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Nationally-Known Refuse Expert Lectures at Loyola

Loyola press release - February 20, 1998

(New Orleans)—William L. Rathje, Ph.D., a nationally-known expert in the study of refuse, will lecture at Loyola University New Orleans as part of the Covering the Planet Series on Tuesday, March 3, 1997 at 7 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium.

Rathje is the founder and director of The Garbage Project which conducts archaeological studies of modern refuse. Since 1973, The Garbage Project has studied fresh refuse to document household-level food waste, diet, and nutrition, recycling, and discard of hazardous wastes. In addition, for the last 11 years, the project has excavated 15 landfills across North America to record the quantities of various types of buried refuse and what happens to these materials over time. In his research, Rathje found that the hands-on realities of refuse have often been different from what was expected; in other words, what people say they do and what they actually do are often two different things.

The term “garbology” which was coined to describe Rathje’s research is now in the Oxford English Dictionary and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Rathje is the co-author of the national best seller Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage. He also is the host of the computer-interactive video “Our Garbage Dilemma” which is a permanent exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Rathje has had numerous articles published in academic journals as well as such popular media as National Geographic, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Smithsonian.

Rathje is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1991 American Association for the Advancement of Science/Westinghouse Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology and the 1992 American Anthropological Association Solon T. Kimball Award for Public and Applied Anthropology.

Currently, Rathje’s research and public policy focus is on source reduction. As part of this endeavor, he serves as technical consultant to ULS (Use Less Stuff), the newsletter of source reduction.

For more information about Rathje’s lecture, please call the Office of Public Affairs at 861-5888.