Forensics of Roadside Trash

I’ve spoken about this in various talks, so this is just great data on roadside trash.

An Adopt-A-Highway group picked up 36 bags of trash, plus three bags of plastic, glass and aluminum in 4 1/2 hours recently as nine volunteers cleaned Interstate 280 between Meridian Avenue and Saratoga Avenue in San Jose. Here’s what else they found on their last two cleanups:

  • A small peacock feather
  • A hikers day lumbar pack
  • A pair of blue plaid boxer shorts
  • A small white teddy bear with a red bow
  • A childs plastic swing, with ropes still attached
  • The support and two wheels of a desk chair
  • A small, shiny new wrench
  • A recipe for “Microwave Sausage Almond Stuffing”
  • A very new-looking pair of womens high-heeled shoes
  • A key tag with the label “DO NOT LOSE SUPPLY CLOSET KEY”
  • Five golf balls
  • A roll of painters tape
  • A black leather wallet empty
  • An unopened packet of Kleenex
  • A garter
  • An invitation to a 50th wedding anniversary in Spanish
  • $26.86 in cash — and $35 in Monopoly money

via Bay Area roads awash in trash – San Jose Mercury News.


  1. paulfincher2 says:

    $26.96 equals to $5.96 per hour divided within the group divided in the time it took. hummmm? plus and equal share in the trash… exactly the way i would spend my time in earning an income,,,,
    i have a much better idea………

  2. Years back the Boston Phoenix ran a piece in which the authors collected cassette tape found on the road side around the city, without the casing. Oddly, a significant percent of it was recordings by the band Bad Company.
    Were folks destroying their B.C. tapes, or was this simply a representation B.C. being such popular band? I like to think the prior.