October 5, 2018.
Not so long ago, imagining the world in the year 2100 was mostly left to science fiction authors and screenwriters. With the threat of environmental crises looming ever larger with each passing year, however, people are beginning to envision the impact their actions today could have on future generations. What will the world look like in a few decades, or in almost a century? How will these changes impact the way we get rid of our waste?
Transportation of the Future
The Jetsons had flying cars, but George was at the helm. Today, cutting-edge automakers like Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors aren’t focusing on the sky, but on the driver’s seat. Autonomous, driverless cars are closer than ever to becoming a commercial reality, which will naturally impact the way junk pick up services operate. Instead of a technician driving a fossil-fueled truck to commercial and residential sites for garbage, junk and debris removal, they may hop in and let the truck itself do the work. With advances in energy, those vehicles may be powered by anything from the electrical grid to pure solar energy.
While automakers are keeping their feet on the ground and focusing on autonomous driver tech, other companies are taking that skyward approach showcased in old Saturday morning cartoons and combining it with the unmanned travel being explored by automakers. The cars of the future might not be flying, but delivery services could be up in the air. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to online retail giant Amazon in 2018 for delivery drones capable of recognizing and reacting to human gestures. Amazon is already on the way to reaching its goal of building a flying fleet of drones capable of delivering packages in 30 minutes or less, as the first autonomous Amazon drone delivery was already made in 2016 to an unnamed shopper somewhere in the United Kingdom.
A Looming Garbage Crisis
In 2013, Smithsonian Magazine published projected waste rates in the year 2025 would reach almost 6 million tons per day, leveling off after hitting almost 11 million pounds of garbage per day in the year 2100. This adds up to a veritable mountain of garbage.
While there has certainly been a major cultural shift towards more responsible and ethical waste management in recent years, plenty is still handled improperly. Plastics clog oceans and destroy delicate ecosystems, trash is burned on a large scale in many areas of the world or simply dumped without regard to the potential for toxic chemicals leaching into the groundwater and affecting the environment.
Research clearly indicates people begin to produce more waste as they move to urban areas and their socioeconomic status increases, signaling more spending power and an increased consumption of packaged goods. With most projections showing more urbanization in coming decades, it’s not difficult to imagine mountains of garbage for future generations. What these dire predictions don’t take into account are changes in the products and packages themselves or progressive policies for waste management.
Manufacturers are already focusing on more ethical production and packaging, particularly on biodegradable materials and ease of recycling, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Massive landfills, like Bordo Poniente in Mexico City, generate up to 1.4 million tons of the known climate-affecting greenhouse gas methane. Innovative startup Ener-Core is already looking for ways to harness the power of all that methane, generating between 250 kilowatts and 1 megawatt of electricity at landfills in the Netherlands and California. With enough electricity to power up to 1,000 homes coming straight from the landfill already, the future may be less reliant on fossil fuels and more reliant on turning our waste into energy.
Envisioning the Junk Pick Up Services of the Future
Right now, junk pick up services and bulk waste management are relatively straightforward. You choose a service provider, who then comes to your home or business and removes the things you no longer want or need. While some companies do focus on ethical disposal and responsible environmental stewardship, others may only do the bare minimum to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
In coming decades, public policy and legal requirements will be forced to change as waste situations become untenable. A tipping point does exist, and global communities could reach it sooner than most people realize. This means the way we handle all of our waste will have to change, not just our weekly household trash. Reliance on finite fossil fuel resources is another untenable situation and combining the two adds up to a radical shift in the way garbage is even collected, let alone managed post-pickup.
At Jiffy Junk, we’re already looking to the future. Right now, we make every effort to minimize our environmental impact wherever we can and, by extension, helping our clients make more ethical disposal choices. We separate what we pick up, taking usable items to donation centers to keep them out of landfills while supporting the less fortunate. Broken and unusable items are always recycled whenever possible, even if that means looking for nontraditional recycling facilities that municipal waste management groups may spurn. We work hard to keep everything we pick up out of a landfill, the ocean, or anywhere else it could potentially cause harm.
In 2100, Jiffy Junk technicians might arrive in driverless vehicles ready to remove any kind of waste you might have for futuristic repurposing and recycling. Enormous drones may replace those waste pickup vehicles altogether, sending a holding pod and a helping hand to load everything up before it all disappears into the sky, en route to more ethical sorting and management. One thing is for sure; no matter how the face of waste management changes in the century to come, our commitment to true white-glove service and protecting the environment will always be the core tenets of our mission statement.
Since waste management of the future is still in the development stages, it’s important to make the best possible choices for the environment when you plan any big cleanup project. Let us help you make quick work of any kind of garbage, all with a focus on ethics and responsibility.