How far does your trash travel? MIT Trash Track project

Discussion in 'Office and Cafeteria Waste Best Practices' started by Andy, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Andy

    Andy Administrator Waste Min Publisher 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    MIT, Waste Management and a few others teamed up to give 500 people in Seattle satellite beacons to place on their trash. Their goal was to see how far a piece of trash has to travel after it is disposed of, but before it is recycled, landfillled, incinerated, etc.

    What they found was that some of the trash travelled quite a distance, especially some of the "specialty recycling" items like printer cartridges and cell phones.


    The more we see life cycle analysis going on and "waste chain" being considered, as well as "supply chain", the more this kind of research is going to come into play. It's putting more thought and rigor behind waste minimization to understand the ENTIRE picture... for example, is recycling a printer cartridge still a good idea if it has to travel the entire way across the US from Seattle to NY?

    When you really dig into the data, this is the kind of stuff that separates "beliefs" from the "facts."

    The video starts getting interesting at about :50 mark