By Catherine Brahic (Image: E Roon Kang / SENSEable City Lab) (Image: E Roon Kang / SENSEable City Lab) Ever wondered where your trash goes to die? New Scientist is collaborating with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a ground-breaking experiment to electronically tag and follow ordinary trash as travels from ordinary garbage cans to landfills, recycling plants, and possibly some extraordinary destinations. The team behind the experiment, MIT’s Senseable City lab, led by Carlo Ratti, have made a device that is about the size of a small matchbox and that works like a cell phone – without the phone bit. A SIM card inside the chip blips out its location every 15 minutes, the signal is picked up by local cell phone antennae and the chip’s location is relayed back to MIT. Ratti’s team and New Scientist have already deployed a test run of 50 tracked items of trash ranging from paper cups to computers in Seattle. Several thousand more will be released in Seattle and New York garbage cans later this summer and we’ll chuck a batch into the London trash for good measure. Ultimately, we’re hoping the project will help people take ownership of their pollution. It’s all too easy to throw something in the garbage and wash your hands of it if you don’t know what effect you are directly having on the environment. You bin it and consider it someone else’s problem. Yet trash and poor recycling is one of the biggest problems facing the planet. Think of what happens when the garbage men go on strike. We complain that they’re not doing their job – but where did all that trash come from to begin with?