I’m not a huge newsreader, but this is an internet story that caught my eye recently: as part of an initiative to be less dependent on fossil fuels, the people of Stockholm, which is the capital of Sweden, have switched over to a very cool new way of taking care of every kind of waste.
They used to do things like we do here in the States, with trash and recycling bins out the roadside, and a fleet of trucks to pick everything up. Now they’ve started using something way, way more modern.
Instead of a bunch of trucks making the rounds and burning lots of diesel while they’re running, every building in Stockholm is now hooked up to a massive vacuum collection system. It’s like the toilet on a plane, only with little portholes in every house, and on the street where you used to see clusters of trash baskets. So, when you have something to get rid of, you open the right porthole (for trash, recycling, or compost), and it’s all sucked into the closed vacuum system. The vacuums suck everything to one central collection bin, which gets picked up by one truck and brought to the landfill or recycling plant.
It cost millions of dollars, but the Swedes have singlehandedly eliminated smelly bins, taking out the trash, and paying people to pick it up. Apparently, it saves lots of fuel, and it’s actually easier to deal with the waste, since the vacuums do the compacting instead of needing trucks to do it. And it works for everything. EVERYTHING. You can have anything in your house, and just throw it down a porthole and it’s gone forever! How cool is that? Doesn’t get much better for a lazy guy like me.
I don’t know what you’re supposed to do with a big cardboard box, though. Maybe tear it up? Anyway, I’m sure they’ve thought of everything like that already.
No mess, no smell, everything clean and simple. So Scandinavian. Hopefully we’ll start seeing more of these Stateside in the near future. The company who builds the infrastructure has done a couple smaller projects for rich neighborhoods here, but no full cities. One day!
I wish we could get these here, for the trash or for the toilets, while we’re at it. That would be awesome: a vacuum system instead of your home toilet. As long as it doesn’t look as industrial as the ones on the plane.
So, yeah. I’m always into cool inventions, and anything that feels generally futuristic. This one’s definitely my favorite thing I’ve seen this year.