NYC’s Garbage Finally Gets The Scientific Analysis It Deserves

Please consult the periodic table of trash for answers to all your summer smell-related questions.

NYC’s Garbage Finally Gets The Scientific Analysis It Deserves
[Photo: DW labs Incorporated via Shutterstock]

Ah, summer in New York City: the construction men are cat-calling, the subways are muggy as hell, and the air is ripe with the smell of fresh, hot trash. The time is right for chronicling the inventive places your fellow citizens have chosen to discard their unwanted items. This summer, prepare to get a lot more precise with the Periodic Table of NYC Trash poster, now raising funds on Kickstarter.

Created by writer Molly Young and graphic designer Teddy Blanks, the Periodic Table of NYC Trash is exactly what it sounds like: a tabular arrangement of 118 elements collected from the city streets. Blanks and Young found and photographed each item, then organized them in groups including apparel, beverage, municipal, vices, and so on.

Featured trash ranges from the distinctly New York (broken $5 umbrella, Metro card, deli coffee) to the objectively gross (rat, condoms) to the surprisingly charming (Wasabi partition, smiley face plastic bag). You could also probably use this as litmus test for how long you’ve lived in the city based on how much of this trash you find endearing.

Trashy as it may be, this poster doesn’t skimp where it counts: each poster is offset print on 110# white matte paper. It’s all yours for the price of $40.

About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.