Rubbish is a part of life. There’s no way around it. As humans we cannot help but create waste. Whether it be food scraps, thread bare clothing, damaged goods that are unable to be mended, or simply used packaging materials, one way or another, we will have items we need to dispose of. Nobody likes living in mess and it has been proven that living in an unorganised, cluttered environment can increase our stress levels significantly.
Inevitably, we will always have rubbish to dispose of. Luckily we are able to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill, by directing a large portion of plastics, paper, glass and metals to the recycling stations instead. We simply separate the glass from the rest and place our wheelie bin on the curb to await the recycling truck. In the past the workers would have to jump off the truck at each stop, heaving heavy loads into the shoot, one after the other. Times have changed somewhat and now the workers are spared the lifting by the use of a mechanical arm which lifts the bins, tipping the items into the truck and placing them back on the curb. With technology evolving every day, how will rubbish removal look 10 years from now?
Rubbish Removal in the Future
Despite the fact that our rubbish collection process is rather efficient, there are still flaws to the standard model of collecting waste via trucks. Considering rubbish trucks are operating all day, every day, this can take its toll on the environment. The excessive of fuel required and the subsequent exhaust emissions are just a few of the drawbacks. There is also the aesthetic issue of having full trash bags sitting out on the street for sometimes up to 12 hours before they are collected. In the height of summer the stench can be rather offensive to residents walking by. Then there’s the risk of pets or pests piercing the bags to forage for food scraps, creating a health risk.
In Brisbane a paradigm shift in waste management is underway. Swedish company Envac is soon to build a vacuum powered waste management system at Maroochydore, where a new resort and apartment complex is soon to be constructed. The design, similar to that at Wembley City in London, uses suction to transport waste from bin-like receptacles through tubes, to the collection site. Having separate receptacles for recyclable products ensures less waste makes its way to landfill.
The benefits of an Envac system include, less trucks on the road; reducing the use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions, and less unsightly garbage on the streets in highly populated residential areas, which keeps the community beautiful. There’s also the added bonus of making the choice to recycle as easy as possible – no need to wait for a specific day of the week to put out plastic, glass or paper products ̶ thus reducing waste volumes.
Reducing our Impact
While it may be some time until we see Envac systems in our residential neighbourhoods in New Zealand, there are plenty of other initiatives on the go that could soon become part of our day to day lives.
A Ban on Plastic Bags
Soon ours may become a plastic bag free society. The average New Zealander goes through 348 plastic bags in a year, many of which are only used once, then thrown out –or used as bin liners. These bags may seem harmless but it is estimated that they can take anywhere between 20 and 1000 years to break down. But the truth is they never really breakdown as such. They break apart into micro particles which makes them far more likely to end up in the food chain; leaching out into bodies of water, which subsequently pollutes soil and grass, which is then consumed by cattle. Plastic bags are also dangerous to wildlife when they end up in the sea, causing death or injury to endangered species.
New Zealand could soon follow countries like England who have banned the issuing of plastic bags at point of sale. Since England implemented a 5p tax on plastic carrier bags in October 2016, the number of bags used has plummeted by 85%. The way forward could perhaps mean embracing reusable shopping bags or switching to degradable bags made from sustainable plant based materials. While the latter still require time to breakdown, they do so in a way that is not detrimental to the ecosystem.
The New Zealand company, Bale Fusion has created a machine that repurposes plastics into building blocks. Company founder and CEO, Peter Lewis, created the machine, which processes any plastics – from coke bottles to meat trays – into dense durable blocks. The blocks can be used to build garden retaining or landscaping walls, with the possibility using the blocks to offer affordable housing alternatives where access to timber is limited.
California is making great headway in Sacramento with its BioDigestor; an anaerobic digestive system that converts 100 tons of food waste per day into renewable energy. This includes heat, natural gas and electricity. Whilst doing so, it also creates eight million gallons a year of organic fertiliser for nearby farms. Imagine if every city in the world had a BioDigestor.
Rubbish Removal Right Now
It’s exciting to see that there are so many possibilities awaiting us in the future of rubbish management, but for now there are still many things we can do to reduce the amount of waste we dispose of.
Purchase Quality Goods
It may seem financially detrimental, but investing in quality reusable products not only saves us money in the long run, it also helps the environment and our health. Cheap products break more easily and are often either irreparable or cost more to have mended than they did to purchase in the first place. It pays to spend a little more – be it on clothing, furniture, luggage et al – and have it last.
Many of us purchase single use water bottles and attempt to reuse them for a time, before either throwing the out or recycling them. The issue is that many plastics tend to leach after their intended first use, sending a cocktail of chemicals into our bodies. Plastics like BPAs are known endocrine disruptors and have been linked to cancers. You are better off investing in a good quality metal drinking bottle with a BPA free plastic lid.
It may seem like a hassle but composting is really quite simple; just keep your vegetable food scraps separate from other household trash and take it out to the compost bin at the end of the day. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll save on council rubbish bags and how much fresher your kitchen bin smells at the end of the week.
Donate Unwanted Goods
There are plenty of charities around who are always looking for goods to sell or pass on to those in need. Before you send that old sofa to the dump think about whether someone else could still get use out of it.
At Junk2Go we care about the environment. We don’t want to any more rubbish to landfill than we must, so at our sorting plant we go through each load to see what can be spared. All green waste we collect is composted right here in Auckland, then put to good use. Where possible, all items that still have some life in them are taken to a charity shop where they can aid the community.
We understand not everyone has the time in their day to sort through all their unwanted junk and make multiple trips around town to get rid of it. That’s why we’re here. We do the hard work for you, but we do it with the environment in mind.
If you are after a rubbish removal company with good environmental ethics, look no further. Call us for a quote today on 0800 JUNK2GO.