Waste Advantage Magazine

Fresh views on the matter of garbage

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

Searching for one’s roots has become an interesting pastime for a lot of folks. One idea behind all this searching is that if we know where we came from, then we might know where we are going. The waste industry has its own interesting roots. A caveman took the dinner bones and smelly skins and dumped them in a hole some distance away from his cave. The first solid waste landfill! Another caveman offered to transport the dinner bones and smelly skins to the landfill for a fee of two arrowheads. The first hauler! Now that we know where we came from, let’s turn the calendar ahead thousands of years.

We still have garbage, landfills and haulers. The caveman has been replaced by millions of home dwellers and business facilities, creating millions of tons of much more ‘sophisticated’ garbage. That lone hauler was the forerunner of a huge waste industry— picking up, transporting and storing garbage. How far has the waste industry come? A long way. More than 180,000 waste collection and recycling trucks hit the pavement in the U.S. each and every day. They haul about 1.5 million tons of waste and recyclable materials to refuse sites on a daily basis.

What does the future of trash management look like for the trash generators and the waste industry? What new challenges does the waste industry have to face? There is increased government control, globalization, increase in competition, rising and falling economies, rising cost of doing business, and the continuing need for cost-savings and profit. These challenges are being faced and met by leaders in the waste industry, on a daily basis.

However, today, the challenge is to create a cleaner, more eco-friendly environment while reducing cost— something that has taken center stage.

New Attitudes
In very recent years, trash has acquired a new identity and has become an important subject for corporate lunch tables and boardroom meetings. It all stems from a new green attitude toward the environment and concern for our planet. That new attitude is the result of the agreement between governments, scientists and heads of corporations declaring that we must set new goals to make all industries act more responsibly in the matter of protecting the environment.

Someone once said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That might have been the case for our caveman, but things are moving too rapidly today and things can’t stay the same. The waste industry is stepping up to its responsibilities by being innovative and changing methods of using landfills, recycling and hauling. These changes will be positive for the ecology and for the waste industry. They can combine into a powerful force.

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