Garbage isn't something that a lot of people spend much time thinking about, but it's been scientifically proven that recycling, composting and separating organic waste will benefit future generations. These are all topics explored in the upcoming free seminar, "The History (and Future) of Garbage," presented by composting expert Domingo Medina at the New Haven Museum's Pardee-Morris House on June 13 beginning at 3 p.m. Medina, founder and owner of Peels & Wheels Composting in New Haven, will discuss his research on the city's historic practice of door-to-door collection of organic waste, which was sold as pig fodder in the 1800s and into the early 20th century. He'll discuss the process and why it eventually disbanded. "The museum invited me to talk about the history of garbage and explain what I do with composting in my business here in New Haven," Medina said. "By looking at the history, it's interesting to see how the city has evolved. Any time we have hit a crisis where we needed to develop different modes to deal with garbage, we have come up with a successful solution." Among the sources Medina used to conduct his research is a Yale University paper called "A People's Guide to Infrastructure in New Haven," which noted that New Haven persisted feeding hogs garbage, insisting that that method was better than incinerators or other removal systems. Back in 1918, about 30 percent of U.S. cities that had more than 100,000 residents used hogs as a method of trash removal, but most ended in the '30s due to a series of trichinosis cases in the animals. Part of his talk will look at a more 21st Century mindset in separating organic waste and how that will benefit future generations. Medina's talk will include a sustainability demo with tips and tricks for successful composting both in backyard gardens and beyond. He hopes to have Peels & Wheels expand into the East Shore with the help of neighborhood compost captains. Medina's company provides a pedal-powered compost service to residents, small businesses and schools throughout New Haven and adjacent towns, providing an alternative to dumping in landfills. "Approximately 85 percent of what we throw away in the trash can be composted," he said. "I want to show people how to do that. We have a responsibility to the city and our fellow people in the community." Medina explained that employing bikes, bins and trailers, the Peels & Wheels team collects kitchen scraps and other biodegradable materials weekly and processes them for composting. Peels & Wheels also performs soil analyses, and provides training and education on composting. "I want to show the people the value of doing this. We need to give back to nature and society," he said. "This is something that can be done very widely." In addition to his lecture, Medina will make available a booklet of historical photographs and advertising to demonstrate the former practice of the horse-and-carriage collection of food scraps in New Haven. "In New Haven, households alone produce nearly 200 tons of food scraps per week and the City of New Haven pays $85 per ton of trash to be hauled and incinerated to Bridgeport and Hartford," he said. "This all means money leaking from our local economy and environmental pollution." Other environmental groups in the area, including CT Recyclers Coalition and Sustainable CT, have been invited to the talk as well, offering a solid networking opportunity for those who consider themselves stakeholders in innovative waste management practices in New Haven. Environmental talks are a big part of the New Haven Museum's focus. Over the years, it has hosted Massaro Farms to speak on birds, bees and other pollinators for the garden; had Nancy DuBrule-Clemente, the owner of Natureworks Horticultural Services, deliver a talk on Monarch butterflies; and Rachel Heerema, a certified herbalist and master gardener, has spoken numerous times about growing, harvesting and using the culinary, household, tea and medicinal herbs that early New Haveners enjoyed. Margaret Anne Tockarshewsky, executive director of the New Haven Museum, has a personal interest in composting, having worked at the Queens Botanical Garden, where a large composing program was in place. "The topic is near and dear to me, so I am very excited to present Domingo for this event," she said. "I love the whole idea of Peels & Wheels and his passion for this. This is something that I think people should know about." For more information about the event, visit newhavenmuseum.org. Keith Loria is a freelance writer.