One of the most basic services offered by all towns, even towns as small as Louisburg, is garbage collection and disposal. This service is vital to the health and cleanliness of all cities.
During the Middle Ages, the garbage was simply dumped in rivers and streets. As you can imagine, disease was rampant and that Black Plaque wiped out a large chunk of the world population due to the filth of the cities.
Throughout other ages, many other tactics of garbage disposal have been used. For example, it was burned, fed to animals, buried and so forth. Some cities became completely buried in garbage and simply continued to build buildings on top of the garbage piles.
Others were more conscious of the problems and began to think of new ways to dispose of the garbage and keep the cities clean. Recycling began as part of this solution.
Archeological evidence indicates that garbage disposal has been a part of civilization from the very beginning. For example, in 3000 BC, the first known landfill was created at Knossos, Crete.
These people living in these cities dug large holes into which they threw their trash. As time passed, these holes were filled up and new one would have to be dug.
Then, in 2000 BC, China developed several methods of how to recycle and create compost. The most commonly recycled substance was bronze.
Later in 500 BC Athens, Greece incorporated a law that simply claimed that the garbage had to be disposed of at least one mile away from the city. While they had not specific methods for dealing with waste, this kept most of the disease out of the city.
As mentioned before, the Black Plague then struck in 1350 AD. This was the most deadly and dangerous disease to have hit the population.
This awful disease killed 25 million people in only five years. During this time, many people lived together in a civilized like city, but they were not civilized.
War was extremely common and as mentioned before, refuse was simply dumped in the street. Whatever could be re-used was, but this only added to the spread of disease.
As the disease spread, Britain finally decided to clean up the garbage. They hired men called 'rakers' to rake up the trash and waste that covered the cities.
It can only be imagined that many of these men died due to contracting disease before their task was complete. This tradition continued weekly after the city was mostly cleaned up.
These men were very brave as this task was not only risky, but very hard physical labor. In addition, this tradition soon spread to other areas.
Finally, in 1388 the English Parliament declared a law that forbid the dumping of trash in the ditches and public waterways. This significantly helped to reduce the problem.
Three hundred years later in 1657, New Amsterdam or Manhattan, declared a law banning the throwing of trash into the streets. In addition, recycling began to be spread to new materials in a variety of ways.
In 1551, Andreas Bernhart began creating the first newspaper that was delivered in wrappers to various people. Later in 1690, Rittenhouse Mill, located in America, began to recycle paper, cotton, and linen into making new paper.
Then, in 1350 Britain declared a law requiring that all front yards be kept clean and free of trash. The law was not taken seriously for a long time, but slowly people began to burn their waste.
Following this law in 1407, another law was created requiring that all people had to store their trash inside their home until the rakers came to take it away. Thus, the garbage disposal service was born.
Still at this time, people did not really understand why taking care of your own trash was necessary. They did not see it as a threat to life, so many of these laws were violated.
The trash that was still left in the streets would often be pillaged by men who were looking to make a few more dollars. These men were called Toshers, Mudlarks, and Dustmen.
The Toshers, Mudlarks, and Dustmen would gather everything from dog feces, which was used to purify leather, to ash, which was used to in mortar. In order, to prevent scavenging of the public waste and trash found throughout the streets of the cities, the Public Health Act of 1875 was put in place to restrict waste collection to those who were authorized to do so.