The United States has a trash problem. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces more than 4 pounds of garbage per day. That’s more than double the amount produced in 1960, and it’s50 percent more than the amount produced by Western Europeans. In January, photographer Gregg Segal decided to put some imagery to those numbers. His ongoing series, “7 Days of Garbage,” shows Californian friends, neighbors, and relative strangers lying in the trash they created in one week.
Some of Segal’s subjects volunteered to be a part of the project because they believed in the idea behind it. Others were compensated for participating. Generally, Segal strove to include people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. And while the amount of garbage varies by person, there were some people who produced more garbage than they were willing to bring to the shoot. “Of course, there were some people who edited their stuff. I said, ‘Is this really it?’ I think they didn’t want to include really foul stuff so it was just packaging stuff without the foul garbage. Other people didn’t edit and there were some nasty things that made for a stronger image,” Segal said.