This year we applied to the OPG Environment and Electrification Development Challenge to develop the first integrated sensor system in a garbage claw used for collecting roadside rubbish. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the next round of applicants. I would like to thank OPG, The Spark Center and Beijing Future Park.
Currently, I am testing my most recent prototype with a GoPro attached to monitor the incoming waste while I cleaned up garbage at a local elementary school. You can check out the video here . One of the themes I wanted to underline is the value of a clean environment for safety, for inspiration and for taking pride in our community. I believe one of the biggest disconnects in this equation is our relationship with the things we buy... being disconnected in the sense that out of sight out of mind has overpowered proactivity and most of the items we touch get sent to the landfill. By reconnecting ourselves to the everyday objects that surround us, only can we begin to use our purchasing power responsibly to account for what goes into the products that goes into our hands and what will happen with it when we’re done.
To be honest I feel I am doing a disservice to my community by picking up garbage. It shows people who put the garbage there in the first place that they can continue to litter and they don’t have to bare the responsibility for dealing with the waste that they produce. After I conducted a few cleanups on a road outside of a school it became scattered with plastic bottles, straw wrappers and more. Picking up wrappers and bottles is a band-aid solution to a seemingly never ending problem.
The taller the grass the more history it hides.
Is the source of this problem the litter leaving our hand or the fact that the item in our hand was destined to be tossed before we bought it? Is waste production inevitable? Yes, however technology is providing us with new and better ways to understand the fate of our everyday goods, propelling us forward to the sustainable revolution. This technology is intended to increase the efficiency of waste collection and diversion at a consumer level as well as prepare our environments for increased waste generation rates and most of all encourage us to be more conscious of the things we throw away.