This essay discusses the Trash Museum which existed in Lyndhurst, New Jersey from 1989 to 1999 and how that institution affected attitudes toward New Jersey. New Jersey's long history of industrial pollution and its myriad garbage dumps had led many to substitute "Garbage State" for "Garden State" as the state's nickname. The museum explained the history of unregulated garbage dumping in the thirty-two-square mile Hackensack Meadowlands area and taught lessons relevant nationally about intelligent garbage disposal. By confronting the worst of its history head on, New Jersey was able to demonstrate to detractors its leadership in garbage disposal and remediation of otherwise ruined lands.
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