New York City's Trash-Sucking Island

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My old Wired pals have a great photo gallery up of Roosevelt Island's novel trash disposal system. Six 300-horsepower motors power the pneumatic system, which can zip trash around at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. The system is one of only two its size; the other is located at Disney World.

The system of pneumatic trash-sucking tubes running beneath the surface of New York City's Roosevelt Island is either a quirky relic or a glimpse of the future, depending on how you look at it.

A network of 20-inch tubes takes garbage from the island's 16 residential towers, collecting from every floor, to a central collection point where it is compacted and trucked off the island. It is at once a simple and elegant solution to gathering trash, and an aging and complicated beast that needs a lot of upkeep.

Read the full story at Wired.

Image: Jon Snyder/Wired.com


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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