Street Sweeping – One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

street sweeping trash - sweeping.comStreet Sweeping for a Messy World

As a professional street sweeping company, we’re actually glad that the modern world is a messy place.  Here are some startling facts about the trash:

  1. Our modern society produces an enormous amount of waste. And that waste production is increasing. By 2030 the amount of household waste will almost double to 3000 million tons annually.
  2. Every bag of household waste has produced approximately 70 bags of waste from the production process used to produce the goods that we used and then throw away.
  3. Most waste goes to landfills or is burned. Burning waste creates the world’s largest source of dioxins, which is one of the most toxic chemicals known to science.

And as a responsible street sweeping company, we would like to see waste disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.  We like to believe that we’re leading the way with effective street sweeping practices (we’ll list those in another post) and by using environmentally safe cleaning solutions in our street sweeper and garage scrubbing equipment.

In our opinion, the best way to help with effective waste management is to pay attention to up-to-date practices, keep equipment in tip top shape and constantly measure our street sweeping practices.

Street Sweeping Trash – Different Types for Different Places

One of the most interesting forms of measurement (at least to us) is the different types of waste that are generated by different environments.  That is, what type of trash, garbage, and debris does our street sweeping find in the different areas that we sweep?

We conduct street sweeping throughout New Jersey.  Depending on the different areas, we have to plan and prepare our equipment for different types of materials.  Here’s some interesting statistics based on our equipment management and reports from our street sweeper drivers.

Urban Trash

We are contracted to provide street sweeping in cities such as Newark, New Brunswick, Trenton, Princeton, and Freehold.  Ok, some of those locations are smaller, but interestingly, produce similar items for street sweeping.

Here are the common types of trash and debris we sweep up in urban (city) environments:

  • Paper – newspapers, flyers, brochures, menus
  • Aluminum cans – people drink a lot of soda
  • Cigarette butts – we’re seeing fewer and fewer as time goes on, but there’s a lot of butts
  • Food wrappers – people like eating on the run
  • Seasonal items – People in a rush leave these behind
    • Hats
    • Gloves
    • Umbrellas (mostly broken)
    • scarfs
  • Plastic bottles – Mostly water. Cities have lots of thirsty people
  • Overflow from poorly contained trash – Sloppiness is everywhere
  • Car parts – People are not aware when something falls off
  • Oil – Old cars
  • Grease – All cars

Jersey Shore Trash

We also have contracts with many different New Jersey shore towns.  The NJ shore areas we cover include Stafford township and street sweeping in Long Beach Island, Surf City, Harvey Cedars.

We cover some of the beaches in Monmouth County as well including Cliffwood Beach and Laurence Harbor.  The debris from street sweeping in shore locations is quite a bit different in type and quantity from our urban street sweeping and includes:

  • Sand – of course
  • Cigarette butts – the beaches are the world’s biggest ashtray. The butts get blown from the beach onto the roads
  • Food wrappers – Many picnics and tailgates at the shore
  • Plastic bottles – Both water bottle and lots of ice tea bottles
  • Plastic bags – stores all those picnic items
  • Cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons – Again for the picnics
  • Straws, stirrers – People like straws
  • Glass bottles – Mostly beer
  • Aluminum beverage cans – Beer again
  • Paper bags – It’s funny, people put all their trash into a paper bag and then don’t throw away the bag!

Suburban Trash

Moving from the cities to the suburbs creates trash challenges as well.  We’re contracted by many municipalities in New Jersey such as Edison, Woodbridge, Old Bridge, Hamilton, Middletown.  Here some of the street sweeping goodies we find there:

  • Grass – Must keep our lawn looking nice, but you shouldn’t throw the grass in the street (many do)
  • Leaves – Lot of trees, lot of dead leaves
  • Cigarette butts – Nobody’s allowed to smoke inside anymore
  • Food wrappers – A lot of people eat in their cars and throw the wrapper out of their cars
  • Plastic bottles – Mostly water
  • Paper bags – The leftovers from fast food
  • Bugs – Ick, can’t be helped
  • Dead birds – We feel bad for this, we love birds
  • Household waste – Lots of people don’t use a cover on the trash cans. A little breeze and there’s trash all over.
  • Dead shrubs – Guess what…garbage trucks don’t pick up this type of trash in many towns

Rural Trash

We have a few very rural areas where we conduct street sweeping.  Not as many as cities and suburban areas, but we perform street sweeping in areas including Monroe Township, rural parts of Freehold, Old Bridge and many others.  Here some of the things we find with street sweeping in these rural areas:

  • Leaves – Where’s there’s trees, there big piles of them
  • Dead vegetation – Why does it seem to end up on roads?
  • Tree branches – Where there are leaves, there are lots of branches
  • Animal carcass (birds, rodents, squirrels, etc.) – Sad to find these
  • Plastic bottles – What…are the squirrels drinking bottled water too?
  • Sand – Mostly from rain runoff
  • Pallets – Yes..the wood pallets you find in warehouses.
  • Pine cones – We have lots of pine trees in New Jersey

Construction Trash

And finally, we have street sweeping contract for many different commercial and residential construction sites throughout New Jersey.  The street sweeping debris from a construction site is our biggest street sweeping challenge because some of it is so large (and potentially dangerous).  Here’s what we find in construction street sweeping jobs:

  • Dried mud from runoff – Generally big chunks of it
  • Sand from runoff – Similar to rural areas
  • Concrete pieces – All different kinds from cinder block to drips from a concrete truck
  • Asphalt pieces – From road pavement
  • Wood pieces (shims, 2×4 edges, trim, fypon) – Most wood is disposed of properly, but smaller pieces blow into the road
  • Vinyl shavings (from siding) – Same as small wood pieces, it blows into the road
  • Asphalt shingles – From roofing
  • Beer cans – Beverage of choice for construction professionals
  • Food wrappers – They have to eat lunch too
  • Uneaten food – No need to throw it the trash, let’s just throw it on the floor!
  • Chunks of grass, earth, and gravel – Can’t be helped, it’s a construction site
  • Cigarette butts – Does everyone in construction smoke?

We Care About Street Sweeping

Well, there you have it, probably the most comprehensive list of different types of street sweeping trash that you’ll ever encounter.  Do you care?  Probably not…but we do.  We care very much about street sweeping trash.  We need to have the right professional with the right equipment for the right area to do the most effective and efficient street sweeping job.

It’s what we do.  Yes, we care about street sweeping.  Give us a call at 732-886-1940 if you care about street sweeping too.

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