Sometimes it is simply human nature to think we live in the best times ever in history – and of course sometimes we think we live in the worst! Suppose it depends what side of the bed you get out of in the morning. Today – we will look at the introduction of bin waste collection a couple of hundred years ago and how things have changed.


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In our regular blogs – we like to cover technological advancement and improvements in treating recyclables and protecting the environment. So it will be interesting to look at the old fashioned approach.


If you are interested in the historic development of industries – you can check out our surprising history of the wheely bin. Some people even argue the ancient Romans used a version of a wheelie bin. See our blog on whether you should buy your own bin.


When were bin waste collection services introduced first?


History tells us that the Maya of Central America had processes in place to collect their community rubbish and burn it on a monthly basis.


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In more recent times – what can be thought of as waste management or bin waste collection that we may recognise began in London during the 1700s.


According to Wikipedia“the buildup of waste in the cities caused a rapid deterioration in levels of sanitation and the general quality of urban life. The streets became choked with filth due to the lack of waste clearance regulations.”


“A waste collection and resource recovery system was established around the ‘dust-yards’. Main constituent of municipal waste was the coal ash (‘dust’) which had a market value for brick-making and as a soil improver. Such profitability encouraged dust-contractors to recover effectively 100% of the residual wastes remaining after readily saleable items and materials had been removed by the informal sector in the streets (‘rag-and-bone men’). “

Development in this regard continued and a series of incinerators were built from the late 19th centuries. New York did not get a public sector bin waste collection service until 1895 – the first in the US.


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Again according to Wikipedia:

“Early garbage removal trucks were simply open bodied dump trucks pulled by a team of horses. They became motorized in the early part of the 20th century and the first close body trucks to eliminate odours with a dumping lever mechanism were introduced in the 1920s in Britain. These were soon equipped with ‘hopper mechanisms’ where the scooper was loaded at floor level and then hoisted mechanically to deposit the waste in the truck. The Garwood Load Packer was the first truck in 1938, to incorporate a hydraulic compactor.”


To see how far things have come – check out our blog on the new breed of electric rubbish trucks.


See our blog on Sweden – where waste removal techniques are seeing only 1% of rubbish go to landfill.