Where Does All Our Trash Go?

Credit Vuilnis bij Essent Milieu / Wikimedia Commons

Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff you throw away?

Chances are, you've watched it get hurled into the back of a garbage or recycling truck. But what happens after it leaves the curb? Well, the story of trash is a lot more fascinating and complex than you probably think. 

It’s something Junkyard Planet author Adam Minter has spent years exploring. This hour, he joins us to share what he’s learned about the world’s little-known, multi-billion dollar refuse and recycling industry.

And you know those white bins in the grocery store parking lot? Where does all that stuff, all those “charitable donations” go? We talk to a journalist who’s taken a closer look at the way we handle our clothing waste.

And later, space junk. There’s a whole lot trash orbiting our planet. We hear from a NASA scientist, who tells us where it all came from and what’s being done to get rid of it.


  • Adam Minter - Columnist for Bloomberg View and author of Junkyard Planet
  • Elizabeth Cline - New York-based journalist and author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
  • J.C. Liou, Ph.D. - Chief Scientist of the NASA Orbital Debris Program Office at NASA Johnson Space Center