In "What do astronauts do with their trash on the ISS?", a commentator asked the title question and was encouraged to make it a new question, but apparently never did.

The linked question is referring to things that were on-board and inside the ISS for use by the crew (and disposed of as part of the crew's normal garbage disposal procedure), so the same parameters apply here.

If so, what, when, and how much?

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    $\begingroup$ @MagicOctopusUrn Just ISS waste; I added a clarifying statement. :) $\endgroup$
    – T.J.L.
    Oct 24, 2019 at 18:25
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    $\begingroup$ @MagicOctopusUrn Accidentally tossing your wedding ring into the ISS garbage is orders of magnitude worse than losing it in the sink. :) $\endgroup$
    – T.J.L.
    Oct 24, 2019 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ It may be hard to tell. There was a long-running problem with losing track of where various things on ISS were stored, especially once they were packed and re-packed. See e.g. airspacemag.com/space/lost-in-space-2217739 I'm not sure if anyone in the agency would take the position that an item had gotten into the trash instead of just been lost...but I hope I'm wrong :) $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Oct 25, 2019 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ This document seems to suggest that each individual item of trash is logged and tracked on a spreadsheet before it's finally designated for disposal. It feels like there's very little scope for an item to be ditched by accident if you're checking and re-checking each thing that goes into the bin. $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Nov 12, 2019 at 23:32
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    $\begingroup$ I asked Paul Dye, the longest-serving NASA flight director and apparently there were a few instances of things brought back from Mir that should have stayed on the station. reddit.com/r/space/comments/humooh/… $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2020 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


No. While there is no place that says that nothing valuable was ever thrown out in the trash on the ISS, there also is no place that says that that has happened.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your willingness to answer questions. We are very proud of the accuracy of the information on this site. To that end, there is an expectation that answers are supported by quotations, evidence, or other sources. You can improve this answer by finding a source that supports your answer, and then editing that information into this answer. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Mar 19, 2021 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ Like I said, there is no sources that say there has never been an incident, but nor have there been a source that says there has. $\endgroup$
    – Saturn 5
    Mar 19, 2021 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ I would upvote this if you indicated what sources you've checked. $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Mar 20, 2021 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ I have checked to many to list. $\endgroup$
    – Saturn 5
    Mar 23, 2021 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon It's a bit of a quandary to cite sources that don't say something $\endgroup$
    – Tristan
    Apr 22, 2021 at 19:52

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