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Amateur Anthropology, or Spying on your neighbors…

August 5, 2010

OK, I admit.  I peek in the recycling bins on the curb as I walk by them on my daily jaunt.  It is like a little slice of a glimpse into the dietary habits of people.  You can learn a lot about a household by their trash.  I know now why anthropologists and archeologists love finding rubbish piles and the like, as it is a treasure trove of information.  I admit, I am a people watcher.  I like to casually watch people go about the mundane parts of their lives, and the interactions with others.  But seeing what they throw out, that is as good as watching in person.

Now before you get all riled up, I am not pawing through your bins as I go by.  I just glance at the top layer, usually drink and food containers, possibly paper.  It is interesting to see who likes what kind of beer or wine or soft drinks.  Are the people serious recyclers or just casual.  It would be a marketer’s dream to gather data like that!  But the overarching thing for this is that just by getting out in the neighborhood, you learn things.  Being out of the house.  It is a concept!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 11:15 am

    Everyone on our street is a wino…judging from the recycling bin. 🙂 We’re right along with them — when we remember to put the bin out.

    • August 5, 2010 11:17 am

      Yep, I am gathering that. Looks like breweries and wineries are safe investment bets in a down economy.

  2. August 5, 2010 5:20 pm

    I do this too! You see who are winos (self-included), who has babies (lots of flattened pampers boxes), and who has Costco memberships, etc. It is also interesting the number of *non* recyclables that I see in the bin. Although, last month we got put on the “pilot program” for the rolling bins for recycling (like trash) so no more spying.

    • August 5, 2010 5:30 pm

      I am so jealous about your neighborhood being one of the roll out recycle programs. I hope that it goes well, that would be so much easier on all of us, and would encourage more people to recycle!

      In San Francisco, they have bins for paper, bins for plastic/glass/metals, and bins for compostables. THAT would be awesome!

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