From Observation to Correlation

By Michelle Lee

After weeks of planning, plotting, and pilot-ing, the Recycling Team is finally in its main data collection phase. Beginning our final collection project has been exciting as we begin to notice interesting patterns surrounding our sites. Each collection bin has its own trends and material composition and we can now begin to create that line of correlation between our findings and the disposal behaviors in our campus population.

As we familiarize ourselves with each bin, we begin to look at our data with our focus on the future. Questions formulate in our group meeting discussions and we are beginning to ask ourselves about what specifically we want to take away from our collections. What do our trends mean in terms of the behavior of our student body? What seem to be the biggest problems in recycling behavior (or lack thereof)? How can we present this information to the student body in a concise, yet comprehensive way?

The Recycling Team (dumpster) dives right into its main data collection phase.

The Recycling Team (dumpster) dives right into its main data collection phase.

For instance, at the waste stations near Macgowan Hall, we have observed that the composition of the trash and recycling bins looks nearly identical. Based on this information, we can now begin to consider what is causing this lack of differentiation. After looking for commonalities between these sites, we have noticed a lack of proper bin signage. Now, our job for spring quarter comes into play as we think about how we can most effectively change this behavior. Our team is currently considering making recommendations and conducting possible signage-related experiments in order to better cater to these areas.

With the quarter quickly coming to a close, everyone is contributing fresh ideas for how we can turn our observations into actions for implementation.