It's Time for a Behavioral Audit!

By Talia Young

And it’s the UCLA men’s basketball team with the win!

This past Thursday, we began our research on how Pauley Pavilion could become “Zero Waste by 2020” through conducting a behavioral audit of the crowd during the UCLA men’s basketball game against Colorado. If only we could minimize the amount of trash produced during the games, we could “win” in another way as well: by being a zero-waste stadium!

Zero Waste Pauley Team reporting for duty! Do we look official with our clipboards and badges?

Zero Waste Pauley Team reporting for duty! Do we look official with our clipboards and badges?

We also met with Rich Mylin this week to plan out how we would go about conducting the behavioral audit during the basketball game. We arrived at the event early so that we could get our bearings and mapped out all of the trash and recycling bins situated around the stadium. We were each assigned specific trash bins to monitor throughout the game and recorded our findings on worksheets we created beforehand. Our goals were to observe what guests threw away, whether their waste was compostable, recyclable, or landfill material, and whether or not they disposed of their trash in the correct bins. In addition, we aimed to record how full the trash bins got throughout the game.

We tried to make our data as unbiased as possible by setting up various controls. Our team members monitored each garbage bin for five minutes and agreed on how each bin would be monitored. We took photos of each bin during the pre-determined data collection times throughout the game and estimated bin fullness by percentage.

Following our collection of data during and after the game, we qualitatively concluded that most of the trash being thrown away was compostable or recyclable. However, in order to get hard numbers, an actual waste audit is necessary. We also noticed that most of the trash wasn’t making it to the garbage bins. Many guests left their garbage from concessions under their seats after the game and filed out of the stadium empty handed.

We have yet to examine our data in depth but we will be working on that next week. As far as behavioral audits go, ours was a success! We collected the data we set out to collect and are moving towards making Pauley Pavilion zero waste!