The recycling inquisition

Instead of forklifts moving garbage, what if they tortured people who didn't recycle? That's one way to incentivize curbside recycling, according to one Mini Inquisitor.

Water-powered cars

Does this water-powered car look oddly similar to Google's new self-driving car designs?

Carnivorus, the trash-eating robot

A golem for the 21st century.

Mind-controlled hamsters

They're already on the wheel. Why not recycle while they're at it? Welcome to the Hamtrix.

Hungry Aliens

Not actually too far off from the idea of bio-digesters, big tanks of microbes that help process human waste.

An indestructible cell phone

This probably wouldn't be too great for Apple stock, but "factories wouldn't make lots of them," as Tereza, 12, of the Czech Republic, points out.

Recycling metal to make bridges

This kid is being far too pragmatic. Live a little! Get with the mind-controlled hamster crew. Now that's a pitch a VC probably hasn't heard before.

A recycling remote control

You know, 3-D and 4-D printing might leap a long way towards a remote control that can recycle any kind of junk into something new and useful in the future.

Send all of it to space

This is actually probably one of the most doable solutions the kids came up with.

Virtual dumpsites

Jennie, 10, suggests moving trash into video games, where it would then assume new forms. Her class probably hasn't covered the law of conservation of mass yet. Hopefully that's not too much of a bummer.

Trash TaskRabbit

It's better for the environment than running someone else's laundry errands!

2014-05-29

Co.Exist

10 Imaginative Ideas From Genius Kids To Solve Our Global Waste Problem

How come we have Google Glass before a recycling remote control?

What if, instead of paying millions of dollars to export trash from cities to festering dumps in other parts of the country, we could export our garbage bags to virtual realities instead? And what if, instead of buying a new smartphone every few years before chucking it, we held onto indestructible ones for the duration of our lives?

These are just a couple of ideas generated by some 270 schoolchildren over the last three years. Massachusetts-based creative research firm and marketing company Latitude teamed up with schools in France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the United States to ask the kids how they might deal with one of today's most intractable issues: waste.

Their answers, as one might expect, waver between brilliance and silliness. And for a generation in which some are raised on iPads before they learn how to use a toilet, many of the solutions are technology-oriented. But that also offers a valuable reflection on how technology is being deployed today. Some answers, like the trash-filled VR worlds, show us the limits of technological solutionism. Others, like recycling junk metal in order to make bridges, seem pretty useful. And maybe if they can't all be executed, there's still value to the more creative suggestions. What if we did fill up a virtual reality with the trash we generate in the real world? Would it make the digitally-preoccupied more aware of global consumption patterns?

Check out 10 of our favorites in the slide show above.

[Images: Courtesy of Latitudeº / latd.com]

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2 Comments

  • suruha2306

    I love the children's ideas! I notice that a lot of them are about space. They have the right ideas, but, transferring the problem out into space is not really feasible right now. Swaps and donation centers and events that teach people how to use some things over again are mentioned by some. Bless them for giving it the thought and time!

  • Do did you know Tomra, a norwegian manufacturing company, makes trash sorting equipment and optical sensing recycling equipment? Www.tomra.com