I’ve blogged several times in the past about high-tech curbside waste collection programs sprouting up across the U.S. From an initiative in Cleveland where “smart” bins embedded with radio frequency ID chips monitor residents’ recycling habits (or non-habits) to incentive-based recycling programs where homeowners can go online and snag swag after scoring enough “points” based on their recycling habits, the mundane act of dragging one’s waste to the curb increasingly involves microchips, scannable barcodes, remote policing, and prizes.
And then there’s a curbside waste collection movement in France that’s decidedly much more low-tech. As reported by The Guardian, the hot new old thing in as many as 60 French communities is collecting waste via horse-drawn carts. Yep, numerous towns have ditched garbage trucks and opted to put trash collectors in the carriage instead of behind the wheel. Why? It just makes sense.
Mayor Jean Baptiste of Peyrestortes sold off his village’s garbage truck and purchased two Breton carthorses for logistical reasons. He says: “You can't turn a waste collection vehicle around here. We used to block streets to traffic and keep waste in open skips.” When asked if the switch from petrol power to hoof power has had financial perks, Baptiste states: "It's too early. But money isn't the only reason. The exhaust smells have gone, the noise has gone, and instead we have the clip-clop of horses' hooves."
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