Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NY Times "Year In Ideas": Trash Tracking

One of the items in this year's New York Times "Year in Ideas" feature caught my eye: a piece on smart garbage.

The problem: curbside recycling programs are still fairly primitive compared to today's trash output. Highly recyclable (and often toxic) items, like computer parts and cellphones, are mixed in with regular garbage because there's no easy curbside pickup. (ed. note: Though if you're currently faced with disposing of this type of item, I highly encourage you to look into donating or recycling it - lots of major electronics retailers, among other places, offer free E-waste recycling prgrams these days.)

Read about Valerie Thomas, a Georgia Tech professor working to change that - she wants to create special smart trash cans that will be able to scan, and eventually help sort, our trash. Imagine if our 'disposal' process actually helped everyone pick treasure out of the trash! (In the meantime, there's always Talkin' Trash.)

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