Business History Links
INDUSTRIES: Business History of Waste Disposal
business biographies  

1921 - San Francisco began regulating scavenger service; mid-1930s - set rates, required permits for operation; awarded exclusive refuse collection licenses for city to Scavenger's Protective Association (financial district, surrounding neighborhoods), Sunset Scavenger Company (outlying residential districts); licenses still held today; 1935 - two collection companies formed Sanitary Fill Company (now SF Recycling & Disposal, Inc.) to develop disposal capacity for increasingly large amount of refuse overwhelming San Francisco; first of number of specialized subsidiaries that companies jointly owned; 1965 - Scavenger's name changed to Golden Gate Disposal Company; 1973 - Sunset renamed Envirocal; 1983 - Golden Gate Disposal reorganized as Norcal Solid Waste Systems; 1986 - acquired by 570 employees, their Employee Stock Ownership Plan; 1987 - acquired Envirocal; became one of nation's ten largest 100 percent employee-owned companies (substantial minority representation among shareholders); May 2009 - name changed to Recology; two dozen subsidiaries provide solid waste services to more than 50 communities, exclusive service provider in San Francisco; one of nation's first urban recyclers (material recovery facilities, construction and demolition debris recycling, large-scale composting of food and organic wastes).

(Air & Waste Management Association;), Bill Beck (2007). Environmental Stewardship in a Century of Change; 1907-2007: A History of the Air & Waste Management Association's First 100 Years. (Pittsburgh, PA: Air and Waste Management Association, 64 p.). Corporate historian. Air & Waste Management Association; Air quality management --United States.

(Waste Management), Timothy C. Jacobson (1993). Waste Management: An American Corporate Success Story. (Washington, DC: Gateway Business Books, 340 p). Waste Management Inc.; Refuse disposal industry--United States.

Kaveri Gill (2009). Of Poverty and Plastic: Scavenging and Scrap Trading Entrepreneurs in India's Urban Informal Economy. (New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 280 p.). Consultant with the Planning Commission of India. Plastics industry and trade -- India -- Delhi; Ragpickers -- India -- Delhi; Plastic scrap -- Economic aspects -- India; Kunststoffabfall; Recycling; Armut; Delhi. Multiple deprivations experienced by those working in informal waste recovery, plastic recycling economy of Delhi; specialization, capital, value in various segments of labor-intensive, 'green' informal market; complex, at times contrary, policy reality binding poverty and deprivation, formal and informal markets, state and citizenship in contemporary urban India.

Benjamin Miller (2000). Fat of the Land: Garbage in New York: The Last Two Hundred Years. (New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows, 414 p.). Former New York City Sanitation Department Official. Refuse and refuse disposal--New York (State)--New York--History; Refuse and refuse disposal--Health aspects--New York (State)--New York; Refuse and refuse disposal--Social aspects--New York (State)--New York.

Heather Rogers (2005). Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage. (New York, NY: New Press, 224 p.). Journalist. Refuse and refuse disposal--United States--History.

Elizabeth Royte (2005). Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash. (New York, NY: Little, Brown, 320 p.). Refuse and refuse disposal--New York (State)--New York. 

Carl A. Zimring (2005). Cash for Your Trash: Scrap Recycling in America. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 220 p.). Recycling industry--United States--History. History of scrap recycling, from colonial times to the present.


Business History Links

The Garbage Museum (Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority)                  

Trash-o-saurus, a dinosaur made from a ton of trash, which is how much trash an average person throws away in a year! Guests may walk through a giant compost pile, meet resident compost worms and discover how much energy savings is derived from recycling. Watch what happens to recyclables in a "sky-box" view of the tipping and sorting process. From the mezzanine walkway, visitors can follow glass and plastic containers, cans and newspapers through the sorting process and on to the end of the line where items are crushed and baled for shipping to processors, who turn them into products.

The Trash Museum (Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority)                         

6,500 square feet of educational exhibits beginning at the Temple of Trash. Learn about the problems of old-fashioned methods of disposal, such as the "town dump." From problems, the tour moves to solutions, including explanations of source reduction, recycling, resource recovery and landfills. During the tour, watch our new single-stream recycling facility in operation. Visitors can follow newspapers, cardboard, junk mail, bottles, cans and plastic containers from the tipping floor, through CRRA's new state-of-the-art processing equipment and see them crushed or baled. Prepared recyclables are then shipped to markets and made into new products. A mural by Higganum artist Ted Esselstyn depicts the history of trash management from pre-historic times to today.


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