The goal for my action is to create a more sustainable environment by using a compost bin in my apartment in Barcelona. I live with 5 girls who have each individually agreed to take part in my action. I purchased a compost bin which we keep in our kitchen. At the end of the semester I hope to use the soil produced from the compost bin for our plants on our terrace. In addition have spoken with one of our neighbors who said she would love to have our compost bin when we leave in May which she will then continue using in her apartment.
1.2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?
This action improves Sustainability because it results in many positive elements for our environment.
1. Change in attitude: Composting has brought awareness to my roommates, myself, and our neighbors about how our environment is being affected by the waste that goes into landfills and the greenhouse gases that are contributing to the breakdown of our atmosphere. Although it was gross at times we knew it was for a good cause. I think as a result we have become more aware because instead of using bags at grocery stores we bring our own bags from home to use.
2. This action will help reduce dependency on chemical fertilizers, water, trash bags, and soil.
3. Eco Effectiveness: By re-thinking the way we use our waste by purchasing a compost bin we have contributed to Eco Effectiveness.
4. Long term: it will have long term effects on our environment by reducing the amount of chemicals used in soils that are harmful to our environment as well as decreasing the input of chemicals and waste products into landfills. It is expensive to maintain landfills and also a lot of energy comes into relocating the waste once the landfills are full.
1.2.1. SWOT Analysis
Strengths: reduces toxins, returns organic matter and nutrients to soil for reuse, inexpensive alternative to chemical fertilizers(reduces money spent on fertilizers), barely costs anything to compost except initial purchase of compost bin, volume of wastes transported to landfills is reduced, saves energy for transporting waste material, increased production of different crops, spreads awareness to roommates, using soil for plants on balcony of apartment, reduction of plastic garbage bags, reduces biodegradable wastes from landfills, reduces carbon emissions by re-using waste matter, helps maintain pH of soil so plants absorb nutrients slower which ultimately creates healthier crops, also helps improve structure, density and texture of soil which improves nutrient retention and helps prevent erosion, encourages production of micro-organisms (mainly bacteria and fungi) which break down organic matter, makes crops healthier for humans to eat.
Weaknesses: can smell, dirty, can attract pests/animals, easier and cleaner just to throw things away, takes up space, roommates may not agree to use at all times, takes up time and care, you can’t compost everything, can take a long time to produce enough soil for use.
Opportunity: economic opportunity, educes cost of soil, water and pesticides, garbage bags, improves vitamin and mineral content in food, EcoEuro system incentives, helps control soil erosion, contributes to eliminating global warming.
Threat: Apartment owners do not allow you to set composting bins in apartment or use soil for garden.
1.2.2. Feedback loops
Compost bin=increased nutrients in soil=increased nutrients in crops=healthier for human consumption=people should compost
Compost bin=eliminates waste sent to landfills=reduces space taken up by landfills=reduces amount of energy spent on landfills=improves environment=people should compost
Compost bin=decreases toxic substances entering air=increases air quality=improves human health=people should compost
Compost bin=decreases harmful and toxic wastes=decreases methane and other toxins released into landfills=improves global warming=people should compost
1.2.3. Potential Benefits
Potential benefits include: saves landfill space, saves energy for transporting waste material, creation of high quality fertilizer at a location where it can be used (again, saves energy), plastic garbage bags are reduced, reduces toxins, healthier for crops and environment, provides nutrient rich food, reduces production of methane which damages the Earth’s atmosphere
1.2.4. Potential Costs
Potential costs include the cost of a compost bin, students will need to be committed fully to purchasing, managing, and continuing out the action. It also can be time consuming when it comes to cleaning and emptying it out which we had to do pretty often.
Ideally this action will raise awareness and inspire students next semester who live in apartments to purchase a compost bin for their action.
1.3.1. "Cradle to Cradle" design
By composting we help to restore valuable nutrients and eliminate harmful toxins to our atmosphere and humans in general. We also reduce the waste entering landfills which will ultimately conserve natural resources and energy. Toxic pollutions can escape into the hair and end up in the water and air we breathe. Reducing landfill size not only creates more space for other uses but also minimizes the amount of energy required to eventually relocate the waste. Methane and other gases such as nitric oxide are released into landfills contributes not only to global warming problems but to poor air quality as well.
1.3.2. Questions for the unified survey
1. Would you consider composting in our apartment?
2. If answered yes, would you take the time to read about someone else’s experience composting in order to learn from their mistakes?
1.3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey
Question 1: 55% yes, 10% can’t because they live in home stay, 25% no, 5% yes if they were provided with resources necessary to do so.
Question 2: 50% yes, 50% no
It seems as though people would consider composting if they had their own apartment and were provided with the proper resources to do so. However, I’m not sure if people would be willing to take the time to bring their accumulated compost to IES or to a garden.
I would incorporate this question into the survey for next semester because I think its important otherwise it would be a waste to compost if you are not willing to complete the circle and use it in a beneficial way.
I think using the EcoEuro system would be an incentive to composting. Students could receive eco euros in exchange for donating their compost bin to IES. In addition, possibly giving a prize such as a gift card to the person who provides the most amount of compost at the end of the semester. This would cost money but would be beneficial in the long run because it would give students an incentive to compost.
1.3.5. Relationship with the "Sustainability Club" (SC)
A relationship with the sustainability club because of the Eco Euro system. The sustainbility club will provide the eco euros to those students who donate their compost to the IES garden.
1.3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?
I think composting is a simple action that students will definitely take part in next semester as a continued action. Although I have decided to donate my compost bin to a neighbor, other students may choose to donate their compost bin to the IES building or even using their soil in the garden on the terrace at IES. There is a slim chance that IES would accept a donated compost bin but students can find other organizations to donate their bins. Or they could keep them in their apartment for the next tenants.
1.3.7. Document format
The document format for my action page is html
1.3.8. Copyright license of your report
Attribution CC BY: I would choose this license because it allows others to copy, distribute, tweak and build upon my work as long as they give me credit for my original world. I chose to pick this license so that others can view my work and gain information about the benefits of composting on our environment. This will allow others to pass along information and hopefully inspire others to become aware and be proactive.
1.4. Time-sheet / Chronogram
January=students need to contact Agenda 21 or another organization in order to purchase a compost bin
Feburary/March/April=students need to put their waste in a compost bin for two months in order to accumulate as much soil as possible.
May=students need to use soil for a garden of their choice and then donate their compost bin to IES or another individual who agrees to carry out their action.
1.5. References & Links
Marc Lallanilla, Seven Great Reasons to Compost, http://greenliving.about.com/od/thegreenyard/tp/compost.htm
Why is composting good? http://www.ehow.com/facts_5297340_composting-good.html
Earth 911, Benefits of Using Compost, http://earth911.com/news/2007/04/02/benefits-of-using-compost
1.6. Students involved in this action
I was the “official” leader of this action, however my roommates Martha Tahsler, Megan Bernstein, Molly Burton, and Sam Betterly contributed their waste to the compost bin in our apartment.
Assignment 4: Peer review form
Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)