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MIT Project Uses Electronic Tags To Study Trash, Recycling

trash-2With a goal of converting more trash into recycling, volunteers for an MIT research project are attaching electronic tags to items put in the trash in New York City and Seattle.

By following the trash through the system, from point of disposal to the garbage dump, researchers hope to highlight the environmental impact of urban trash on the environment, as well as identify ways to encourage recycling.

The project is called Trash Track.

“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,” said Professor Carlo Ratti, head of the MIT SENSEable City lab. “The project could be considered the urban equivalent of nuclear medicine – when a tracer is injected and followed through the human body.”

According to MIT, the Trash Track project gets its inspiration from the Green NYC Initiative, which aims to boost the waste recycling rate of New York to almost 100 percent by 2030. As of now, about 30 percent of the city’s waste is diverted from landfills for purposes of recycling.

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