Difference Between Garbage and Trash

Garbage vs Trash

We use the words garbage and trash so commonly that we hardly pay any attention to the fact that we are talking about two different categories of objects.. Whether garbage or trash, they collectively reflect one of the major causes of pollution, and there are some items of garbage that take years and years to decompose, harming the atmosphere till they are fully decomposed. Would you believe that on an average, a person in US throws nearly 3.5 pounds of trash? Between Thanksgiving Day and New Year, Americans throw a lot more garbage, a major proportion of which comes from wrapping papers and shopping bags. It is high time we understood our responsibility while dealing with garbage and trash, but before that, it is necessary to differentiate between garbage and trash.

There is no universally agreed upon definition of garbage and trash making it all the more difficult for people to understand the difference. You must be aware of the saying; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In many places people are asked to keep their garbage and trash separate from one another. All refuse from kitchen can be thrown into large cans placed outside homes to be collected by waste disposal.


All worthless objects that you plan to throw out of your home are collectively known as trash. The origins of the word lie in Scandinavia where it came to mean fallen twigs and leaves of trees. It somehow has been taken for granted that trash contains items that are dry such as plastic, paper etc. Debris from cutting of trees is also included in trash. Grass clippings and bagged leaves make up trash that is collected as waste by the waste disposal companies.


This is rubbish that comes mostly from your kitchen. Thus, food wastes or leftovers come in this category. Garbage is not simply waste. Waste or rubbish is a more generic term. Garbage specifically applies to waste or rubbish coming from your kitchen. In some places, garbage is collected daily by waste disposal companies.


What is the difference between Garbage and Trash?

• Waste or refuse that comes out of your kitchen and bathroom is called garbage. This mostly comprises food items and leftovers.

• Trash is waste that does not come from the kitchen. It includes everything else than waste from the kitchen. It could be gift wrappings, shopping bags, fallen leaves and twigs, scrap of furniture, paint or paint products, construction materials etc.

• In some cities, garbage is collected daily from homes by waste disposal companies while trash is collected only weekly. In some cities, specified waste has to be disposed by the owner of the house and waste disposal companies do not collect it.

• The words trash and garbage have become important because of recycling of waste these days.