Trash Travels: One Teddy Bear's Journey : Planet Money We find out what happened to that teddy bear from our show on trash. Did it end up in a landfill or was it sent out of the country to be recycled?
NPR logo Trash Travels: One Teddy Bear's Journey

Trash Travels: One Teddy Bear's Journey

Last week, for our show on the global business of trash, we talked to the MIT trash trackers. The researchers attached small trackers to three thousand pieces of garbage — an old cell phone, a sofa, a soda can, a banana peel, anything that people in Seattle brought them. Some things went to landfills. Others made it out of the country to be recycled.

Carlo Ratti, who ran the project, told us one woman brought in teddy bear. "She told us that it was a teddy bear she's [had] all of her life," said Ratti. "But actually now she had to throw it away, her boyfriend was telling her." The woman wanted to know where her teddy bear ended up, and when we heard her story, we did too. After we talked to Ratti, we asked the MIT people to dig into their database and pull the teddy bear's records.

They sent us a spreadsheet with the longitudes and latitudes for all the stops the teddy bear made. I plugged it into Google Maps:

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The trip a teddy bear took after it was thrown in the trash.
Jess Jiang/NPR

The final row: 45.6405383347,-120.213110447

And the teddy bear goes to
Jess Jiang/NPR

I zoomed in:

It's a landfill.

Landfill!
Jess Jiang/NPR