When Bristol, Vermont residents put out their trash on Fridays, they get a blast from the past when a team of Percherons picks it up.
[top image: Versatile Percherons in France, Wikimedia Commons]
New Haven, Vermont resident Patrick Palmer’s horses have a busy schedule year-round. They do weddings, hay rides, sleigh rides and even haul moose carcasses during the fall hunting season. Palmer has diversified his equine business even more–with horse-drawn garbage collection every Friday morning.
“I do it with horses because I have to pay for ’em,” he explained to USA Today.
He first got the idea when the nearby town of Bristol opened up bids for a public garbage contractor 17 years ago. He won the contract and was good to go, since horse-drawn carts are perfectly legal street vehicles.
He trailers his horses to Bristol, Vermont, a small, quiet town with houses close together. Palmer’s route has 250 customers spread across nine miles, which takes about four hours.
Barb Schwendtner, environmental specialist at the Department of Environmental Conservation Waste Management and Prevention Division, told USA Today that the small size of the town is what makes this whole operation feasible, “It’s not tons and tons of garbage and miles down a route where people are driving fast by you and what not.”
The horse-drawn garbage collection eliminates the need for fuel-inefficient garbage trucks in Bristol–though of course, Percherons require a different kind of fuel, and a LOT of it. With a bale of hay costing at least as much as a gallon of gas, plus all of the other costs of maintaining a horse, it’s not the cheapest way to “go green”…but it definitely brings a smile to everyone in town on Friday mornings.