Wednesday, June 19

Trash Talk

The expression “trash talk” actually means negative or insulting things that you say to someone especially during a competition. For example, a sports event like the last Heat vs. Spurs game. 

But today, we’re going to use the words “trash talk” to mean literally garbage. We will also talk about the different ways we deal with garbage in our own houses or workplaces. 

In short, we’ll be talking about how to keep our surroundings clean. (And how to express this in English.)

Let’s start…

Garbage vs. Trash vs. 
Rubbish vs. Litter

People often use the words “garbage” and “trash” interchangeably, which means it doesn’t matter which one you use. 

But according to city waste management guidelines, “garbage” is waste from your home, which is often collected once a week. It includes food thrown away, banana peels etc. On the other hand, “trash” is junk items or waste from the yard. It includes paper, plastic bags, empty bottles etc. This could be collected less often than garbage. 

Rubbish” is the British word. 

Litter” is the most unique among all our words because it talks about garbage on the ground. This means that sometimes people drop and leave things like pieces of paper in a public place. 

This is why you often read no-littering signs like this in public places: 

Where to Put Them

You can say “garbage can” or “trash can.” The British word is “dustbin.”

A “bin” basically means a container for storing things, such as goods in a shop or substances in a factory. In the UK though, it means a container for putting waste in. 

If it’s a large bin with a cover and it’s kept outside, it’s called a “dustbin.” If it has an open top, it stands inside buildings, and it’s usually used for paper or other dry waste, then it’s called a “wastepaper basket.” 

The American word is "waste basket."  

A “garbage disposal” is a small machine under the kitchen sink. It’s job is to cut food waste into very small pieces so that it will wash down the drain.

image courtesy of stock.xchng

What to Say

#1. Take out

Garbage or trash is often kept inside the house first. This is why you will often hear characters in American films or TV series having dialogues like these: 

Woman A: After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the dry cleaning.

Woman B: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including occasionally taking out the trash. Will that be all?

-- Ironman (2008) 

Mother: Tommy, come take out the garbage!

Son: In a minute, mom! 

-- from the music video “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi 

#2. Throw Out / Throw Away

Of course there are still the most basic expressions “throw out” and “throw away.” 

Ex. Why did you throw out your old letters?

Oh I shouldn’t have thrown away the receipt.

Throw away” can also mean wasting a skill or chance. 

Ex. You’ll never get an opportunity like this again. 
Don’t throw it away!

And in the case of “throw out,” you can use it for a person (somebody)This means to remove a person from a place, school, or group especially because they broke the rules. 

For example, 

He got thrown out of high school for having bad grades.

She threw her boyfriend out of the apartment.

#3. Get rid of

Compared to the other expressions, this phrase is more general. Which means that you can use it in many different situations, not only with the meaning of throwing away waste. 

Aside from throwing away, you can use this phrase if you want to give away, sell, or even destroy something that you own, if you don’t need or want it anymore. 

Ex. When I move to the apartment, I’m going to get rid of this piano.

America said Iraq should get rid of all biological weapons. 

Get rid of” also means to do something to stop something annoying or unpleasant. 

Ex. All governments of the world must work hard to get rid of corruption.

I have to get rid of this cough before the job interview. 

Lastly, you can use “get rid of” if you want to make a person go away because you don’t like them or they are causing problems. 

Ex. I can’t get rid of my annoying guest.

Are you trying to get rid of me? 
(= making me leave) 

#4. Discard / Dispose of

The word “discard” can indirectly mean that the item is just extra or you don’t need it anymore. But in itself, the item may still have value. 

Ex. She is planning to discard her old clothes.

You can also use this as an Adjective – or to be more exact, as a Verbal Adjective

Discarded cigarette butts littered the parking lot.

This is the Subject of our sentence: 

Discarded cigarette butts littered the parking lot.

And this is the Verb

Discarded cigarette butts littered the parking lot.

Although it looks like a Verb, the word “discard” is in fact an Adjective

Discarded + cigarette butts littered the parking lot.

Adjective + Noun

If you’d like to learn more about “Verbal Adjectives,” just click the links below: 

Now, when it comes to the word “dispose,” please don’t mix it up with “discard.” How we use these 2 words is quite different. 

Discard” is a Transitive Verb while “dispose” is an Intransitive Verb

What does this mean? 

This means that when you want to use “discard,” you put an Object after the word. Like this: 

discard + something = Ok

But if you want to use “dispose,” you can’t do it like that: 

dispose + something = X

Please remember that when you want to use “dispose” with the meaning of throw away, you should always add the Prepositionof.” 

This way: 

dispose of + something = Ok

Ex. The government is considering new ways to dispose of nuclear waste.

The word “dispose of” has the same meaning as all the other expressions (throw out, discard etc.) but it can also be used to talk about things that are difficult to get rid of. 

#5. Dump

The word “dump” has a similar meaning to the other expressions: to get rid of something that you don’t want or need. 


She dumped all her old love letters.

They dumped him from the team. 

But when talking about waste material, it can mean collecting from people’s houses and then burying the waste under the soil. 

Ex. Britain dumps over 22 million tons of waste annually.

Finally, as a slang word, “dump” also means to break up or end a romantic relationship with someone. 

Ex. He dumped her last night.

Hope You Learned Something! 

Keep on learning !

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