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William Rathje likes garbage. This Harvard-educated researcher is convinced we can learn a lot from the trash dumps of the world. Archaeologists have always examined trash to study a society. Rathje does the same; he just eliminates the wait. The Garbage Project, as he calls his organization, travels across the continent, excavating landfills and documenting our eating habits, dress styles, and economic levels. Rathje is able to find meaning in our garbage.

His organization documented that the average household wastes 10 percent to 15 percent of its solid food. The average North-American produces half-a-pound of trash per day, and the largest landfill in North America, located near New York City, has enough trash to fill the Panama Canal. According to Rathje, trash decomposes more slowly than we thought it did. He found a whole steak from 1973 and readable newspapers from the Truman presidency. Rathje learns a lot be looking at our junk.

(quoted in Just Like Jesus, by Max Lucado, p. 127-128)

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