Is it true that garbage only refers to kitchen wastes while trash refers to any worthless things?

Hi Yankee,

Below are the definitions I got from online dictionaries.

trash n. Worthless or discarded material or objects; refuse or rubbish. Something broken off or removed to be discarded, especially plant trimmings

garbage n. Food wastes, as from a kitchen.

I'm trying to understand the difference between the two. Maybe there isn't any. Hope you can shed some light. Thanks!
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Well, I guess you could say there is a tendency to differentiate the two words that way. However, I know plenty of people who regularly throw food waste in a "trash can". Those same people might tell you they throw waste paper in a "garbage can". The two words are often used interchangeably. Sometimes it simply depends on the context. For example, I have a 'garbage disposal' hooked up to my kitchen sink. That device is designed for use with food waste and I would never refer to that device as a 'trash disposal'.

There are also idiomatic expressions such as "Garbage in, garbage out". Or you can tell someone that what they've said is 'pure garbage'. And there is the expression 'white trash'. And so on.

So, I am reluctant to make any distinction between those two words overly absolute.
Thank you, Yankee. I see why you said they are context dependent. Thank you for the explanation.
Yes! "Waste" is the generic term, and...
"Garbage" is more specific, referring to kitchen and table waste. "Rubbish" or "Trash" is mixed household waste, including paper and packaging. Other muninipal waste management terms include "sewage", and "plant materials" from yard or garden operation.
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Nowadays, there is also the term 'Recycling', which refers to all the stuff you discard that can be recycled by the city.

Where I live, every city has a recycling program. And most people don't clearly distinguish between those other terms.

Except the driver of the "garbage truck".

Emotion: big smile
Yes, in general this is preferred usage. For example, one sometimes here's reference to a "trash fire," but never a "garbage fire." This is because "trash" generally referes to dry material (though in general usage a secondary definition that includes all refuse occurs), whereas "garbage" refers to wet -- and not flammable -- material.
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