By Ellie Joo
As we are approaching the end of our Macgowan 2.0 data collection, the focus of this week has been winding down our project and beginning to analyze the effects of signage on waste generated in Macgowan courtyard. The signage our team member Michelle has designed to differentiate the recyclable items from trash remain intact, taped above each waste station. In addition, the aggregate one-bin station right in front of Stage Canteen has been replaced with Victor Stanleys, shown in the top picture above. This replacement had been suggested to our stakeholder Jesse earlier this quarter because it allows for proper waste sorting as well as presenting clear signage for those disposing of their trash.
We are uncertain as to whether the signage has been effective in diverting more recyclable items from the trash bins because a number of recyclable items are still continually found in the trash bins at the waste stations in Macgowan. However, whether or not it is effective will be elucidated through our data analyses in the upcoming weeks, and this will give us insight into whether clear signage is a significant factor in driving people’s waste-sorting behavior. If it is, then the temporary signage that has been taped on the wall above the bins will need to be permanently implemented as part of the waste station. In such a case, establishing this new signage may be a task for the upcoming ART team for next year. Or it may even be necessary that specialized bins for particular recyclable items that repeatedly show up in the trash be introduced. If the signage turns out not to be a significant driving force for change in people’s waste-sorting activity, we will suggest new topics of research to investigate for next year’s recycling action research team.