT



Humans create an atrocious amount of waste. According to a 2008 report by the EPA, every American produces about five pounds of garbage a day. That’s right, on average each one of us fucking slobs throws away more than 1,800 pounds of crap every year, which is then collected by garbagemen, compacted in the back of smelly trucks, and left to rot in some giant pile of putrescence on the edge of town. But what about the stuff that’s too dangerous, illegal, or logistically impossible to be thrown away like normal trash? We conducted some research and spoke with disposers of various bric-a-brac to find out.

 
AMPUTATED APPENDAGES

After a body part is sawed off a human being, lab technicians analyze it to make sure there was a legitimate reason for its removal and to cover doctors’ asses from malpractice suits. Then the hunk of meat gets bagged up, dropped in a biohazard bin, and officially becomes medical waste (a category that includes HIV-infected blood, scalpels, diapers soaked in infectious urine, and placentas). The next step is sterilization, which happens inside a special pressurized oven or bleach bath. In New York, whatever’s left is hauled to a landfill or incinerated. Anyone caught casually throwing a piece of a person into a dumpster is subject to a $2,500 fine, so either way, it costs you an arm and a leg.


OLD MONEY

Local banks send torn and worn bills to the Federal Reserve, where they are shredded. Most of the cash shreds are hauled to the dump, but some are sold to tourists. Two things are very sad about this situation: 1) people take time out of their lives to tour the headquarters of the institution that dictates the arbitrary value of green paper, and 2) they are able to purchase scraps of said paper in bags that are printed with the words “Real Money.”


DEAD HOBOS

When a corpse cannot be positively identified in New York City (the fate of many homeless people) it is held at the morgue for 10 to 14 days. The same goes for dead folks who were so awful that no one is willing to pay for their funeral. After the bodies are taken off the ice, each is placed inside a pine coffin and transported to desolate Hart Island in Long Island Sound. There the departed are buried in groups of 150 in mass graves dug by prison inmates.


WEAPONS

Everyone knows that seized drugs are sucked into the nostrils of dirty cops or torched to ashes, but what about guns and pointy things used in crimes? According to an LAPD spokesperson, impounded weapons are cut into teeny-tiny pieces and smelted. The bits of metal are then tossed into a salvage yard or, as was the case recently with the remains of 1,000 guns, transformed into “Peace Angel” sculptures by talentless bleeding-heart artists in Los Angeles and other cities. And yes, a Peace Angel looks how it sounds: a giant ugly angel statue made from melted weapons.


ASBESTOS

Considering the stigma surrounding this stuff, it seems like it would be transported via armored truck to a quarantined landfill on a remote island guarded by guys with rocket launchers and gas masks. Then Al-Qaeda would never be able to acquire a surplus, figure out a way to mix it into Big Macs, and kill two-thirds of Americans. But no, reclaimed asbestos is just collected in special cancer-proof bags and thrown into ordinary rubbish heaps. Overall, it’s pretty lazy on the government’s part.



ZOO ANIMALS

People can’t help exploiting animals, even after they’re dead. This is especially true for creatures that expire at sanctuaries and zoos. After their death the beasts are necropsied (the animal version of an autopsy). Then certain body parts are removed and classified as “biofacts,” which are used for educational purposes. Most small- to medium-size critters are buried somewhere inconspicuous, while larger animals—like elephants—are chopped up and crammed into a white-hot furnace.



GEESE

Wildlife agencies regularly slaughter hundreds of geese every year because they are flying shit machines that bite children, honk like they are choking while having a seizure, look stupid, and cause airplanes to crash by flying into engines. In New York City, the Feds recently rounded up about 1,700 of these silly bastards, put them in cages at JFK airport, and gassed them to death. The lifeless lumps of feathers were then bagged up, thrown in a pile, and carted off to (you guessed it) another incinerator. Good riddance. Do the pigeons next, please.