In the most-recent issue of Orion magazine, Ginger Strand writes about a project at MIT's SENSEable City Laboratory, called "Trash/Track."
As Strang explains, scientists put small sensors on hundreds of pieces of trash, then charted their movement from waste bins to landfills. The portrait the data paints is illuminating.
"The project shows us exactly where those items go once they leave our hands," she writes. "It's an art installation, but it's also education."
So far, MIT has tracked trash in Seattle and New York City. The images they've created, of charted movements superimposed on city maps with time marks and photographs, are very cool looking.
Ultimately, Strand is less-enthusiastic about the project than I am. She wonders how a project like this could change the relationship between Americans and waste.
Although I can't link to the Orion piece, the MIT lab's site has lots of information about the project — and plenty of images. Check it out.