SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.
Share your tales of travel & adventure with our step-by-step guide. Upload trail descriptions, photos, video, and more. Get Started
The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Tracking Trash… By GPS?

We pack it in. We pack it out. But then what? A team of MIT researchers aim to find out, and change the public view of trash and the environment

Here at Backpacker, we’re obsessed with GPS (obviously).  We’re also obsessed with the environment (again, obviously).  That’s why we’re intrigued by one of the Massachusetts’ Institute of Technology’s latest experiments: Trash Track.

On Tuesday, MIT researchers announced the experiment, a project that will use GPS cellular technology to electronically track 3,000 pieces of common garbage over the next three months.  In Seattle, New York City and soon, London, disposed items ranging from paper coffee cups and plastic bottles to aluminum cans and liquid soap containers, will be “trash tagged” and their journey to a recycled birth or landfill burial will be monitored by researchers looking to define the patterns and costs of waste removal.  

The project, inspired by New York City’s Green Initiative’s goal to divert 100 percent of the city’s recyclables from landfills, also aims to get people thinking about what they buy, use, and then throw away.

"The study of what we could call the 'removal chain' is becoming as important as that of the supply chain," the lab's associate director, Assaf Biderman, explained in Tuesday’s press release. "Trash Track aims to make the removal chain more transparent. We hope that the project will promote behavioral change and encourage people to make more sustainable decisions about what they consume and how it affects the world around them."

And, MIT is following through on creating trash transparency. Unlike most research studies, we don’t have to wait the three plus months for the project’s results.  The migration patterns of the tagged trash will be available in real time online and in exhibits in the Architectural League in New York City and at Seattle’s public library.  

Ah, GPS, the environment, waste disposal awareness, and trash transparency at my fingertips…  technology certainly can be a grand thing.

–Jessie Lucier


Tracking Trash


Track Trash Web site


READERS COMMENTS

Lisa G
Sep 20, 2009

"Ah, GPS, the environment, waste disposal awareness, and trash transparency at my fingertips… technology certainly can be a grand thing."

Can you guess what doesn't belong in a landfill?

...That's right, your Fingertips...AND THE BATTERY POWERED GPS DEVICES!!! Put down the Mac Book!

Manny
Sep 20, 2009

It's a shame we have to throw away battery powered GPS devices that are tracked by satellites before you get excited about recycling. Why don't you just write an article about RECYCLING! FUCK! Put down the Mac Book!

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Gear
Advice on pants
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: Silock
Trailhead Register
What year did you go digital?
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: sarbar
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions