The Journey to Junk Pickup – A Brief History of Waste Disposal
Junk Pickup – A Brief History
Hauling that leaky fridge up the driveway for inorganic collection might seem like a literal pain in the back. But take a look at how our forefathers had it, and you’ll see that we really have ended up at the top of the heap here in modern-day Auckland when it comes to junk pickup waste disposal. Rubbish really is a problem as old (or maybe even older) than civilisation itself, and humans throughout the ages have tried all sorts of ways of dealing with it.
It’s hardly a surprise to learn that the Ancient Greeks were trailblazers when it came to figuring out where to put unsightly waste. Archaeologists have found the earliest evidence of rubbish landfills in around 3000 BC in Knossos, Crete, where hug holes were dug and filled with rubbish and multiple layers of dirt. A thousand years later, in China, the more eco-friendly method of recycling was being developed, but in this case they weren’t recycling glass, plastic or paper but bronze instead. Meanwhile over in Central America, the Maya decided to handle their waste problem by setting a date once a month for the local community to get together and make a bonfire out of everyone’s rubbish.
These sort of solutions worked just fine for agricultural societies, but once the Industrial Revolution kicked off, and cities grew bigger and bigger, the problem of waste started to get trickier to manage. In 19th Century America, it wasn’t uncommon to find the streets littered with animal manure, and even the occasional dead horse. Most towns and cities tried to deal with food waste and organic waste with the “piggeries”. As their name suggests, piggeries were miniature pig farms, created for the sole purpose of eating the town’s rubbish. This wasn’t as crazy an idea as it sounds, when you consider that around a tonne of trash could be eaten by 75 of these pigs in a single day! Over in London, though, they eventually got fed up with this sort of mess. In 1875, the government made a law requiring all families to stick their rubbish in “moveable receptacles” – eventually, somebody decided that “rubbish bin” was a better name. These “receptacles” could then be collected by the first ever rubbish trucks, horse-drawn carts.
By the 20th Century, people were starting to realise that dirty cities weren’t the only problem: gradually, an awareness of the effect of rubbish pollution on the environment was growing. In 1934, the US Supreme Court banned the dumping of municipal waste in the ocean – up until this point it had been common practice to toss into the sea what the pigs couldn’t handle. But it wasn’t until later in the century that environmentalism reached New Zealand’s shores. In 1976 Devonport became the first urban area to introduce a recycling programme. It wasn’t too long before today’s standards of convenience were in sight – in 1990, the whole of North Shore City upped its game by pioneering kerbside recycling, and by 2006, 73% of New Zealanders were participating in local council kerbside recycling schemes.
Well there you have it: a brief history of how waste disposal got to today’s standards. But even if knowing how good you’ve got it doesn’t make you feel any better about that fridge waiting to be heaved up your driveway, then know that it gets even better – junk pickup is one of Junk 2 Go’s many waste disposal specialties. Give us a call now for a competitive quote!