ByHaley Shapley

Jan 19, 2017 ,

I’m guessing that if someone asks you to take out the trash, your reaction would probably be the same as if they asked you to take out the garbage. You might defer at first (using the ol’ “I’ll do it later, honey!” excuse), but eventually, you’d walk over to your trash/garbage can and take it out. Because trash and garbage are the same thing, right?

Well, not quite.

Henry Reich of MinuteEarth gives us a quick primer on the difference linguistically. And if you’re wondering whether to watch the video, let me just say that it involves a fifteenth-century recipe for giblets. So, yes, you clearly should watch.



What do you think about the distinction between trash vs. garbage and how the words have evolved? Is it all a pile of rubbish?

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Feature photo courtesy of

By Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of publications, covering everything from sustainability to fitness to travel. Read more of her work here.