William Rathje

American archaeologist (1945-2012)

William Laurens Rathje (July 1, 1945 – May 24, 2012) was an American archaeologist. He was professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Arizona, with a joint appointment with the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, and was consulting professor of anthropological sciences at Stanford University. He was the longtime director of the Tucson Garbage Project, which studied trends in discards by field research in Tucson, Arizona, and in landfills elsewhere, pioneering the field now known as garbology.


  • Source Reduction is to garbage what preventive medicine is to health.
    • Atlantic Monthly, December 1989.
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