- The University of Washington has designed and installed an interactive recycling and composting station that calculates and displays potential money savings from these two practices. Conceptualized by an interdisciplinary research group led by two university faculty, the system features three receptacles with weight sensors and microcomputers, as well as digital screens that show these savings and what would likely be saved if composting and recycling were adopted campus wide.
- A study found that improper sorting dropped from 48% to 40% and that correct diversion practices rose 10% since the installation launched, according to Phys.org.
- The project was a collaboration between two lead faculty, graduate students of a computer program, design program students, and an anthropology professor and doctoral candidate—the latter two conducted the impact study.
College students are of a generation that wants to make an environmental impact, and for good reasons. However, many do not know the proper way to make such an impact, which is where digital screens like the ones at UW become beneficial. Public awareness generated through engaging projects like this one can go a long way to get the recycling and composting momentum going.
Colleges in several states are composting items like greasy, cheesy pizza boxes by the hundreds of thousands; in fact, collectively more than 200 of 700 higher-education institutions are composting while other college initiatives are achieving 70%-90% waste reduction through both recycling and composting.
Some schools even have full sustainability programs that encourage waste-free events, such as Arizona State University. Last week, ASU fed 500 students, faculty and staff with a meal made from food waste in order to utilize such waste and educate the community on the importance of proper organics disposal.