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  • Martha Engeman

Garbage: The Great Equalizer


On any Saturday in Hollis,N.H., many of the town’s people gather at the dump. It’s an event to go to the dump—the Boy Scouts sell tickets to the Spaghetti supper, people peruse the used books and the “Dumptique” where cast off household goods find new homes, and people move back and forth between the actual garbage compactor and all of the many different recycling stations with bags of detritus. If you are lucky, you may even catch the latest artwork created from remnants that others have cast off.

There is pride in Hollis in garbage done well—you don’t surreptitiously put glass bottles in the regular trash when they can be recycled. There’s also a clear recognition of where that which is no longer needed really goes. People come to the dump in vehicles ranging from old pick up trucks to shiny new sports cars. Garbage is the great equalizer.

There is something to be said for knowing where the things you purchase go when they are no longer needed. I like to think that it makes us a little more conscious of our relationship with our stuff and with the environment. And I like to think that it makes us think twice about what we purchase and about how we discard items.


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