garbage or trash


New Member
Hi all
As for the difference between garbage and trash,which are used in North American English,Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary indicates that garbage tends to mean waste food and the other wet material,while trash is paper,cardboard and dry material.

Now I wonder if this view is out-dated or not.Would anyone help me clarify this?Thanks in advance.
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Speaking as only one trash-producer, I would say that those definitions are about right if you're differentiating -- if you've separated your offal from your egg cartons, for instance. But if everything goes into a single bag -- except for the recyclables, of course -- then I think you can use whichever one you like.

    These seem pretty interchangeable to me: Empty the trash/garbage. It's your turn to take out the trash/garbage. I'm going to the trash/garbage dump. Leave it for the trash/garbage man. (I have a preference for the bold ones -- which I now see are all trash.)

    Edit: If I were working in a restaurant, however, where much of the waste is food waste, I would use garbage.
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