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Pneumatic-Based Trash Disposal System Eyed in NYC

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cost Savings?
Ann R. Thryft   10/28/2013 12:10:39 PM
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That sounds like a good idea, Elizabeth: a demo or pilot project on a small scale.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Cost Savings?
Elizabeth M   10/29/2013 10:21:31 AM
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Yes, Ann, that's exactly what's been examined and proposed here. I think it would be the only way this would work on a larger scale.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Cost Savings?
Elizabeth M   10/29/2013 11:26:09 AM
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Thanks for explaining that so succinctly, William K. That is exactly how the system would work, to my understanding. As with all things, of course it wouldn't be perfect, as you point out, but I bet in the end it would be a lot more accurate--if people put trash in the proper bins--than the system that's in place now in terms of separating garbage and recycling.

William K.
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Re: Cost Savings?
William K.   10/29/2013 9:43:03 PM
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Elizabeth, yes, the system could be quite efficient. BUT the system that I advocate has a better return on investment, which is to let individuals collect the trash, sort it, and sell it to whoever would pay for recycling.  The two main advantages of this concept are that it would provide employment for a lot of folks who can't keep any other sort of job, providing them with a source of income that would be a direct reward for the effort they applied to the work, and second, it would require very little government effort and not much infrastructure changes. And it would be quite reliable, not having any high powered anything to fail, and also being a widely distributed system. Those two characteristics tend to promote reliability. One more unanticipated benefit is that it could include a lost item recovery function, which a central pneumatic collection system could not have. 

I would be willing to discuss this concept in more detail if any are interested.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Cost Savings?
Elizabeth M   10/30/2013 7:22:52 AM
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Well that is certainly an interesting proposal, William K. I can see the benefits of such a system but I think it's a bit tricky when it depends on pure motivation of people to collect the recycling money. While it would certainly pay for jobs, and people are certainly motivated by money, I would be hesitant to depend on this for trash collection. Although I suppose as you point out people could make lucrative businesses from it.

William K.
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Re: Cost Savings?
William K.   10/30/2013 8:50:26 AM
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Elizabeth, in this area of Michigan, a few miles north of Detroit city limits, such a system is already working, despite the local governments giving a lot of the recyclers a hard time about it. If I am disposing of a bunch of metal trash all I need to do is dump it on the ground by my street on the day prior to collection day. Usually it is gone by the time I can carry out a second load. If the weather is really nasty it may sit there for an hour or two, but it is always gone before sunset. And I am certain that all of it is collected in expectation of monetary recovery, which is how those poor folks make their living. Some assert that the city government is entitled to that profit, but I don't like the concept of highly paid city collectors doing what others do for free, and better as well.

Of course there is room for improvement in the program, since nobody wants to collect the plastic or glass currently, but metal and paper would all vanish quickly if the city watchdogs were assigned to more important tasks, such as crimefighting.

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