According to the song, Arlo Guthrie and friends got in trouble for improperly disposing of their trash. They were incriminated by a name on an envelope found at the bottom of "half a ton of garbage."
Well, properly disposing of trash is one of the problems of van dwelling. You'd think people would generally support one's efforts to not leave garbage out in nature. That's rarely the case. They don't want our trash taking up space in their dumpsters. That's why more and more of them are locked. So we sometimes need to sneak our trash into whatever bins we can find.
A 13-gallon Hefty BlackOut trash bag with Clean Breeze Odor Block—the manly choice
Which brings us back to Alice's Restaurant. I was tying off a bag of trash when I saw some of my junk mail among the wrappers, used paper towels, banana peels and such. I know the likelihood of someone searching my illicit debris looking for incriminating evidence is very small. But I still get a twinge. There might be a hardass Officer Obie out there willing to track me down to South Dakota, and beyond.