Trash Track, a super-cool new program launched by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nicely caps off my recent post on the rubbish-obsessed documentary film, Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home. Like the film, Trash Track helps us understand that once we throw something out it doesn’t magically go poof! and disappear.
Here’s how Trash Track works: residents in two pilot cities, New York and Seattle, 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.
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.