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Do you remember Crunchy the Talking Garbage Truck?

This week on Urban Spelunking, we're uncovering the history of something unusual and packed with '90s nostalgia. We're not discussing a building or a person or an event, but... a garbage truck. And an educational one, at that!

For a brief period in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Milwaukee, certain students across the city were fortunate to have a touring garbage truck visit their schools, decked out with light-up eyes and a custom painted teeth where the garbage is ingested.

The truck was part of an educational program operated by Milwaukee Recreation, the public recreation division of Milwaukee Public Schools. With funding from Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, the truck went on tour to teach kids about sustainability and conservation.

Before Crunchy's visit, students were charged with collecting trash around the school, then at the end of a short program in the school's parking lot, they'd watch as that trash was crunched before their eyes. Then, they'd receive a membership card for Kids Against Litter and become an official "friend" of Crunchy.

The program, sadly, was short lived, and in 1993 it appears to have folded, writes Bobby Tanzilo in Listen to this week's podcast for more about Crunchy and the other educational programs Milwaukee Recreation offered in the '80s and '90s.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee