Posts Tagged ‘Tracking Trash’

Tracking Trash to Promote Recycling Efforts

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have embarked on a mission entitled “The Trash Track” to show people exactly where their waste goes by using tiny mobile tags.  Their research is part of an effort to decrease the amount of waste that people dispose because typically people have an “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” belief when it comes to their trash disposal procedures.  This will be a very useful tool because many of the items that end up in a landfill can be recycled and the usage of the tags will highlight this concept.

To monitor the process of trash moving around local cities and abroad, the MIT research team will use a mobile sensor that can be attached to individual pieces of trash.  Each of the mobile tracker tags is encased in protective resin and continuously broadcasts its location to a central server.  These results are then collected and plotted on a map.  To see how these tracking tags work, check out this video of a member of the project, Carlos Ratti, explaining the process:

The researchers are hoping that their tracking system will further be used to track computer and electronic waste such as cell phones.  These items are frequently disposed of incorrectly and the tracking tags will increase awareness about the complications of trash disposal and the benefits of recycling.

To keep up with the MIT researcher’s project, follow their Trash Track blog!

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