You might call him "trash-collector" or perhaps "garbage-hound." Dan Williams says he feels a little like George Jetson, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character...

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You might call him “trash-collector” or perhaps “garbage-hound.” Dan Williams says he feels a little like George Jetson, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, because “George was always complaining that his button-finger was overworked.” Every day, with buttons and a joystick, Williams jockeys a giant compactor to smash 500 tons of Seattle garbage.

His work area is anything but drab, after 30 years of labor at Seattle’s North Transfer Station. The surrounds are all gleanings from other people’s trash. “I’m like a crow,” he says. “If it glitters I have to check it out.”

Co-workers regard him as curator of a “trash museum.” Every so often they trot over with an offering rescued from the heap of discards, but the space is limited, and Williams can be choosy. Good finds include a likeness of a Jimi Hendrix album cover, handmade metal sculptures and chunks of iron turned into art.

“This trash hasn’t left the waste stream, it’s still on city property,” he says. “I change the art when it gets grody with bird droppings, dampness and layers of grime. After a while, everything becomes garbage.”