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Talking trash:

What's in your wastebasket?
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson

I clearly can’t be trusted alone in the office with leftover Halloween candy.
This was evidenced last week during general office cleaning when contents of our wastebaskets were emptied.
And apparently examined.
And judged.
As it turns out, my trash speaks volumes about my willpower — or lack thereof.
Following the Nov. 1 Trunk ‘N Treat event, the Star Herald ended up with leftover Halloween candy, which included chocolate.
Kit Kat candy bars are my favorite, as was evidenced by the dozen or so single-serving little red wrappers that accumulated in the wastebasket under my desk.
And, yes, I was publicly shamed by my office mates, some of whom confessed they, too, had candy wrappers in their waste baskets. But I won the prize for having the most wrappers, and thereby had likely consumed the most candy.
My co-workers often place their trash in the wastebasket while passing by my desk, which is centrally located in the office. I considered this defense amid the office teasing, but I knew what I had done.
One late Monday night on deadline, I hadn’t planned for supper and hunger pangs got the best of me.
At first I ate one single-serving, individually wrapped, chocolate-covered cookie Kit Kat. Then two. Each time getting out of my chair and walking to the plastic bowl on the counter to retrieve more.
Then I somehow must have deemed it more resourceful to bring a handful to my desk.
I must have spent as much time opening wrappers as I did editing news.
It certainly wasn’t a proud moment, especially when the evidence was laid bare later that week.
It got me thinking about forensic science and the role of garbage in cracking a case.
We’ve all seen the CSI episodes where gloved detectives sort through household trash and alley dumpsters to learn about their suspects.
I have since come to learn there is an entire field of study devoted to trash analytics.
Called “garbology” it’s the “careful observation and study of the waste products produced by a population of people, in order to learn about that population’s activities in areas such as waste disposal and food consumption."
Similar to archeology, garbology considers pieces of trash as “valuable and interesting artifacts from which many inferences about their source can be drawn.”
What does your garbage say about you?
The lesson learned from my own experience is simple: Next time you succumb to a late-night chocolate binge, disperse the evidence in your co-workers’ wastebaskets.

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