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"The idea I want to push next is that the United States should make Siberia a Protectorate. Pay the Russians off a hundred, two hundred billion dollars and simply run Siberia in an ecologically responsible way."
- Gregory Benford

Garbage Mine  
  The idea that recycling can spawn entirely new industries.  

This is an interesting idea; I think the general idea was floating around in the 1970's, but I can't find a reference.

...soft-drink cans, ketchup bottles and disposable diapers... engine oil, transmission fluid, and electroplating residue... tires and cars, broken stereos and obsolete computer..

Some suggested leaving the sites exactly as they were, so future archaeologists could find a wealth of detail from the prodigal middens of TwenCen California...

It might have been predictable, and yet few saw the answer coming. In a later day of harder times, of short resources and mandatory recycling, it was inevitable that those landfills should draw the eyes of innovators, looking for ways to get rich.

Iron, aluminum, silica ... nickel, copper, zinc...

Claims were filed, mining plans presented and analyzed.... Excavation began between the ancient hills.

Into a past generation's waste, their desperate grandchildren dug for treasure.

The garbage rush was on.

From Earth, by David Brin.
Published by Bantam in 1990
Additional resources -

This is an idea whose time has come; it goes beyond recycling.

If it makes you feel any better, North Americans have always produced trash. According to archaeological studies of a clan of Native Americans who lived around 6,500 BC, each person produced an average of 5.3 pounds of waste per day during the hunting season.

Note: The first municipal dump was established in Athens in around 500 B.C.

Read more about the history of waste.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Earth
  More Ideas and Technology by David Brin
  Tech news articles related to Earth
  Tech news articles related to works by David Brin

Garbage Mine-related news articles:
  - The Garbage Mines Of Ghana

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Science Fiction in the News

Monarch Tractor - It's Electric, Autonomous and Smart
'Driver-optional' and follows gestures.

'Seabreeze' Apple And UCLA Project To Beat Depression
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test,' the machine said peevishly.'

Hovermap By Emesent Autonomous Mapping Works Indoors - and Out
Perfect for exploring ancient artifacts on distant planets.

Sono Motor's Sion Sun-Powered Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

LEONARDO Robot Has Legs And Thrusters, Can Skateboard, Slackline
'a walking balloon proceeded with long strides of its aluminum legs over a slant of steep upland.'

Xavier Robots On Patrol For 'Anti-Social Behavior'
'This was as close as a robot could get to a cop in uniform.'

Rotating House in Bosnia
'... feel free to turn the house on your own.'

Ingenious Engineer Creates DIY Feeding Robot
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Do Smart Glasses Need Forward-Facing Cameras?
'They were stylish, with yellow-tinted lenses and hip frames, but the posts were unusually thick.'

More SF in the News

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