A History Lesson With Booze ®

The Lonely Gar-Barge and The Better No Litter

Around this time back in 1987, the Mobro 4000 -- a barge, loaded with litter -- endured a long and inglorious journey. Hear the story, then toss back this trashy custom cocktail.

(Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

The History Lesson

Next time you recycle? Thank the Mobro 4000.

No, it’s not some kinda robot — it was a barge. And in March 1987, it set sail from New York state, loaded with over 3 thousand tons of rotting municipal garbage.

The plan was to float the Mobro down to North Carolina. And drop the trash there. But when it arrived? Protestors did, too. Some worried the garbage contained hazardous waste. Others said North Carolina had plenty of garbage of its own to deal with. Suddenly, the Mobro was a political hot potato — politicians told it to shove off.

So began a six-month journey. With news cameras watching, the increasingly stinky barge floated over to Louisiana. Then Florida. No takers. And when a rumor spread the Mobro might head to Mexico. Mexico sent out the Navy… to make sure it didn’t.

The “gar-barge” became a symbol of over consumption. And of America’s supposedly dwindling landfill space. It was a big reason some states started mandatory recycling. Meanwhile, the Mobro wound up right back where it started. New York City. Where the trash was burned.

The Booze

The Better No Litter

Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com
Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

As strewn about by Amir Rivera, bartend at Mahogany Hall in San Ignacio, Belize — the southernmost country to reject the Mobro:


  • 1 ounce coconut rum
  • 1 ounce One Barrel rum — a Belize-made liquor.
  • 1/2 ounce creme de banana
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • Splash of cranberry juice
  • Pineapple (for garnish)

In a shaker, add liquid ingredients, mix and pour into a tall glass. Then chunk and crush pineapple — with rind — and toss the bits into this once-pristine cocktail. Drink, and compost the dregs.