Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Garbage and Trash

Garbage vs Trash

Americans are the biggest producers of waste in the whole world. They are considered to be on the top of the list when it comes to throwing waste in one day. These wastes which are removed from the households are called “garbage” or “trash” in general language but very few of us know that “garbage” and “trash” are actually two different terms meant for two different types of wastes.

Garbage is the refuse which comes from the bathroom and kitchen. It is basically organic waste, clothing, food waste, food containers, paper products etc. It is picked up by different organizations like City sanitation Department or the Waste Control Department. All the household garbage and the paper products after getting picked are sent to the Waste-to-Energy Facility.

Trash is the waste which comes from anywhere but the bathroom and kitchen. It could be old furniture, leaves, twigs, grass clippings, junk and other products which might come under the category of hazardous household waste. The trash is picked up by different authorities of the city like the city itself and sometimes contractors are hired by County’s Commissioner’s office.

Trash after getting picked up is sent either to the Waste-to-Energy facility or landfills. Wastes like small burnable things, passenger tires etc. are sent to the Waste-to-Energy facility and items like furniture, cabinets, shingles, tree limbs, stumps, bush, appliances and construction debris and debris due to demolition are sent to the landfill.
The city does not pick up trash like paint and paint products, antifreeze, garden and lawn poisons, motor oils, , cleaners, automotive fluids, solvents, batteries, fluorescent lights, butane, acids, dead animals and infectious materials which are considered Household hazardous wastes and should be personally taken to facilities for Household hazardous waste.

The city also doesn’t pick up waste generated by contractors. Wastes like sheet rock, wood pallets, wallboards, roofing, pipes, building metals, soil, stone, wiring etc. All these wastes come in the category of trash and have to be sold to the landfills.
Landfills have days and timings when one can take the waste and sell at a particular price. The authorities have the sole right to determine the charges for the waste and the right to send the waste to appropriate disposal facilities.


1.Garbage is refuse which comes from the bathroom and kitchen of a house like organic waste, clothes, paper products etc.; whereas trash is all the other waste which does not come from bathroom and kitchen like furniture, junk, garden and lawn trash, household hazardous waste etc.
2.Garbage is picked up by authorities like City sanitation Department and Waste control Department; whereas, trash is picked up by the city or sometimes contactors are hired by County’s Commissioner’s office.
3.Garbage being mostly organic is always picked up by garbage trucks but trash generated by contactors or household hazardous waste needs to be disposed of personally by taking then to appropriate waste management facilities.

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  1. When I was a child, in the ’50s in Los Angeles, we actually had two separate cans. Our definition was more: If it was wet and organic it was garbage, it was stuff that would ‘rot’. If it was dry, and would not ‘rot’ it was trash. Essentially all of the garbage came from the kitchen, and the trash came from the entire house, including the kitchen and bathroom.

  2. If you ask me, “kitchen waste” ( food scraps and such) is “compost,” whereas trash and garbage are both terms for undifferentiated waste. When I was growing up we put compost out back in a pile and let Mother Nature deal with it. I’m over 50 years old now and we still do the same. Any distinction between trash and garbage is a technicality that most people have never heard of.

  3. I agree with you Kquelle. There’s compost and then there’s trash/garbage/junk.

  4. All are pretty similar with one exception. Litter isn’t the stuff in the bucket in my kitchen. It’s trash where it doesn’t belong. As in “please don’t litter.”

    It’s the one word with a negative connotation as it’s in the wrong place. A garbage can, a trash barrel, the same. Litter is by the side of the road or on the street.

  5. It is definitely Composting>Garbage Disposal>Trash can, provided the treatment plans where the water from the disposals are treated work properly.

  6. There is big difference between trash and garbage. Here am talking about best kitchen sink garbage disposals.

  7. You are all retarded

  8. The differences are reginal. Yet wet items in the kitchen go to a garbage disposal and dry waste to a trash compactor.

  9. Whatever happened to one man’s trash is another man’s treasure

  10. they both are kind of similar meaning so we can use both of them without hustle.

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