Plastic recycling is a lot more complicated than 
just aiming for a perfect shot into the blue bin. 

Capstone Project by: Pisti Gamvroulas, Sarah Hogg, and Kyra Ott

Wait, Can You Actually Recycle That?

At the University of Utah, hundreds of students utilize the Marriott Library to catch up on assignments, study (aka "cram for a massive final",) and visit with fellow students. Where there are massive amounts of students, there are massive amounts of their waste. 

The Marriott library has created an organized recycling/waste system that help students correctly discard of their waste. However, it seems that many students are "wishful" recyclers when it comes to plastic recycling. Students often discard any and all plastic items they have, without any real idea that plastic recycling is extremely limited. Research shows that 91% of the plastic we produce, has not been recycled (Our World in Data 2018.)

How Do We Address "Wishful" Recycling?

Along with two fellow design students,  we designed and built an informational piece for the library, that would help further educate students about plastic waste, and remind students to recycle correctly. This project was housed on the 3rd floor of the library, where most students gather, and was placed near a section of waste bins. The placement and information on the infographic asked students to stop and consider the proper displacement of the items they were about to recycle.  

Information System

Using a rainbow color code, we identified the recyclability of specific plastics (blue-green being "generally recyclable", yellow to red being "generally NOT recyclable". The infographic itself included 3 rows of information: 

- The top most row offers each plastic material code and name, along with a list of common items found under that code. 

- The middle row includes actual items from each code mounted to the board, giving students a more straight forward look at what belongs in each code. 

- The last row offers further education about the material itself, and the recycling practices of these materials.

Located next to the informational piece, I wanted to offer more general insight into the piece, helping students understand large problem with "wishfully" recycling plastics. I designed a clean and minimalistic layout to pair with the informational graphic. 

Kyra Ott, a fellow designer on the project, educating students about the piece. 

Using Format