Tracking Trash with M.I.T.

M.I.T.'s Senseable City Laboratory launched a project to track the journey of garbage and recyclables, using small electronic sensors, in Seattle and New York City, in part to highlight the high cost of waste to the environment and cities.
September 18, 2009, 6am PDT | Alek Miller
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"Collecting, transporting, storing and getting rid of garbage is a costly and often daunting task for cities. Lynn Brown, a spokeswoman for Waste Management Inc., a company that runs both landfills and recycling centers nationwide and is helping to underwrite the tracking project with $300,000, said garbage moved through a vast network of sites run by multiple contractors, which makes it challenging to find the most efficient way to handle it.

It also means hundreds of possible journeys for trash.

'From a logistics standpoint, it's a very complicated situation,' Ms. Brown said. 'When you look at how waste is handled in different cities, it's like snowflakes. It's all different.'"

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Published on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 in The New York Times
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