Air Date: Week of August 1, 1997
Facts about... Garbage Disposals in Jasper, Indiana.
CURWOOD: August 1 marks the 47th anniversary of one small town's unprecedented response to its big garbage problem. When polio and hog cholera began spreading through Jasper, Indiana, health officials blamed it on food waste. Poor sanitation and open garbage cans were attracting disease-carrying pests to residential neighborhoods. While struggling to find a solution, Jasper's mayor happened to walk into a department store selling a new-fangled device called a garbage disposal. At first, he experimented by throwing all sorts of kitchen waste into the machine. Then he pitched the idea to the public. Soon citizens, with the help of the city, were installing disposals. Curb-side pickup of food waste was outlawed. Jasper became the first garbage-free city in the world. Today, Jasper still enforces its no-garbage rule, by requiring that disposals be installed in all homes, ensuring that all garbage goes down the drain and not out to the curbside. And yes, composting is illegal in Jasper, Indiana, although so far, police say there have been no arrests. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
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