questions travel waste


I just took out the rubbish from my house for the first time!! Don’t give me that look though- I’m a one person household so I don’t usually have that much waste to take care of. The last time we did a major cleaning we took out the accumulated bags of waste outside and my host said, so you wait until you hear them come round and then you take your waste out. Huh? I had no idea what he was talking about. And my neighbours didn’t tell me (and/or I didn’t ask).

But as I sat in the house reading an article today the sound of a bell interrupted my thoughts. I had heard this bell sound before but did not know what it was about. But I heard the doors opening up and thought ‘ha! maybe this is it’. I picked up my (full) bag of assorted wastes-mostly organic, which I meant to compost but don’t have a suitable container for that yet- and trotted down the jungle stairs that lead up to my house. Yes. The bell is apparently the way the waste truck alerts people that the waste collectors are passing by and they should take out their rubbish. Several people were pulling large plastic bags and containers of waste and lining up at the truck to dump it in.

At the truck, collection was separate (!!!) your plastic bottles into one bag, your metallic cans into another and your organics around on the other side. And there were people to help you empty your waste out, (because as a class I took on waste in Wellesley discovered a lot of the waste we have is the stuff we put our waste in) and sorting it into the respective categories.

I don’t know yet, but I will find out for sure, what happens to this waste after collection. But I am impressed by the separate collection, and by the frequency of collection- I think I see the waste truck everyday in one part or another of Santo Domingo. One of the challenges someone I interviewed mentioned about the brief introduction of separate collection in Cape Town was that the vehicles required special maintenance after that. Apparently the organic waste containing more water (and I suppose also being the major part of the waste) made one side of the vehicle heavier than the other. Separate collection was discontinued soon after. I wonder then about these vehicles and what about their design makes them capable of handling such separate collection… and if they can.

More waste posts to come (and those who know me from IHP know I like my waste…reduced).

waste truck in Santo Domingo, Coyoacan

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