By Kelsey Davis
UCLA set an ambitious goal of Zero Waste by 2020, aiming to divert 95% or more of its waste from landfills (UCLA Zero Waste Plan 2012). Capturing more recyclable material will be crucial to achieving this goal. This year’s Recycling Action Research Team seeks to contribute to this effort by collecting data on the effectiveness and efficiency of recycling collection on campus.
We had our first team meeting this week and met our stakeholder, UCLA Recycling Coordinator, Jesse Escobar for the first time. Jesse’s clear vision and enthusiasm has given our team the momentum to clearly define our project and get started!
Jesse proposed that we collect data on the outdoor recycling and trash bins on campus, including the type of materials being thrown away, whether bins are full or under-utilized, and whether recyclable materials are actually ending up in the recycling bins. Using our data, we will make recommendations for improving the recycling program. For example, we can recommend the placement of composting bins in areas of campus where food waste is prevalent. In addition, our data will be added to a map of trash and recycling bins on campus, which will be made available to UCLA staff and faculty.
Our team is still in the process of developing our methodology and are reviewing previous ART projects that have completed waste inventories. Additionally, we are brainstorming ideas for an educational campaign on campus.
Meet the Team!
Our team’s stakeholder is Jesse Escobar, who oversees UCLA’s recycling programs as Recycling Coordinator. Jesse is working as a stakeholder for the first time this year.
Our team leaders are Jenna Hoover and Kelsey Davis. Jenna is a sophomore studying Economics and is the Secretary and E-Waste Campaign Co-Coordinator for UCLA’s E3 sustainability club. Kelsey is a senior majoring in Geography/Environmental Studies and is an intern at Sustainability Works.
Our team members are Michelle Lee, Ellie Joo, and Sara Vetter. Michelle is in her second year at UCLA and is studying Biology. She spends her free time doing anything outdoors. Ellie is a junior majoring in Biochemistry and serves as a Board Member on the Environmental Science Student Network. Sara is a senior studying Environmental Science and is currently working on a backyard habitats project for the National Wildlife Federation.