Joshua Katz

Trash Can Vs. Garbage Can: What Do You Call It?

The United States is large and filled with many different cultures and regions. Because of this, many parts of the country have different words for the same thing. For instance: grocery carts. Growing up in California if someone asked you to grab the grocery cart, you knew what they were talking about. Now living in North Carolina, I hear people call them "buggies". So what else is named differently across the nation? For starters: Trash can vs. garbage can.

Trash Can Vs. Garbage Can

Joshua Katz

According to Joshua Katz, a doctoral candidate at North Carolina State University in 2013, we now have the answer. Looking at the map, it's clear where the line of garbage can and trash can collide. Northerners prefer to use the word "garbage can" when referring to where they place their food waste while the "trash can" is popular in Southern California, the Carolinas, and Missouri. Louisiana tends to use different verbiage, however, it isn't clear whether they prefer something along the lines of rubbish bin to the waste bin.

Some consider garbage to be wet household waste that you put in your kitchen trash can while trash is dry materials such as paper bags.

Other than the trash can vs. garbage can, Americans use words such as trash bags and trash bin to describe their waste. Trash collectors or garbage men drive garbage trucks to collect garbage bags in dumpsters or recyclables and recycling containers.

What They Call Trash Across the Pond

When it comes to waste disposal, things really differ when it comes to American English and British English. Some words that are found across the pond include litter bins, rubbish bin, and the dustbin. In British English words such as dustman, bin man as well as dustbin lorry, and dustcart are used to describe workers and larger containers that collect trash.

That's a lot of talk about trash and garbage!

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