Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Trash: A Batch Process, Or What?

     There are basically two kinds of manufacturing: a continuous process, like Henry Ford's assembly line, which keeps moving along, building as it goes, or a batch process, like making a cookies: you gather the ingredients, mix up the batter, measure out dollops on the baking sheet,  put the cookies in the oven for a set amount of time, and move them to cooling racks, and there's one batch of cookies; if you want more, you start mixing up batter again.

     A big cookie factory might use a continuous process instead, with batter mixed in quantity and a fresh vat of it always ready to replace the one in use, while the cookies move through an open oven for the required time and are unloaded onto cooling racks as they come out -- RCA used a similar process in making color CRTs, only at temperatures hot enough to fuse and anneal glass.

     Taking out the trash can be a batch process or a continuous one: the various trash containers in the house fill up and are emptied into a larger container once filled, which is dealt with as needed; or they can be kept up with until "trash day," at which time a special effort is made to empty all the trash containers, put in new bags, and gather all the trash at a common point for disposal.

     They're not that much different and how you approach it depends on how you were raised -- and possibly when and where. 

     I grew up mostly in the country, at a time when people still burned their trash.  (Yes, we did, even plastic.)  Back then, in the interregnum between Sears & Roebuck mail-order and Amazon.com online ordering, accumulating big pile of cardboard boxes was a rarity; junk mail wasn't a major industry yet, nobody was recycling cans and soft drinks were mostly sold in refillable glass bottles anyway, and (other than at Christmastime) a week's worth of trash never filled the burn barrel.  So trash was a batch process: you collected it, hauled it out back, loaded up the barrel and watched it burn.  In my parent's house, the job fell to Youngest Responsible Child and it was a big deal when your turn came -- it quickly became an annoying chore, of course,  It was a batch process.

     Tam grew up in the 'burbs, where the trash truck came by weekly (instead of the once or twice-a-year ash removal I was used to); you emptied in-house trash containers as they filled and you took the big trash can to the curb on the scheduled day.  It was essentially a continuous process, punctuated by setting the can out for pickup.

     Our approaches to trash day are very different.  The end results are very similar.  She wonders why I bustle about; I wonder why she saunters.  The trash gets taken out either way.

5 comments:

Douglas2/Unknown said...

We've got ursine neighbors, so the outdoor wheely-bin remains empty until daylight on the day of pickup.

I've been trying to implement continuous stream separation of the different recyclable-types that are collected on different weeks, but my spouse (who I note is rarely involved in the last-minute sorting) is resistant to the idea of an additional "tote" in our concrete floored unfinished utility room, as it doesn't fit her vision for the room's decor.

waepnedmann said...

I loathed the "once or twice-yearly" trips to the dump to empty the burn barrel.
The barrel was heavy, the dump stank, and it would eat up a Saturday. Always without prior warning.
But, there was no lawn to mow, although, cutting firewood also ate up a lot of Saturdays.
Usually that was expected, since, one could readily observe the woodpile diminishing on a daily basis.
We burned about an half-cord of oak every week throughout the winter.
I learned a multitude of ways to get a pick-up,stuck up to the hubcaps, out of a mud hole, without four-wheel drive or a winch.
A Handi-Man jack is your friend.

Rich P said...

At the laser mine, the Little Old Ladies are firmly committed to a batch process for putting together the littlest bits into bigger bits. As the build progresses, we try to deflect the process into a hybrid, sort of small batch-fill-the-gaps within a larger work order. This feeds into a technoid multi-step calibration process of similar nature, although it's not easy to jump around different stations-we're not all 60 anymore, after all. The overall structure becomes a multi-sided customer-supplier net, trying to make sure everyone has something to work on. Did I mention, I'm a little tired this year.

RandyGC said...

My background is much the same as yours. We had to make an adjustment when our dog figured out she could retrieve bones (chicken, pork, beef, whatever) once the ash pile cooled (we didn't have a barrel, just a pile out next to where the plowed field started). Her normally golden haired snout came back as black as coal.

For her safety (chicken bones and other nasty things in the ash pile) we started collecting bones and stuff that would attract her by smell when burned into a canister and when it filled up took it into town to Grandma's to put into her trash can. (Shhhh1 don't tell the city trash collectors!)

pigpen51 said...

We had a burning barrel. I was just a little kid, about 7years old, and I climbed on top of my mom's China cabinet to get a toy. I tipped the whole down and broke every dish, save one. She picked it up and three it down, breaking that one also. They cleaned it all up, and put it in the barrel. About 1AM, they started hearing explosions from the barrel. The Cabinet has a container of firecrackers in it, and the fire finally got down far enough to set them off! My mom and dad were out in the middle of the night, on the side of the road, in their robes, pouring buckets of water into our burning barrel! It was so funny, they were not even mad.