Courses / 2014 Fall / Drop It Like It's Hot (Travis Croom - Zeyu Wen - Will Rathman - Johana Guerra)

Drop it like its hot…

IES Drop Box Implementation

Semester Fall 2014
Group Members: Travis Croom, Zeyu Wen, Will Rathman, Johana Guerra


- Educational Video

- Box

Initial Idea from Spring 2014:

1. What is the action

This action implements a physical drop box in the IES building for the purpose of sustainable use and reuse of various items. The purpose of this drop box is to eliminate unnecessary waste and reduce the consumption of resources by IES students (both present and future). During a study abroad experience students acquire many items that are only useful in the abroad setting. With this drop box, we are hoping to avoid the disposal of these useful items upon each students departure. This drop box will be advertised via a video and it will be located in the building where students can freely deposit relevant items at their convenience. At the end of the semester the collected items will be stored at IES until new students arrive, at which point these items will be available for their use.

Useful items for the drop box include: Books, city maps, metro maps, unused notebooks, pens, pencils, cell phones, computer adapters, cell phone chargers/adapters, etc. and even unwanted clothing.

1.1. Why this action makes things more sustainable

This action is improving the sustainablility of IES Abroad Barcelona for a few key reasons. First of all, the way in which this action is designed does not require the use of any new materials. We have adopted a waste=food approach for the drop box. We will use a cardboard box that would otherwise be thrown out to store the donated items. In addition, this action improves the eco-efficiency of IES. Due to the fact that the drop box cannot address the raw material use and manufacturing practices of the companies who produce the wanted objects, there is no way to increase eco-effectiveness. However, by reducing the amount of waste we can stop the material flow system and avoid the downcycling of these useful products. This action simultaneously reduces waste and reduces consumption, which inevitably increases the eco-efficiency. Also this action, if carried out completely, will act as a closed feedback loop. Usable items will be placed in the box and at the end of each semester items will be returned or donated. Ideally the number of items in the box will increase over time so more students can benefit from the drop box and even more waste can be avoided.

1.2. "Cradle to Cradle" Design

As mentioned previously, this action has all of the elements of a "cradle to cradle" design. We will use a cardboard box for the collection of donated items and these items, which might have ended up as waste, will be utilized by future IES students (Reuse). Since we will be offering future students with useful items we will cut down on both consumption of new items and waste of old items (Reduce). Also, as part of our action implementation the paper used for fliers will be recycled or reused, depending on the condition of the flyer, upon completion of the item collection (Recycle). In addition to these aspects, we must address the possibility of donated items becoming outdated or useless. The paper products such as books and maps must be correctly recycled in a recycling bin. However, many of these donated items will be electronics such as cell phones, computer chargers, adapters, etc. These items cannot simply be thrown away in any garbage can. Once electronic items become useless they must be disposed of in the correct manner according to the eCycling document below. In addition, there is a second link provided that explains the Barcelona trash and recycling disposal system. This link can be used to decide which type of trash bin is appropriate for different types of materials. This also applies to clothing that students do not wish to take home. This is common for returning students to not want to pack more than what they arrived with and therefore want to leave behind clothes they have overused too much. As opposed to disposing them incorrectly, they can be donated and reused by those in need of these articles of clothing.

Barcelona trash and recycling

1.3. Similar actions from previous semesters

Looking back to previous semesters we found a couple similar actions to this drop box action. These actions were Electronics Recycling Program/Electronics Buy Back Program and Recycling Used Electronics. These designed actions have a very similar idea however the main difference is that they only have one focus. These actions focus solely on the recycling of electronic devices and adapters, but they do not incorporate the recycling of other useful items such as books, maps, school supplies, etc. It does not require more space to gather these additional items and they can be very useful to future IES students. Our action basically takes the same idea as the electronic recycling actions and adds other items that can be recycled.

Electronics Recycling Program
Electronics Buy Back Program
Recycling Used Electronics

1.3.1. Why this or a similar action didn't succeed in previous semesters

The common problem with all of these actions is that the students who begin the implementation in one semester are not present to finish the other half of the action during the next semester. The only way to correctly eliminate this problem would be to find a professor or other IES staff member who would be willing to initiate the second phase of the action. The only thing this person would need to do would be to put up fliers to inform new IES students of the items available for their use. This way the new students would be able to take advantage of the donated items and hopefully donate more items at the end of their own semester. __In order for this process to work efficiently, the actions executed by the current year students must be streamlined to the following semester. Getting the project up and running this semester would have a lasting effect as students and staff members would see the positive impact that these actions would produce. There are various times at the beginning of each semester where all of the students are gathered together. These times could be opportunities where a teacher or staff member presents a concise power point featuring our video as the finale to outline the current benefits of the project and its future goals. These actions were not taken in previous semesters.
Also, the dropbox has its limitations because it could definitely not work for organic matter recycling. The reason is that the IES staff have a sentiment against having students bring in food into the building to decompose. Then again, the project could fail anyways if student and staff are not well informed about the project. __

2. Implementation:

2.1. The Action

The implementation phase of the action will take at least a semester. The first step in implementation is awareness. We believe that in order to have a successful drop-box that is actually used in IES-- flyers and other posters need to be put up so that students, faculty and staff alike can help improve the eco-efficiency of IES. Aside from just the advertising factor, IES needs to become aware of what goes in the drop-box. It will not be used as a trash can or for compost, but rather for goods that we purchase specifically for Europe-- that we will not need when we return home to the States. For example, lets say a student buys a European charger and at the end of the semester, plans to just throw it away in the trash. Well, that is a waste of time, energy, and resources. Now, IES students can pull from our implemented action and waste no time, money, or energy! To increase the awareness of IES students, our group made a video and posted it to youtube. Ideally, this video could be shown to next semester IES students on their first day in the program. The link to the video is posted below.

2.2. Troubleshooting

The previous semesters designed drop box action was far too specific for IES students to take part in. They wanted students, faculty, and staff to make sure that every electronic, adapter, etc. was in working condition and to make sure all information necessary was on the device put in the drop box. Realistically, this is not a good way of going about implementing this action because you can not have 24/7 drop box surveillance on the IES first floor. As a solution, you can advertise "Please only put working devices in the drop-box," students, faculty, and staff are old enough to know and respect what we are trying to do for our community. Another previously implemented action that has an easy solution is the price. Previously, the drop-box was meant to be a bin that was purchased. However, since we are trying to be sustainable and eco-efficient-- instead of going out and purchasing a bin, we thought that we would use a recyclable cardboard box and freshen it up a bit, and that it would work just as well as a bin you can buy at a store for money. Another problem inherent in the system is that flyers and posters are an unsustainable and wasteful process if they need to be reprinted year after year. In the actual implementation of the project we plan to incorporate a short video offering information about the drop box which can be retained in a common place for IES administration to either post on the IES Facebook page at the beginning of each semester or to be shown at the Orientation/Welcome party at the beginning of each semester. This way there will be information available to students from the very beginning about the Dropbox and students will have the whole semester to think about what they can put in the dropbox. We avoided unnecessary waste of paper by making a video to advertise our project. This allows us to not use paper to convey our project but rather have students watch the video that we made to make them more aware

2.3. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

The question of how this plan of action will be sustained after our tenure in Barcelona is over is a simple question. We will enlist the help of a member of the IES staff to look over the drop box and make sure that everything is running smoothly. The action is self sustainable and that’s is the best part of this implementation. As long as a member of the staff lets the incoming students know what the purpose and function of the drop box is than students will be able to take and bring back what they need. At the end of the semester students should have plenty of “European only” waste that the drop box will be restocked and replenished in anticipation of the new students. A problem we saw with this approach was that it takes a lot of effort for one person to get all the IES students together and then to actually educate them about the Dropbox so we saw it as more likely that a person would be motivated to educate IES students if they just had to post a link to a video. So we plan to make a video that provides the education on the dropbox which can be easily distributed through either Facebook or Email. As for the clothing, one volunteer can take these pieces to contenedor HUMANA on Ronda Universitat, 19, which is about a five minute walk from IES. This store is known to accept clothing donations and it is convenient for the volunteer to leave them there because of its close proximity. We recruited the help of Pilar Gracia, an IES employee, to monitor and supervise our box after we leave Barcelona. The pledge of this full-time IES employee will ensure that our project will be sustained for future IES students next semester

3. Bibliography

"A Container for Each Thing | Management of Waste | Cleaning and Management of Waste | Environmental Vectors | Environment | Barcelona City Council." A Container for Each Thing | Management of Waste | Cleaning and Management of Waste | Environmental Vectors | Environment | Barcelona City Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

"ECycling, Common Wastes & Materials." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

4. Other Refrences

How to make a recycling bin

"How to Make a Recycling Bin out of Soda Boxes (and Particle Board)." Instructables.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

Should be cost free to build the drop box by using materials that are going to thrown away regardless.

5. Annexes

5.1. Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge those teams from previous years that have already developed some of the ideas and highlighted the strengths & weaknesses of those ideas. The groups mentioned above under heading 1.3 have compiled information that helped us to fully formulate our action.

5.2. Students involved in this action

Alex Sharrin, Matt Vine, Ben Breiner

There wasn't a point during the process where we assigned a "leader" of the group. We met together and compiled ideas/suggestions in order to make the best possible action.

Feedback from your class mates through the Peer-Review Assignment
Items found: 8
ReviewerThings to keepThings to improve
awildsI really like how the video has a comical side to it. It makes it more interesting and I felt more inclined to pay attention and actually listen to what you guys were trying to inform us about. I also think that it would be a great idea to put it in the orientation or some other orientation like setting so all students can see it. Maybe along with some other clips of other sustainable things students can do around IES? Great job! I would try adding some incentive for students to want to give their things to the box. Maybe, IES could provide them with a small dollar payment for their things which they can in return gain back but renting things such as electronics and straighteners out to students in the next semester for a small fee. I also think that it might be good to briefly explain in the video how by recycling our clothes and electronics, maps, etc. is helping to create a more sustainable environment. Students may be more inclined to contribute at the end of the semester if they feel that they are contributing to something larger.
carpenterneI think the idea was good. You should keep the video, I think it is smart and the addition of HUMANA is a very good and creative addition to the project.In terms of things to improve, I definitely think you should have other social media outlets to inform IES students beyond just at the beginning of the year. It will be at the end of the year when they are wanting to drop their stuff off and will not remember a video from 3 months prior. I am also wondering if you should find other stores that would be willing to receive the products that HUMANA may not take.
defneThe video is great. I also thing reducing reliance on paper flyers, and relying on the IES facebook page and welcome sessions instead is a great idea. Also, I like the idea of taking old clothing to HUMANA nearby. I saw the box in the room, and I think a more decorative box or posters near by explaining what it does would attract more attention to the box. This would make it more likely for students to remember to bring their items in to leave in the box, but also would make new students more inclined to retrieve items from the box. Also, will there be a filtering system to ensure items that people won't want. (broken/ excessively dirty / trash) aren't in the box. These items may deter students from using the box.
hgeorge33I would say that the overall plan proves incredibly beneficial, logical, and most of all sustainable. Having a short yet informative video regarding the purpose of the box is a great solution to the dilemma of new students not knowing about it's potential existence and thus usages. Playing it for incoming classes proves valuable not only because students can primarily visit the box upon arriving in Spain and avoid having to purchase certain items, but can also take comfort in knowing that when their stay is over, a place remains for their unwanted goods. I know that there are certain things I have acquired during my stay that I know I will not want to take back with me to the states, however simultaneously am unsure of what to do with them. Some things are perhaps appropriate to simply leave behind with my host family, but others would seem more of a burden for them. Plus, for students living in apartments or with families unsure of if they will host students in the future, leaving behind items most commonly means throwing them in the trash. Knowledge of the drop box from the very beginning of one's stay saves money in both the short and long term, as well as helps in making important decisions about other purchases throughout one's study abroad experience. For example, I may want to buy a big comforter in November, however avoid doing so because I wouldn't know what to do with it after. The drop box provides an answer to this, and with money I perhaps saved on (say) a re-usuable phone I previously found in the box, I can now spend on this purchase. Similarly, I found it very smart that there is also a near by place to take items that go unused for extended amounts of time in the box. While I like the idea of using a cardboard box due to the recyclable aspect of it, one might worry that with time it could become damaged, beat up, etc. This would therefore require more upkeep from students and/or staff during future semesters, and is thus less reliable. Perhaps using a recyclable plastic bin, or laminating the box might improve its sturdiness? Also, without a direct commitment from particular staff members to watch over the quality of the box from semester to semester, much of its effectiveness relies on trust alone. I agree that at this age, people should be able to be held accountable for not using it as a trash bin, etc. Especially considering that it exists for our individual benefit, there should be incentive enough for students to remain respectful. However, unfortunately sometimes people still take advantage of such things, so having some sort of implementation system might prove valuable. Maybe students in certain classes could be offered extra credit, printing money, IES vacation points, etc. for taking part in monitoring the box? Such tasks might include verifying objects before they are put in to ensure they are viable/appropriate, making sure distribution of unwanted items remains fair (i.e. no one person takes everything in the box at once!:0), and taking long term, unclaimed articles to the proper places for disposal.
kweinst3I think that replacing a purchased bin with a cardboard box is a great idea and is much more practical. The overall concept of collecting IES students' belongings that they will no longer use after leaving Europe is also a great way for future IES students to save money and current IES students to have less to cart back home with them. I also like the idea of using a video instead of flyers, since this does not waste resources.Rather than emphasize the drop box when students first arrive in Spain, where they are bombarded with various information about tons of different things, it would be better to remind people of the option to leave items in the drop box towards the end of the semester. This is when students are thinking about packing up their rooms and getting rid of the things that they don't need. Also, there should be some sort of plan in place to notify future IES students that they will have these items available to them upon arrival from the generosity of past IES students. Otherwise, future students will unknowingly purchase their own travel items and the entire action plan will be inefficient.
pbarnabyThe video to be shown on the first days of being here, having a kind of faculty supervisor for the box, recyclable boxMaybe have staff that checks apartments offer to pick up anything students would be willing to give to the box, explain more why students should be using the box instead of just throwing things away
potepaloI think you guys did a really great job in addressing the potential problems that could arise when trying to implement this throughout the years at IES. I think its a simple but very useful idea that could be implemented rather easily. I agree that this should definetly be a concept that should be introduced at orientation so that students know of it from the beginning. Really good job with formatting.Not sure if there will be just one box filled with all these various items or a way to organize all of this. Also going on the Squat field trip made me think that maybe this could also be used as a means of exchange - drop something, take something (the room that they had). Not sure where the box would be placed either. Seeing how the other group did a SWOT analysis I think you guys could implement one into yours as well to make the proposal more clear.
rushapI love the title of your project, I think that its relevance will attract students to participate. Also, I know that when I arrived I would have loved to be able to snoop around in a bin of exclusively abroad relative products. This would have most likely saved me some money in buying things that I will only find useful here. Further, the video was great! I think it was a clever way to attract students to your project.However, as cool as this project is it seems like it still requires a lot of organizational components before it is plausible throughout IES. Who will be in charge of sifting through all the donated items and getting rid of the trash? Who decides what is useful and what is trash? When is the video shown and who will be in charge of keeping up with it? Will you wait and see if a teacher volunteers to help your project or do you have someone in mind that you think would be interested? I think yall have a good outer shell for your project but a lot of the details that will make it successful are still missing.

Page last modified on Sunday 14 of December, 2014 19:43:36