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:
The final row: 45.6405383347,-120.213110447
I zoomed in:
It's a landfill.