By Kaylyn Levine- Green Labs
Over the past two weeks, the Green Labs team has made substantial progress in defining our project's focus, and beginning the research phase of our project. We have determined that the overall framework of our project will include preliminary laboratory waste audits, implementing a recycling program to the laboratories, and then conducting a final waste audit to deduce if the implemented program increased the number of items recycling in the lab.
The first step in this process was to meet as a group and with our stakeholder to collaborate on how to perform a waste audit. The waste audit will help us determine how much of the waste currently being placed in the trash is able to be diverted to the recycling. In order to create a procedure for the waste audits we researched programs from other college campuses across the country, and took into account the limitations and feasibilities of labs at UCLA. As of now, our procedure for a waste audit will involve three team members: one to sort through the trash bins, one to photograph each item found, and one to record the information in a spreadsheet. The measurement of waste will be a percentage (the number of items that could be recycling divided by the total number of items). In order to make the data collection consistent and valid, we will perform the waste audits of numerous labs during a similar time period and also have control labs (no recycling program implementation).
With the basis of our waste audits established, the next step was to contact lab managers to gain permission to perform our project. With the help of our stakeholder, we have contacted numerous labs and will move forward with the waste audits once we receive responses. We are hoping to perform waste audits of labs within the same building and of similar purpose.
Simultaneously, we have been meeting with Jesse Escobar, UCLA's Recycling Coordinator. He has given our team valuable information about the overall recycling status of the UCLA campus, and specific feedback regarding recycling in laboratories. Specifically, Jesse gave our team feedback on the type of recycling bins we could use for the implementation of our recycling program. Last Friday, Jesse gave our team members an informative tour of the campus that highlighted how recycling is carried out at UCLA. We hope to learn more from Jesse as our project is initiated.