005 Automated Garbage Collection
Garbage collection, in spite of the white trucks and Helvetica, has to be the worst job in New York. It can’t take a holiday (in fact holidays just mean more garbage to collect) or acknowledge the weather. The work is miserable in the rain, unbearably pungent in the summer, impossible in the snow and noisy no matter what season.
The need to lift the cans to the compactor is almost as insane as lifting our bags onto the conveyor at airport security, but imagine doing it all day long. Big vacuum hoses would make the job much more tolerable (and fun to watch!) while generating white noise instead of clanging. Plus, the cans and bags could remain at the sidewalk instead of being dragged across the pavement. Maybe it wouldn’t take the world’s strongest backs to do the job, and it would certainly allow smaller crews to do the same work.
California has an automated lift system with color-coded containers that allow a single driver to collect garbage efficiently. New York is more complicated but the idea is right; don’t employ people to do what machines do better.
Though we would have to be careful with small dogs.