Competition winners: Your trash tracked

By Joseph Milton and Catherine Brahic What really happens to the stuff you throw away? In an exclusive competition launched last year, 10 readers in the UK won the chance to find out by taking part in the “trash tracking” experiment we ran in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Senseable City Lab. The objects our winners chose to tag and throw away ranged from a plastic bottle to an old computer. The tracking results are now in. While the prototype tracker technology didn’t prove 100 per cent reliable, the cases where it worked give a good indication of how the country’s rubbish is being disposed of. See more: the map of where the trackers went Winner: James Brown             Item: plastic milk bottle Starting point: Trantlebeg, Sutherland End point: Grangemouth, Stirlingshire Do local-authority waste collectors really recycle the plastic waste we diligently separate from the rest of our rubbish? That’s what James Brown, whose Scottish Highland home is far from any recycling centre, wanted to find out. He tagged an old milk bottle and dropped it in his recycling bin. The bottle travelled 400 kilometres, via two depots, to a recycling plant in Grangemouth. In the Highlands at least, it seems that sorting your rubbish is worth the effort. Winner: Shaun Baker        Item: smoke detector        Starting point: Stafford End point: Liverpool            Shaun Baker wondered if a smoke alarm would require specialised disposal as it contained a radioactive source. However,
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