I was barely a year old when this whole fiasco happened so forgive me if this is old news to you (it’s new to me). The Mobro 4000 was a barge which left NYC in 1987 with over 3000 tons of trash originally meant for North Carolina. But because of a series of news reports suggesting that the barge was filled with biological waste that was hazardous to people’s health, the dock in North Carolina rejected the barge and forced it to go on a series of trips to docks in Mexico, Belize, and then back again to its origin in NY.

In hindsight, the Mobro 4000 sparked a debate about the rising garbage situation in America and how it was getting out of control. In addition, some believe the entire situation caused a surge in recycling priorities in American households. It made people think of their trash after they’ve dumped it, and how it could directly affect their lives even after it left their neighborhood.

This New York Times retro report includes footage of the barge and the backstory. Really interesting if you’re like me and haven’t heard of this event until now.