All Hands on Deck For Recycling!

By Jenna Hoover

Did you know that UCLA generates over 25,000 tons of waste each year?

With a UC-wide goal of Zero Waste by 2020, all hands must be on deck. That’s where the Recycling Action Research Team comes in.

The Recycling Team with stakeholder, Jesse Escobar, Recycling Coordinator at UCLA.

The Recycling Team with stakeholder, Jesse Escobar, Recycling Coordinator at UCLA.

In order to hit the ground running, our team met with our team’s stakeholder Jesse Escobar, the Recycling Coordinator for UCLA. We discussed how our team can play a role in helping UCLA meet its goal of Zero Waste by 2020 and in improving the campus’s waste management system as a whole.

As soon as the meeting started, Jesse already had a research project idea for our team: to monitor the campus’s waste bins in order to integrate technology with the recycling program. On his own, Jesse had created a map of all of the waste stations on campus, and our team will spend this upcoming quarter collecting data to be added to the map. Data that we will be collecting includes the type of material in the waste bins, how full the bins are during different times of the day, the type of bin, and the type of signage on the bins.

Based on the data that we will be collecting, we will work with Jesse to make recommendations for the campus’s recycling program such as where bins should be placed, what new types of bins should be introduced (such as compost bins or recycle bins for specific products like pizza boxes), and what specific signage we can add to the bins. Through the collection and analysis of this data, our team hopes to make UCLA’s recycling program one that caters to all of the campus’s different needs as opposed to forcing the campus to try to fit its needs into one standardized recycling system.