01/05/2012 12:38 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Building a Better Garbage Truck


Climate-friendly consumerism is becoming increasingly viable. Everything from toys to cell phones are offered in more sustainably-produced options. And, of course, once we have stuff, minimizing waste reduces our carbon footprint even more.

But owning stuff, inevitably, leads to some waste. Just ask Annie Leonard. She wrote the book on stuff. (Seriously! She wrote The Story of Stuff.)

The good news is that we're figuring out better ways to manage our waste. Take the inspiration for today's comic strip for example. Canadian manufacturer Inpak Vehicles has developed a refuse collection truck that has a third more capacity than traditional trucks, yet offers numerous green advantages:
  • Its lightweight aluminum construction requires less fuel per mile, fewer parts and does not rust. This means less energy and materials are spent on maintenance.
  • Its exceptional capacity allows for fewer trips to collect and deliver its payload
  • Its simple design requires less energy to operate its hydraulic compactor

In addition to high-efficiency refuse trucks, companies like Big Belly Solar are striving to make sidewalk trash disposal and recycling friendlier to the environment as well.

Finally, locales from Mexico City to Australia to Indonesia are rethinking the idea of landfills and garbage dumps, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, recycling materials that would be otherwise discarded, and creating jobs in the process.

So don't get down in the dumps about dumps. We're making progress.

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