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The Trash Guy

Postby Scrupulous » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:22 am

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I woke up this morning to the noise of the garbage truck, swinging by to receive my weekly care package for the environment. Normally, the trash guy comes on Thursday afternoons. But, because it was Labor Day this week, all the pick-up routes were pushed back one day. I guess they do that for all weeks following a long holiday weekend.

And, it made me realize that the trash guy doesn't really get a holiday...he just has to work harder on the remaining days of that week. Some vacation THAT is...I thought...I guess that's one of the reasons why they get paid pretty well. But, it doesn't seem like it'd be enough for someone who didn't really have holiday time-off to look forward to.

So, as I was laying there, tacitly gloating on the fact that it wasn't me out there scrambling to finish five days work in four, I started wondering if there was a way to help the trash guy...to figure out a way to make garbage collecting easier for him. Of course, from an engineering perspective, anything is possible. If you can say it, you can do it.

See, that's what makes inventing fun for many people. It's not really inventing...it's engineering. Every problem boils down to one or more practical solutions, period. And naturally, this garbage collecting problem would be no different. It would be a simple matter of standardizing the way garbage gets to a uniform structure at the curbside of every residence. Then it's just a matter of scooping it up with some mechanical appendage, as the truck slowly drives by. In fact, these universal rolling trash bins they have nowadays is probably a decent predecessor to just such a system. (This is why I rarely think twice about filling my bin up to the very top, almost every week. It takes careful trash planning, yet it would seem like a shame not to. Plus, I love it when things work out.)

But, then I realized that if I go and invent some practical system for collecting garbage, I don't make the job easier for the trash guy...I eliminate it. And that got me thinking that maybe we should all have a "conscience" when it comes to inventing. Should we ask ourselves...does what we invent take jobs away? If it does, then maybe we should scrap it (no pun intended) and we should move on.org to something different, something that actually creates a new market...and more jobs.

Is that wrong?

Re: The Trash Guy

Postby JohnSuitcase » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:59 am

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We have automatic trucks here in Phoenix, the trash guys don't touch the garbage, I assumed everyone had these trucks nowadays. A friend of mine went to high school with a kid whose dad invented them, he was well-off ;-)

You could, though, improve the system by encouraging people to only put out garbage when the can is 1/2 full, or fuller. You could also pro-rate the service, so that instead of a flat fee, you'd pay based on the weight of your garbage. This would serve the purpose of reducing the amount that people generated, though it might encourage people to cheat by dumping heavy things into other's cans.

I was thinking the other day that UPS and FedEx should offer a service where they'd reduce the fee by a small amount if the recipient agreed to receive a text message and reply to it on delivery day, confirming that they'd be around to sign for the package. I hate missing boxes and having go down to the UPS place to collect something i wasn't able to sign for. And they'd save tons of time by not stopping if no had replied to the text (or had replied negatively.)

I agree with your assertion that inventing is engineering. I think the real talent lies in identifying problems more than in creating solutions!

Re: The Trash Guy

Postby CriterionD » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:29 pm

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Should we ask ourselves...does what we invent take jobs away? If it does, then maybe we should scrap it (no pun intended) and we should move on.org to something different, something that actually creates a new market...and more jobs.


I would say: the free market works itself out, sometimes in unpredictable ways. While I like being conscious of the economy and the good of the public, I am generally against micromanagement where true long term impact is tough to measure and predict. I am sure there are exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking I say focus on making lives better through innovation and I am convinced no ill will come of it...

Interesting subject.
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http://www.criteriondynamics.com

Re: The Trash Guy

Postby inventor-x » Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:50 pm

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Hi Scrupulous

We have automatic trucks here in Phoenix, the trash guys don't touch the garbage, I assumed everyone had these trucks nowadays.


Same where I live.

Almost all residential trash cans are on wheels.

Separate cans for - Trash, Recycling, Yard Debris & Glass.

They also go by weight, If you're over the max weight allowed they know.

They need to have a couple more, Once a month for Rubber for (Tires) & Hazardous materials - like BIO Hazard, Batteries & for Jack56 CFL light bulbs.

Another one would be for steel but that's a big problem.

cron