Seattlites and New Yorkers can follow household garbage as it travels through the waste stream with MIT's Trash Track program.
Thu, Jul 23 2009 at 6:59 PM
Here’s how Trash Track works: residents in two pilot cities, New York
, can voluntarily tag trash with a wireless electronic marker that records the location of each piece of refuse and how long it has been in the waste stream. Starting in September, the public will be able to view the “migration patterns” of tagged trash via exhibits at the Architectural League in New York and the Seattle Public Library.
Carlo Ratti from MIT’s SENSEable City Lab says about Trash Track says
Our project aims to reveal the disposal process of our everyday objects, as well as to highlight potential inefficiencies in today's recycling and sanitation systems. The project could be considered the urban equivalent of nuclear medicine — when a tracer is injected and followed through the human body.
Project leader Musstanser Tinauli adds
We hope that Trash Track will also point the way to a possible urban future: that of a system where, thanks to the pervasive usage of smart tags, 100 percent recycling could become a reality.
At this time, the program involves only Seattle and New York — two cities with considerably beefy recycling programs and waste diversion goals — but London will be brought into the fold in the near future. And although it’s not exactly clear how residents can acquire these “trash tags,” I’m hoping to somehow get my hands on one. So those of you who have always wondered what exactly happens to MNN blogger Matt's Thai take-out containers and spent razor cartridges, you may be in luck.
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