Author Archives: Robin Nagle

The Many Mysteries of MSW

Picture a garbage truck – say, the classic rear-compactor model. Listen to its diesel engine growl as it comes down a street in a large city. Hear its air brakes hiss as it stops next to a pile of trash bags or a row of garbage cans. Watch a worker climb from its cab and tug on his gloves as he walks toward those bags and cans. See him bend, reach, lift, and fling bag after bag, or empty can after can, into the gaping maw of the truck’s hopper. Observe: he feeds it until it can hold no more, then pulls a pair of levers and pauses while a wide blade descends to scoop the contents of the hopper into the body of the truck. Versions of this scenario, mundane and unremarkable, are repeated every day in cities the world over. Garbage collection constitutes a form of mobile infrastructure (more...)