MIT Researchers to Track Waste in Seattle Social Experiment

Date: September 14, 2009

Source: News Room

MIT researchers hope that a plan to track household waste in Seattle will encourage people to be more conscious of what they are throwing away. "Seeing where your trash goes allows you to change your behavior," said Assaf Biderman, associate director of MIT's SENSEable City lab and a project leader. "Will you refill a cup instead of throwing away a disposable one?" Hundreds of Seattle residents have volunteered to allow researchers to attach electronic tags to about a dozen pieces of their household trash, for a total of about 3,000 tags. These volunteers will dispose of the items as normal, and the battery-operated smart tags using cell phone technology will allow researchers, and the public, to monitor the trash in real time while it travels through the waste stream to its final destination. Biderman explained that the experiment should allow researchers to discover how efficiently, or inefficiently, a waste removal system performs.

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