The Evolution of Waste Collection

Posted by John O'Connor

May 22, 2019

Since the beginning of time humans have had a problem with rubbish.

There was no prehistoric bin collection service. No caveman bin lorry or friendly fortnightly bin collection. We had four basic means of dealing with rubbish. 1. Dumping  2.  Burning 3. Recycling 4. Waste minimization.

Dumping literally meant chucking your rubbish out of the nearest window into the street or thoroughfare. That also included human waste and anything else that was not wanted in the house.

Good luck to the passer by who was unlucky enough to be under the window at the time. 

Of course the Greeks were a bit more civilized, around 500 BC in Athens they founded the first municipal waste dump in the western world.

Situated at least one mile from the city limits. This still was a long way from a modern bin collection service but still it meant that the streets were at least clear of refuse.

Burning was historically the most favoured way of dealing with waste management.

Get your rubbish and set fire to it. Easy, no mess no fuss and just a pile of ashes to contend with. However in olden times burning often meant that not only your rubbish was consumed but also your house and your neighbours house as well.

Along with no Bin collection service there was no fire brigade either. Bad news for towns and city’s.

Recycling is sort of self explanatory and not the modern invention we think it is. Historically recycling was a matter of necessity. We just did not have the recources to be able to dispose of things without thought. Everything that had a material value had to be reused till it simply wore out.

Waste minimization was not really a factor as it was mostly organic waste that was produced. Its only since the industrial revolution that material waste has become a factor.

Hence the need for the modern model of a weekly bin collection service. New York city being one of the first to implement a regular weekly bin collection service in the late 19th century.

Now we are faced with the need to revise our attitudes to domestic waste and also to think of alternatives to the traditional bin collection services. The BIGbin is a viable affordable service that provides the home owner with an alternative.