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Harm Huizenga

Designer of the Waste Management System


A Short Biography
Harm Huizenga was born in 1869 in the Netherlands. He was one of 8
children, whose fathers occupation was that of a cooper. He lived during
a period of great hardship in Europe. During this time his country was
going through a famine. Many people were hungry. They could not find
food as the result of poor harvests.
After 8th grade he went to work as a blacksmith apprentice. During this
time he woke at 3:00 a.m. and came home at 6:00 p.m., seven days a
week. One of his tasks was to haul away the trash so the work area could
be clean and safe to work in.
Physically he was a small man. It was hard physical work. For many years
he did this job. Harm learned to value hard work and love solving
problems during this time, but he didnt make hauling or moving things his
new work until after he was in his latter twenties.
He lived frugally. He did not spend money on things he did not need. He
respected working with his hands, working up a sweat, and being
independent. As part of his work, he interacted with many different
people. He saw a lot of trash in the streets. The trash made it hard for him
to move around. It was not a clean area. He became more and more
interested in thinking about how movement could help people have a
cleaner area.

Henk Huizenga, a distant relative of


Harm, carrying gasoline cans in the
1920s. Credit: Google Images

When he was 23, he decided to immigrate to America to find a better life. He chose Chicago. His mother
had a cousin that lived there.
In the 1860s in America, Abraham Lincoln was elected as the President. South Carolina was the first
state to secede or leave from the union. Then, later the Civil War began. By 1865, Lincoln had been
assassinated. By the 1870s, were women gaining the right to vote. The country was under
reconstruction, which meant states that had left the union during the Civil War were coming back.
When Harm came to America, it was in a
period called the Gilded Age. During this
time the nation grew very fast. Factories
created huge amounts of iron and steel,
and the trees in forests were cut for
lumber. The railroad companies stretched
their lines farther and farther so that
goods could reach many more people.
Inventors created a lot of products. As a
result, cities became crowded and dirty.

Chicago trash in 1890s

Credit: Google Images

For the businessmen who created these industries, it


produced a lot of wealth, but for people, like Harm, who
had come from another country, it was a time of poverty
and inequality.
When he arrived, Harm struggled to find work. It took him
6 weeks to find a job. He was paid $5.00 a week. From this
amount he paid $3.50 for his rent. Harm saved every cent
he earned.
Harms second idea in America was to create a system to
haul or move the trash on the streets to another location.
He was tired of seeing trash piled up in the street and
threatening his life.

Trash piled high up to the 1st floor window.


Credit: Google Images

A year later, he bought a horse and wagon to do just that! He called himself a raker, which means
someone who rakes up the trash. He raked up garbage for $1.25 a load. Harm Huizenga is known as
the grandfather of waste management.
Harmss Beliefs
Harm wanted to improve the lives of the working class
people in America. He imagined streets that were clean
enough for children to play in them without getting sick.
His trash hauling raker buinsess provided safety from
the unhealthy environment of the city streets.

Garbage rakers.
Credit: Google Images

He wanted families, no matter how poor or rich they were


to be able to come out onto the street together, and enjoy
one another without becoming sick. Because of this want,
he needed to employ others to help him, so all the streets
in the huge city would be cleaned. Harm hoped that when
the streets were clean, a sense of pride and community
would grow.

Naturally, he had the problem of trying to get good strong men and boys to want to do the job, while
there was other work to be found. He posted flyers and want ads on the sides of buildings and offered
good pay. He developed loading devices and tipping systems. This enabled large items to be put into the
wagon and also to be taken out! The hard work of raking trash was a bit easier.

Harms Design Ideas


Huizenga wanted the streets of Chicago to be beautiful and clean. He wanted people of the city,
especially the hard working immigrants like he was to be healthy.
He thought the garbage piling up everywhere was
a threat to their way of life. Waste in the form of
food, old clothes, bricks, anything they did not
need, interested rats and other animals, to bring
in diseases. The waste made it smell foul.
He created a rotation system to collect trash from
different parts of the city. One part of the citys
trash was raked on Mondays while another part
was raked on Thursdays. He wanted them to
follow a routine or a schedule and to put out
Garbage wagon tipping out trash.
trash on certain days. He thought this would help
Credit: Google image.
people feel secure and safe. People could hold
their trash and find ways to keep it in a storage
area inside their homes instead of just throwing out what they did not need each moment. He designed
a schedule that helped people handle their lives.

The Chicago Waste Management System


The system of waste management or garbage pick-up in Chicago is the work of many talented
individuals. The city is very large. It is larger than Louisville. In 1890, in Chicago there were 1 million
people. In Louisville, there were only about 162,000. Chicagos design for waste management, moving
the energy stored in waste products included dumping of waste in areas of land away from the city. It
included burning trash in incinerators, dumping it canals, cinder pots, quarries, or large wooden boxes.
Garbage men planned a way for people to not have trash in their
neighborhoods. They scheduled pick-ups on certain days. Having the
trash in kept the trash from rodents and contained it. It gave the
people a chance to use the streets and sidewalks. There were places
now that were designed to put the trash.
Chicago has a big lake called Lake Michigan and a river called The
Chicago River. As the nation grew, so did industrial waste. Steel mills
often dumped their slag, or stony waste matter in landfills. When
landfills would become filled, houses would be built upon them.

Waste in Chicago River


Credit: Google Images

Oil, chemical, and steel companies dumped their waste in waterways. The water supply in Lake Michigan
was in danger. They were not protected from the harmful wastes that were being put into it.
Chicago kept on growing. They kept on creating even more waste. In the 1950s they turned to
incineration. Up until the 1980s, Chicago burned most of its garbage. But scientists and citizens became
concerned so the city closed it down.
Now that people are aware of the dangers of toxic or dangerous chemicals from trash, they have sought
out laws to protect their city, land, and water. Old landfills are being cleaned up. Many landfills now are
small mountains, stretching hundreds of feet into the air. Pipes protrude or come out of the earth. From
them escape methane, a gas. The energy from the waste has to transfer somehow. Other landfills are
shut down, and converted into parks or golf courses.
Palmisano has long paths that wind through a fishing pond,
trails and a hill along a quarry wall. The scenery is open to
beautiful views of a pond and wetlands atop a large mound.
You can also see spectacular Chicago city views. It is a
beautiful place that was once a quarry filled to the top with
trash.
Cominsky Park, the ballpark in Chicago was once a landfill. It
was the home of the Chicago Whitesox baseball team. It
Palmisano Park, Chicago
hosted four World Series and 6,000 Major League games. It
was mostly made up of Astro turf and ballpark dirt. There
Credit: Google Images
were stands in which people
sit to watch the games from
below. It was truly a favorite and amazing place to go!
Jackson Park is a golf course built by the Museum of Science and
Industry with lots of challenging holes. It is a great place where teams
and families can play together. The Jackie, as the locals call it, is the
citys first public golf course. It was built on top of a landfill holding
waste from the Chicago Worlds Fair. And the cost? Less than $23.00 for
18 holes.

Cominsky Park
Credit: Google Images

Imagine where Chicago having as many people as it does, would have found space to create golf courses
and parks if it werent for designing ways to cover the ill-spots. Waste management has certainly come a
long way and will continue to change as the needs of the people change too.

Excerpt from Wikipedia


Waste Management, Inc. is an American waste management, comprehensive waste, and environmental
services company in North America. Founded in 1971, the company is headquartered in the First City
Tower in Houston, Texas.

The company's network includes 367 collection operations, 346 transfer stations, 293
active landfill disposal sites, 16 waste-to-energy plants, 146 recycling plants, 111 beneficial-use landfill
gas projects and six independent power production plants.
Waste Management offers environmental services to nearly 27 million residential,
industrial, municipal and commercial customers in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
With 26,000 collection and transfer vehicles, the company has the largest trucking fleet in the waste
industry. Together with its competitor Republic Services, Inc, the two handle more than half of all
garbage collection in the United States.

In 1893, Harm Huizenga, a Dutch immigrant, began hauling garbage at $1.25/wagon in Chicago. In
1968, Wayne Huizenga, Dean Buntrock, and Larry Beck founded Waste Management, Inc. and began
aggressively purchasing many of the smaller garbage collection services across the country, as the
descendant firm of Harm Huizenga. Many people credit Waste Management for being the first garbage
collectors, but they are mistakenly incorrect.
In 1971, Waste Management went public, and by 1972, the company had made 133 acquisitions with
$82M in revenue. It had 60,000 commercial and industrial accounts and 600,000 residential customers
in 19 states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. In the 1980s, Waste Management
acquired Service Corporation of America (SCA) to become the largest waste hauler in the country.
Contents
1. Biography
2. Career
4. Designs created by Harm Huizenga
5. Other Notable Doings

6. Landfills reclaimed by Chicago


7. Era or times of Waste Management
8. Positives of Reclaiming Landfills
9. Services offered
10. References