What Is The Difference Between Junk And Garbage?

People often ask me how I define junk and what makes it different from regular garbage. As a rubbish removal manager with over twelve years of experience, I’ve boiled down the difference to three main characteristics.

Volume And Weight

Garbage is something you can lift with a couple of fingers and throw in the waste bin. Junk is usually heavier and bigger – an old fridge or a broken bed frame, for example. Such rubbish takes up a lot of space in garages, cellars or closets, but people have a hard time moving them away and just leave them where they are.


Garbage has a very short lifespan – plastic water bottles, coffee cups, or food packaging rarely last more than a few days. It is no surprise that trash cans have to be emptied at least twice per week, even in the less crowded London residential areas.

Junk, on the other hand, could gather dust for years in the dark corners of your garage. I have removed 1950s refrigerators or old back-and-white TV sets that new owners had found when moving into their new house.

Emotional Attachment

People will always feel a certain way about different objects, even when they have outgrown their usefulness. Take kids’ toys, for example – even when your children graduate from high school or college, you want to keep their favourite doll or roller blades for sentimental reasons. Adults do not want to throw away the never-used guitar their uncle possessed or the tapestries their grandmother bequeathed them. In my experience, that’s the easiest way to accumulate a massive volume of junk in your home.