As sanitation engineering came to be practiced beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and human waste was conveyed from the home in pipes, the gong farmer was replaced by the trash collector as there remained growing amounts of household refuse, including coal ash which was a primary form of home heating in the nineteenth century.
By the early part of the twentieth century economies prospered and manufacturers began to introduce package goods. As refuse began to clog city streets, municipalities began to pass anti-dumping ordinances and introduce kerbside collection. Residents used a variety of refuse containers to facilitate kerbside collection but the main type was the metal garbage can. It was not until the late 1960’s that the green bin bag was introduced by Glad. Later, as waste management practices were introduced with the aim of reducing landfill impacts, a range of container types came to be introduced to facilitate the proper diversion of the waste stream. Such containers include blue boxes, green bins, and Wheelie bins or MGBs.
Over time, waste collection vehicles gradually increased in size from the hand pushed English dust cart, a name by which these vehicles are still referred, to large compactor trucks.
Recyclable materials that may be separately collected from municipal waste include:
Biodegradable waste component
Other recyclable components
Kerbside collection of recyclable resources is aimed to recover purer waste streams with higher market value than by other collection methods. If the household incorrectly separates the recyclable elements they load may have to be put to landfill if it is deemed to be contaminated.
Kerbside collection and household recycling schemes are also being used as tools by local authorities to increase the public's awareness of their waste production.
Kerbside collection is commonly considered to be completely environmentally friendly. This may not necessarily be the case as it leads to an increased number of waste collection vehicles on the road, contributing to global warming through exhaust emissions.
New and emerging waste treatment technologies such as mechanical biological treatment may offer an alternative to kerbside collection through automated separation of waste in recycling factories.
Kerbside collection of organic waste is carried out by the Mackenzie District Council and the Timaru District Council. Other councils are carrying out trials.