Recent News Stories About Garbage from Around the Country


For your entertainment, here are four garbage stories that made American headlines recently. You can’t make this stuff up!

Georgia garbage collector gets jail time for pre-dawn pickup: one Atlanta suburb has a city ordinance that actually prohibits trash collection prior to 7am. As a result, Kevin McGill, who’s spent just three months on the job in Sandy Springs, Ga., will spend 30 days in jail for violating the ordinance and picking up trash a few minutes after 5am recently. Chief prosecutor Bill Riley, who pushed for jail time, says early trash pickups are a recurring noise nuisance that routinely inspire 911 calls, reports the Atlanta Sun Times. “Fines don’t seem to work,” he said. “The only thing that seems to stop the activity is actually going to jail.” McGill has opted to serve his time spread out over 14 consecutive weekends so that he can continue working and still come home to his wife, two sons, and four dogs. It remains unclear why he was on the job so early.

Texas man makes a living dumpster diving: Matt Malone has a well-paying security specialist career and owns a promising startup business. Yet if you want to track him down after hours, you’ll need to peek inside a bunch of Texas dumpsters. The 37-year-old Austin man told Randall Sullivan, writing for Wired, that he’s made a killing moonlighting as a dumpster-diver, extracting an astonishing amount of “treasure” that he can either use for his own hobbies or refurbish and resell. He’s gotten it down to a science, creating spreadsheets for inventory, figuring out when garbage day is for each target site, and mapping out particularly lucrative locations, like big-box retailers, college campuses (rich kids throw out lots of stuff, he claims), storage facilities, and stores going out of business or undergoing a remodel. His vocation has paid off big time: He says if he chose to make it his full-time job, he’d make at least $250,000 a year. Malone started what he calls his “for-profit archaeologist” career nine years ago when he had to pick through the trash of a client for a security job. He was amazed at his first haul—a line of discontinued printers from OfficeMax, still in their boxes—and was hooked. He’s picked up plenty of tips along the way from other divers, including focusing on consumables (e.g., paper, toner) rather than just big-ticket items, and knows to “move along” if cops ask him to. He takes special pleasure in offering typically expensive finds for much-lower prices to people who couldn’t afford them otherwise. Sullivan, who went with him on a couple of “dives,” predicts Malone could actually pull in about $600,000 per year if every night was as productive as the ones he tagged along on. So why doesn’t Malone just troll for trash full time? He says he likes his day job.

California man gets scooped up by garbage truck: A man searching for his wallet in a trash bin in Northern California was scooped up by a garbage truck and taken on a long, presumably smelly, ride. The Oroville Mercury Register reports that the man survived the ride in the rear of a truck. Yolo County Sheriff’s Lt. Martin Torres said the man, whose name was not released, was inside a garbage bin when the truck made a pick-up on Tuesday. The man told police he used lumber in the truck to reach the top of the garbage pile to better avoid the compactor. He was taken to UC Davis Medical Center for complaints of back and neck pain. “The man said he was stuck in the truck for about an hour, but estimates show it was more like 3 or 3 1/2 hours,” Torres tells the newspaper. “The truck made several other pick-ups before arriving at the landfill, where the driver saw the man crawl out of his trash pile.

Pennsylvania woman accused of assaulting garbage man: A Pennsylvania woman faces assault and harassment charges over her garbage pickup. The 49-year-old in Lower Saucon Township apparently became enraged when the garbage truck passed her home because her trash wasn’t out in time, reports Lehigh Valley Live. Then followed three not-so-proud moments, according to court documents:

  • She dumped her garbage on her driveway and ordered the trash collector to return and pick it up with his teeth.
  • She said this: “You’re a garbage man, you drive a garbage truck and I drive a Range Rover.”
  • When he tried to walk away, she allegedly smacked him so hard in the face that she broke one of his teeth.

Sarah Hart is free on her own recognizance but facing trial.