Friday night I saw a documentary called Trash (or maybe Trashed). I believe there is also a similar documentary called Garbage. This one covers a wide swath of the trash/garbage business, from the floating garbage in a gyre in the Pacific Ocean, to everyone's local recycling, trash/garbage removal (including our bad habits as a throw away society and the disgraceful planned obsolescence of many things we buy from cars to cell phones).
Land fills and other kinds of waste disposal are big business (as I knew years ago when I read about investing in waste companies). I was most surprised and a bit shocked that in the State of Michigan, landfills are so aggressive they have contracts with the city of Toronto to get rid of some 400 truck loads of garbage (I mean bit semitrucks, not local garbage trucks) of garbage a week (or was it a day?). Canada has far stricter landfill and waste disposal laws than does Michigan!! And NAFTA encourages such cross border trade.
I was also familiar with the "freegan" movement in NYC where people go through garbage bags on the sidewalks of the city, extract food food and use it (for themselves--there are strict laws about what food excesses, as from grocery stores and restaurants, can be donated to food kitchens and such). The freegans find all sorts of usable food, much in its original packaging, unopened, that has been thrown out. I know this first hand from living in an apartment building where I often walked down seven fights of stairs past the garbage cans and bags where I saw whole jars or peanut butter (unopened), bags of rice, boxes of cereal, being thrown out. Now and then I helped myself. The Freegans in the film were not homeless or jobless people, they were activists who sought publicity as they looked through garbage bags.
After the film local activists talked about Cape Cod's garbage disposal practices. I knew there is a daily "garbage train" that takes waste off Cape. It goes to a plant that is somewhat behind the curve in disposal and recycling technology. Plus there are movements to change bottle recycling laws and so forth. This is a fairly enlightened place but several local garbage haulers have quite a bit of political clout when local recycling laws are being considered. Nothing is simple, of course.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!