Trash Removal History Part II
When you awake in the morning, you don’t typically see trash heaped on the roads and in your neighbors’ lawns. That wasn’t the case before the bubonic plague. After the black death wiped out a large percent of the European population, people began to think differently about trash removal. Laws in German cities forced wagons that brought produce into the city to take waste out of it. Spanish mines began recycling copper, and Shakespeare’s father, according to a Stratford-upon-Avon record, was penalized with a fine for throwing trash into the street.
But how did these unregulated and spotty trash removal systems develop into the garbage collection of today? How did we reach such efficiency and cleanliness in such a short period of time? Much of these developments came about because of the Industrial Revolution, which ushered in an “Age of Sanitation.”
Trash Removal in the Early Industrial Revolution
A time of rapid growth and production, the Industrial Revolution saw the creation of more waste than ever before. By the time the Industrial Revolution began, in the late 18th century, some scientists had begun to theorize about the relationship between germs and disease. Populations had learned from the Bubonic Plague, and they responded to the additional waste by developing trash removal systems.
War on Garbage
In the late 1860s, New York City’s Metropolitan Board of Health declared it illegal to throw dead animals or other garbage into the street. A few years later, New York City stopped dumping garbage into the East River. Nearly a decade later, the mayor of Memphis began a modern looking trash removal service. Garbage collectors took mules and carts to stores and houses to collect and remove garbage to specific dumping locations outside of town.
New York Lead the Way
The first American garbage incinerator arrived in Governor’s Island, NY, in the mid-1880s. A decade later, New York developed the first public trash removal service in the country. A couple thousand men were hired to clean the streets of garbage. They took this waste to the Atlantic Ocean, incinerators, and the first American recycling plant. Right before the turn of the century, The Federal Rivers and Harbors Act made it illegal to dump garbage into rivers used for shipping.
Trash Removal in the Last Century
According to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, 127 cities had regular garbage collection services by 1902. Cities began to build aluminum recycling plants a few years later, and garbage incinerators were used during this time to produce electricity.
By the 1920s, many cities abandoned horse-drawn carts and opted to use motorized vehicles for garbage collection. Garwood designed a garbage truck with a compactor in the years leading up to WWII. This model was the first of what would become the norm for trash removal trucks in America.
Trash Removal Today
For years now, waste management and garbage collection have been inseparable from recycling. According to the U.S. EPA in 2007, more than one-third of all solid waste in this country is recycled or composted. Little more than half of solid waste is placed in landfills. However, landfills of today have been designed to keep waste from contaminating our water.
Garbage Collection for the Modern Era
If you need collection services for a massive construction project or just your home, Automated Waste Services provides exactly what you need. We take pride in our work, and we believe that proper waste management in Springfield, MO, is crucial to a greener, healthier world. If you have any questions, please contact us today.
Much of this information is provided by the National Waste & Recycling Association.