Bay Area Waste Management News Round-Up (April 2019)

It seems like the tasks of waste management workers are fairly straightforward. They collect trash and recycling, put it in the proper container, and deliver it to the landfill or recycling center. However, the actions of others can sometimes make their jobs more challenging than they need to be.

Some Powerful Hairspray

Most people don’t give their trash or recyclable material much though after putting it in the appropriate container. Unfortunately, some don’t take the extra step of making sure that each item they want to dispose of ends up in the right bin. Some materials are even hazardous enough to require special handling. A waste management worker in Oakland learned that the hard way last month.

When emptying a recycle bin at a home on his route, a blast from inside the bin sent the Oakland waste management worker flying several feet and knocked him to the ground. He received treatment at a local hospital for his injuries. After the local bomb squad ruled out explosives being inside the trash bin, they determined that the cause of the blast was an aerosol hairspray can that exploded when the worker opened the cover of the bin.

Going to Pot

Although recreational marijuana is now legal in California, people must still take care when transporting it to avoid inconveniencing others. That is a lesson a truck driver passing through Oakland last month won’t soon forget.

In March 2019, the California Highway Patrol came across a curious site on Highway 880. They saw a trail of marijuana and its trimmings that continued for approximately one mile before suddenly ending. It seems the truck driver was transporting several garbage bags of marijuana, some of which had fallen onto the highway due to an improperly latched gate on the truck. The driver received a citation and the highway clean-up crew had a lot of work to do.

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

When a person is as wealthy as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, they can afford to throw away things other people could easily use. This has led to a grassroots trash-picking organization in San Francisco of people who pick the trash of the rich and famous.

Jake Orta is a 56-year-old veteran who was once homeless and who now lives in small government subsidized housing. He is just one of a large group of trash-pickers that find and sell enough quality items from wealthy households to supplement their incomes. Many of them live on disability from the government. Although the practice is illegal in San Francisco, the law is rarely enforced.

Say Hello to Mr. Trash Wheel

Mr. Trash Wheel is the name of a trash-collecting device with a large canopy covering it that has googly eyes and operates on solar power. Several large cities have placed their own version of Mr. Trash Wheel in their harbors hoping to clean up trash before it ends up in the water.

Oakland plans to introduce Mr. Trash Wheel in the spring of 2020 by setting it up in the Oakland Estuary. City officials hope this will prevent trash flowing from the Oakland Estuary into San Francisco Bay. Points where waterways and bays meet tend to be a major source of water pollution.