Your garbage says a lot about you

Just standing on the sidewalk the other morning, I watched in amazement at my neighbour’s garbage strewn on the pavement as marauding neighbourhood dogs viscerally dissected his black bin bag.

It was garbage collection day. Just staring at his scatterings, I realised that I learnt more about him and his family in those few revealing moments than in the ten years I have lived there.

I now know where they shop, what newspapers they read, what food they eat, what brand he drinks and smokes and what his children love to snack on.

There is a silence around your waste that speaks of your daily living habits. It was a revelation of sorts. I felt guilty for my inquisitiveness through the opacity of it all. For we all live in the nebulous notion of tradition, of the important idea of what the outside world thinks of us.

Every house, every wardrobe, every fridge and every bin bag, says something about a person. Psychologists, detectives and profilers can work with these details to make assumptions. Psychology is about is about possibilities and prospects, the statistical bell curve that can predict human behaviour.

But be warned that it is not only dogs or the poverty-stricken new breed pavement archaeologists that meddle with your dirt. It can also be the target of penurious criminals who want a glimpse of your lifestyle through the back-door.

Bank statements and the likes of any retail accounts revealing credit facilities should never just be squashed and thrown in the bin. It must be destroyed first. With advanced cloning techniques, expired cards should be cut up first before discarding.

Kevin Govender



Kevin Govender

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