Have you ever wondered about what happens to your household waste after it’s picked up from the end of your driveway? While not all of us have answered an astounding “YES” to this question, the trip your waste takes after it leaves your home is an incredible story of technology, ingenuity and effort. Just a couple decades ago the concept of ‘waste management’ meant little more than ‘waste pick up and a quick trip to dump it in landfills’. Waste management companies were merely responsible for hauling and transporting away waste. There was no need to sort or organize your garbage and there seemed to be no limit on what you could put out for weekly pickup!

This continued for years, and thankfully the times have changed and the waste management processfor a large city has become much more intricate and complicated than that. In every home and apartment across the country, waste gets created and needs to be eliminated. Most cities utilize weekly waste management pickup services that are organized and run by local governing bodies and carried out by specialty companies with the capacity and technology to handle the process. Many individuals need to work together with high tech machinery to get the job done, which is no easy task.

In many cases, this process involves two separate companies, typically a ‘collection’ company and a ‘processing’ company. However, there are modern waste management companies that perform both services, and the cities that are using them for their weekly residential waste management needs have benefited tremendously.Efforts are streamline thereby ensuring weekly efforts are completed quickly and effectively, thereby saving money and materials. The same company that processes and separates the waste from the recyclable materials will take greater care in the collection process than a company that has no involvement after drop-off at a processing plant or a company that still uses landfills.

Once the tonnesof waste reach the processing facility, (called a MRF or Material Recovery Facility) the most difficult stage begins. It is no easy feat to separate and organize tonnes and tonnes of waste. With garbage trucks lined up upside the facility and waiting to dump their loads, there is no time to waste and the sorting process must be done quickly. The goal is to eventually separate the recovered material, then further organize recovered materials in their essential groups. Heavy duty conveyor belts essentially lead the waste around a highly complex machine with multiple separation stages along the way. Human effort is combined with technology in order to complete the major accomplishment of organizing a city’s worth of garbage.

Global environmental efforts have been met with new technologies and ideas to combat age-old problems, and waste management services is a perfect example of making use of already existing materials in order to avoid the production of new raw materials. In essence, this type of waste management service is much more of a ‘closed looped’ system in which raw materials are reused, recycled and then used again with the need for new raw materials to make products. As natural resources become more and more depleted, sustainability and recycling efforts will continue to become more important for cities across the world.

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