This fall we've got lots cookin'.
First, we're working to beef up our survey data from our previous work in McMahon Hall so that we can follow through on the promise of our winter and spring 2014 work.
Second, we're working with ODYSSEY Magazine for kids to put together an issue on waste science that will be released November 2014, and will then be in schools and libraries across the land.
Third, we're working with two UW classes on garbology-related projects. One is with UW Archy 205, the introductory archaeology class for UW anthropology majors, and we'll be working with them to do a one-day analysis of waste from Suzzallo Cafe -- the highest-traffic cafe on campus -- on November 13th. The other is a collaboration with Master's Degree design students in Dr. Karen Cheng's MCHI+D course, and we'll be working with them to design innovative ways of improving UW's waste diversion through campus installations, infrastructure, and software tools, among other strategies.
Finally, we're collaborating with Laura Lee Dootson -- a former UW student now working at Sustain -- to develop a new reuseable cup program which we hope to pilot at UW cafes.
Fall 2014 Results
Winter and Spring 2014
During the first half of 2014 we're back in action on three major fronts.
First, during winter quarter we're undertaking a 7-week study of waste produced in McMahon Hall, one of UW's dorms, as a means of comparing waste habits of new UW students with those who have been here for a few years. This will allow us to start examining whether UW is doing a good job of encouraging/teaching its student to compost and recycle more. Once winter sorting is complete, a survey will be carried out during spring quarter to complement sorting data by allowing us compare how user knowledge, background, and perceptions might be affecting sorting outcomes. This two-phase project will be spearheaded by our own Megan Rue, a UW undergrad, and will be conducted in collaboration with our partners at UW Recycling and UW Housing and Food Services.
Second, we're developing a summer course to be offered through UW Summer Youth Programs. The course will be designed as a two-week, half-day course for middle school-aged students, and online registration for this course is now open. When we have it all together, the course will be a fun mix of classroom work, field trips, and hands-on learning which will engage students in a broad range of topics related to garbology.
Third, we're teaming with WOOF to put together a presentation for the Pacific Science Center's "Paws-On Science" event on Saturday, April 5th. See you there!
Winter and Spring 2014 Results
Winter 2014 McMahon Hall Waste Audit Report
Note: We had intended to publish three reports in this space. The first was to detail results of waste auditing in McMahon Hall, a UW dormitory. The second was to detail results of an online questionnaire designed to survey McMahon residents about their perceptions of waste and their waste-disposal habits. The third was to compare the first two and offer synthesis and analysis. Unfortunately, the survey garnered an insufficient number of responses, so the second and third reports are not available at present. We'll be gathering more survey data this fall, and we'll publish the second and third reports sometime around the end of 2014.
Winter and Spring 2014 Outreach Materials
Online registration for UWGP's summer quarter course through UW Summer Youth Programs.
Photos from the Paws-On Science event at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle
Megan's poster (presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists)
Summer and Fall 2013
This summer and fall we're throttling back a bit for a much-needed break as Jack temporarily pivots back to more traditional archaeological fieldwork and UWGP volunteers recharge a bit after their spring efforts. Jack will be excavating all summer and will be working in Chile for much of the fall, and waste sorting won't take place while he's away.
That's not to say we're totally sitting idle, however, as we still have a few pans on the fire. For example, we've hired Aaron Tam as our new outreach coordinator to begin working on disseminating the results of The Denny Project to UW administrators and students. He's been working at UW Recycling, and some examples of his work are linked at right. We're also continuing to work with UW CAP and WOOF folks to further develop our ongoing collaborative projects (for details, see the description of our Spring 2013 work provided below). Lastly, later this summer we'll be working to help Megan develop her proposed project (detailed in our Spring 2013 results) to compare waste produced in UW dorms with dorm residents' perceptions of the waste they produce, with the hope that Megan will be able to conduct this project in connection with her McNair Scholar status (congratulations, Megan!) during winter quarter 2014.
Example Outreach Materials
These .pdfs were produced by the efforts of Aaron Tam, UWGP's Student Outreach Coordinator, as part of his work with UW Recycling.
Poster Presented at UW Sustainability Summit
Student Recycling Guide
UW Recycling Presentation
This quarter we'll be conducting a couple of major projects on campus. The first and most significant is an in-depth analysis of Denny Hall's trash, and we'll be using this analysis as a means of calculating the fiscal and environmental benefits of a couple of UW Recycling's new waste management strategies. In the process, we're going to start collecting some other data to help lay the foundation for potential future projects. Trash sorts will take place most Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 to around 6:00 from April 8th to June 10th. The second project -- a collaboration with the folks at UW ESS -- is a pilot effort in the Husky Den (in the Husky Union Building, or HUB) aimed at measuring the relative effectiveness of different types of signs on waste bins. Essentially, we've got 4 different types of signs in the Husky Den, and we're going to monitor whether any type(s) yield(s) better diversion rates than others.
We've also got a few minor projects simmering this quarter. The first is being carried out by student volunteers, who are currently writing blog entries discussing their thoughts and experiences working with campus waste. Two UWGP students -- Megan and Sharon -- are also working on independent projects related to UWGP's core work. Sharon's ongoing project can be found here, and Megan's will be posted at right when it is complete. We are also building a collaboration with WOOF to recapture and reuse biodegradable plastics discarded on campus. Additionally, archaeologist Beth Bollwerk, a recent and welcome addition to our team, is undertaking additional GIS mapping work of campus waste, and we hope to use this work as a basis for future sampling and analysis. Lastly, we're also trying to set up a first-ever meet-and-greet between our students and Cascadia Consulting (a local environmental consulting firm) as a means of getting our students plugged into real-world perspectives and opportunities in waste studies. Busy busy!
Spring 2013 Results
Our Denny Project final report, submitted to UW Recycling.
Our Husky Den final report, submitted to UW Recycling and UW ESS.
UW Recycling's summary of the 2013 UW Trash-In.
A flyer for Cascadia Consulting Group's presentation at FAALS (Friday Afternoon Archaeology Lecture Series) on May 31st at 3:30 PM in room 401 Denny Hall.
Spring 2013 Student Projects
Our volunteers' blogs detailing their experiences while examining UW's waste issues. (Starting April 2013; ongoing until June).
Aaron Calzado's Throw It Back! video, produced for Aaron's senior capstone project after meeting with UWGP and UW Recycling.
Megan Rue's proposal to study the connection between waste and perceptions of wastefulness.
Objectives: This quarter we're taking a step back from active trash sorting so that we can get re-organized and ready for another, bigger push this spring. If we get funding from the CSF (see the application we submitted in the fall), our sorting and analysis efforts will begin again in late March or early April.
In the meantime, we're still working very hard on other things. Specifically, our efforts this quarter are being directed towards 1) presenting our past results to the broader community and 2) helping to foster similar student projects at UW and elsewhere. As such, our time has been filled by events, meetings, and collaboratiion with a number of other organizations and student projects on campus and beyond. For example, this quarter we've been actively engaged with members of the UW Climate Action Plan, two courses in the UW Program on the Environment, various UW Anthropology courses, a student project to perform a waste audit at UW's basketball arena, a course at UW Bothell, a new garbology project at Shoreline Community College, and a series of events staged by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Also, Megan and Amy are currently preparing an application to present at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium in mid-May, and Jack will be speaking at the Northwest Anthropological Association's annual meeting in Portland in late March. We're keeping an active calendar of these projects and events so that you can track our activities if you're interested. Links to various events and projects with which we're involved in one capacity or another are also given at right.
Winter 2013 Outreach Events
UWGP at the Burke's "Archaeology Day" event, situated within the museum's gorgeous "Plastics Unwrapped" exhibit.
UWGP at the Burke's "Short Takes on Plastics" event. (There was supposed to be online video available for this event, but technical difficulties ruined the audio for Jack's talk, so no online video was published.)
Connected Projects (UWGP helped initiate, advise, and consultant on these efforts):
Results of the Alaska Airlines Arena waste audit organized by UW student Laura Lee Dootson.
"Geo Mapping of Compost Bins on UW Campus." This document provides a prospectus of a research project put together by ENVIR 480 students Terra Miller-Cassman, Gillian Kenagy, Shannon Cloud, and Byron Wenning. A short memo detailing their products and conclusions can be found here. Their map of campus bin locations can be found here. This map will be updated with more data moving forward, and will be a valuable resource for future UWGP (and others') efforts.
Other winter 2013 ENVIR 480 projects can be accessed here; this class was focused on waste issues and sustainability, and the linked page includes the blog, results, and conclusions put together by the entire class.
Objectives: Our objectives this fall are to dig a little deeper into the summer's theme, while laying a foundation for the coming year with additional pilot studies and funding applications. We'll 1) continue our sorting of kiosk trash, this time incorporating an analysis of kiosk compost and recycling bins as well, 2) identify significant sources of on-campus trash (especially compost and recyclables which end up in the landfill waste), 3) map the location of all compost bins on campus, and 4) write a proposal for grant money from the UW Campus Sustainability Fund. This will allow us to (respectively) 1) measure how much waste kiosks are diverting from landfills as well as the degree to which kiosk compost and recycling is contaminated, 2) target specific vendors for future advocacy and advertisement efforts, 3) identify areas on campus where compost bins are most needed, and 4) obtain some funding to support a push to address the needs highlighted by points 2 and 3 above. In the long run, this money (if we get it) will also help us to measure how well we've met these needs.
Autumn 2012 Group Results
The objectives at left kept us very busy this fall. We successfully completed most of them (#s 1, 2, and 4). Others (#3) were simply too big to complete given our team members' schedules and availability this quarter, but helped lay the groundwork for future efforts. Still, we managed to get quite a bit accomplished, and the fruits of our labor are linked below. They include our group's CSF proposal, our Fall 2012 Sorting Results and Analysis, and individual projects (posters, a mock Garbology class syllabus, and 2 mock proposals) produced by undergraduate volunteers Nate, Amy, and Megan. Enjoy.
Our Letter of Intent submitted to the UW CSF (This is just the body of the LOI, and doesn't include any formal headings or the like.)
Our full CSF proposal to support our spring project (fully funded by the UW Campus Sustainability Fund).
Fall 2012 Sorting Results and Analysis (v. 1.1)
Autumn 2012 Undergraduate Participants' Work
Objectives: 1) To launch the project. 2) To document how well the new solar-powered kiosks in Red Square isolate compost and recyclables from landfill waste compared to other outdoor trash cans in the area. Project details and results are presented in the final report (revised version) linked at right; this report was submitted to Emily Newcomer, UWFS Recycling Operations Manager.
Summer 2012 Results
Our summer 2012 final report detailing initial project aims, methods, and results. This report was submitted to UW Recycling.
Summer 2012 Student Volunteers' Ideas
Included here are a few of the small projects produced by students during our initial season. These projects were completed on an optional basis and were submitted for credit by students enrolled in UW Archaeology 205.