Trash, litter, rubbish. Disposing of materials we no longer want or can no longer use generates waste. Common kinds of waste include municipal solid waste, wastewater, and hazardous waste. This is a page dedicated towards the development and exploration of Public Lab tools and resources to help understand the world of waste. Ideas range from landfill monitoring and mapping landfills to developing a trash can with built-in scale and household composting bin. _Lead image: @a1ahna, CC BY SA_ ### Questions [questions:waste] ### Activities [activities:waste] ### Research notes [notes:waste] ### Projects and resources: - Tracking Boston's municipal solid waste (from Claire): https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=forums&srcid=MDg4NzcxNDk1MTQ0NzAzNDA0MjMBMDA1MDI1MTE0MjY5MzA5OTEyOTUBTXo5VHRzM2lTdnNKATQBAXYy - EPA Database of landfill locations. Includes a record of historical/current violations of environmental policy: http://echo.epa.gov/?redirect=echo - Landfill Club: Project from EcoHack 2014. has more data about landfills in MA. Note: This doesn't show historic landfills: http://landfill.club - Massachusetts' closed landfills. Page with info on Mass's closed landfills that might be helpful for you: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/recycle/solid/landfills-transfer-stations-and-compost-sites.html - Basurama- A small study of waste places in Cambridge: http://meipi.org/cambridgewaste.categories.php It was part of the exhibition at MIT: http://basurama.org/transtrash/projects/ from Basurama. Map can be found here: http://meipi.org/cambridgewaste.map.php?id_entry=30 - Find a Landfill Near You http://landfills.herokuapp.com/ (in progress) This is something made by Nick Johnson with data from the EPA. It includes landfills as well as any facility licensed to handle msw. The idea here to was to find a landfill near you. - MIT's Senseable City Lab TrashTrack http://senseable.mit.edu/trashtrack/index.php?id=1 Their project tracks where trash actually goes using GPS-enabled tools. This seems related to but potentially separate from identifying where the landfills are. Might be an interesting peripheral study. Also, there are some interesting data visualizations of specific trash items here: http://senseable.mit.edu/trashtrack/visualizations.php?id=2 - Crowdcrafting project to identify landfills from satellite images, http://crowdcrafting.org/app/landfill/ - Open Trash Lab, http://www.opentrashlab.com/projects ### Challenges: Ideas for monitoring landfills: #### Wifi Enabled Trashcan Scale (concept) This trashcan has a builtin scale which automatically logs its daily weight online wirelessly. This joins the group 'internet of things' but could help keep track of exactly how much trash an individual or household produces. Could also be implemented into workplaces. Steps to build: 1) Hack digital scale to add wifi capabilities. 2) Design method in which a trash can is placed on top *tracking daily waste numbers across communities could be tremendously useful in understanding more precisely how much municipal solid waste is produced annually. #### Landfill Monitoring Kit This kit will include items needed to take a small soil sample in order to test for various toxins, metals, etc... A water monitoring kit - for nearby waterways to test for contaminates in the water. (These are just suggestions for monitoring landfills. I actually have no idea what would be useful) #### Landfill Methane Mapping Methane Balloons? - Landfills are a leading source in methane emissions across the country. Could we attach lowcost methane sensors to balloons and "Methane Map" landfills? #### Landfill Identification and Tracking The Environmental Protection Agency has a database containing data about all of the landfills in the country. It would enlightening to gather citizen stories and documentation of each of these landfills aside from the EPA database. This initial map was created to use the EPA database to locate all of the landfill in the country on one map. Users can then identify nearby landfills and see, via google maps, what the landfill is like from above. Expanding this map to include citizen gathered data on each landfill individually help formulate a better understanding of landfills around the country. Current [example](http://landfills.herokuapp.com/) #### Home Composting Kit I'm sure everybody and their brother has thought about this, but when I try and find something online, nothing exists. The home composting kit would be everything you need to easily compost at home. I imagine the kit to be similar to a trash can, but with many various levels to allow for the various steps in composting. - To be totally honest, I only have a basic understanding of how to compost but I fully believe there must be a simple way (via a product) to help people with in-house composting. - Maybe something like [this](http://www.naturemill.net/products.html). Useful [scientific research](http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=dXNX4cOMqDUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR13&dq=composting&ots=LrhIRSbR1Y&sig=jKlrJ9f23HtEqKXz9-Iso9Guc5w#v=onepage&q=composting&f=false) #### Wall-E Robot to collect waste This is all about making a Wall-e stye robot to collect and process waste. This is interesting in both bringing the character to life which represents the 'solution' to our increasingly growing waste stream as well as actually making a robot that could collect waste more efficiently. I also see potential for creating a mascot for waste as well as an opportunity to push the waste conversation forward. Next steps: Design a diagram of what this robot would do. Ideas: simple moving trash can, add environmental sensors, focus on one item (organics or aluminum can crusher), maybe it is a mini waste to energy robot to power your home? etc... ...

Author Comment Last activity Moderation
patcoyle "I got a workflow for the auto volume measurement, in case it is useful: http://publiclab.org/notes/patcoyle/04-07-2014/using-free-sfm-tools-for-aut..." | Read more » about 10 years ago
patcoyle "Here is another volume measurement using SFM example, in case it's useful: http://publiclab.org/notes/patcoyle/03-27-2014/example-using-free-sfm-t..." | Read more » about 10 years ago
nicholas "This is really fantastic! I've been looking at calculating area of landfills using bing maps but havent thought about calculating volume. Below i..." | Read more » over 10 years ago
patcoyle "We discussed this today during organizers call. Jeff and I recalled Nathan Craig's note about using free Surface From Motion (SFM) tools for scaled..." | Read more » over 10 years ago
eustatic "http://www.cstindustries.com/applications/dry-bulk/ " | Read more » over 10 years ago
eustatic "certain companies make storage facilities for these waste piles: " | Read more » over 10 years ago
eustatic "thanks! we've got a lot of these piles down here in Louisiana, and more all the time, thanks to Tarsands. And they are always dumping lots of crap..." | Read more » over 10 years ago
patcoyle "The surface from motion (SFM) tools offer another approach to this application. Free ones like 123Catch (http://www.123dapp.com/catch), Hypr3D (now..." | Read more » over 10 years ago
gonzoearth "For example: If you look to this MapKnitter landfill map it has a 10.75 cm/px spatial resolution. https://mapknitter.org/map/view/saugus-ash-landf..." | Read more » over 10 years ago
sara "Thanks! That is super helpful to hear, can you suggest what image editing program you would use? And how you might go about it? " | Read more » over 10 years ago
gonzoearth "Great work! While there are no specific measurement tools available for MapKnitter currently, the pixel/spatial resolution is available. Thus, scal..." | Read more » over 10 years ago
mathew "Glad you're headed out, looking forward to a successful trip! " | Read more » over 10 years ago
pablo "Great Jeff, I had missed this post. Any conclussions to extract from the photos about the landfill? Besides, wrong first link! " | Read more » almost 11 years ago
warren "I've begun a MapKnitter map here: https://mapknitter.org/map/view/east-providence-waste-plant but it's hard to piece this one together! it's a ver..." | Read more » about 11 years ago
warren "I believe there's not yet a map-- lynn, can you give an exact location so people can start a mapknitter map and start placing images? Or would you ..." | Read more » about 11 years ago
Larzag "what has been done on this so far? I see that there have been a lot of reviews of the images, but did not find a map for them on mapknitter. " | Read more » about 11 years ago
warren "Hi, Nick - did you fly kites at all? Usually I won't fly balloons in anything but perfectly calm weather. What kind of camera hanging system did yo..." | Read more » about 11 years ago
liz "This is an amazing topic, Nick. Is this the map you started? https://mapknitter.org/map/view/fresh-kills- " | Read more » about 11 years ago
patcoyle "I replied to the grassrootsmapping list: I'll try to help. I'm involved in Belize (http://belizeopensource.org/news) and am very interested in soli..." | Read more » about 11 years ago