Courses / 2014 Fall / Reusable Water Bottle and Recycling Bin Decoder (Lizzy Cingari - Zhana Welch - Peter Barnaby - Defne Gun - Sophia Potepalov)

Reusable Water Bottles + Recycling Bin Decoder

Reusable Water Bottles + Spring 2014


This action aims to promote sustainability by providing students with the option of obtaining a reusable water bottle. Additionally, students will be educated about the importance of sustainability and how to properly dispose of various types of waste.
-- Ensure that students have access to environmentally friendly water bottles.
-- Create a decoder for recycling bins and post in IES common areas.

1. What Is the Action?

The first part of our action is to include a reusable water bottle on the IES packing list. Additionally, the packing list will include an explanation as to why a water bottle is especially needed in Barcelona. Additionally, we have worked with IES to have them provide a reusable water bottle to all students who desire one upon arrival.
The second part is to actively educate students of the importance of sustainability. As part of our project, we will provide students with information specific to sustainability such as quick facts regarding resource use and recycling. If students are educated further on why their actions are important and how they can contribute, they will certainly be more willing to carry them out. We will make students aware of which bins are for which kinds of waste, and the importance of disposing of them in the correct way.
Overall, we wish to use the simple action of administering reusable water bottles as a catalyst for further sustainable behavior in IES students. By educating students about sustainability, we wish to encourage them to use this knowledge in their every day lives to make our world a better place.

1.1. Similar actions from previous semesters

In previous years, students have created similar action plans to try and implement the use of reusable water bottles for IES students. Although they’ve all seemed practical and doable, unfortunately none of them have actually been put to use. By simply checking or unchecking a box in order to receive or not receive a reusable water bottle for a small fee provided for IES students by program, we believe many more students will choose to get a reusable water bottle. This will decrease the amount of money students are spending on water bottles on a daily basis, as well as reduce waste in Barcelona.

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

One of the main problems we have identified in previous groups' attempts to complete this action is communicating with IES administration. While it is likely that the administration supports this action, it is necessary to be persistent with its follow-through, which previous groups did not do. Similarly, we do not believe that enough awareness of the topic was raised amongst IES students. This is a prevalent issue that deserves some publicity which previous groups did not have.

Provided are some similar actions from previous semesters:

1.2 SWOT Analysis

- Students save money by not purchasing water
- Less plastic waste
- Recycling leads to less air pollutants
- Students know to bring own water bottle from home if they already have one, so they aren't consuming extra resources
- IES has a digital copy of the poster, so they can reprint/update as needed

- Reusable water bottles may contain harmful carcinogens
- Students may not use the water bottles even if they have them
- Students may not read the decoder poster

- Students can learn more about how they personally impact the environment
- Students can spend the money they would have spent on non-reusable water bottles on more useful items
- Potential to start a trend throughout other educational programs

- IES may not see the benefits in our actions and choose not to help
- Students may overlook the benefit of reusable water bottles and choose to consume other beverages that do not come in sustainable containers such as coffee, soft drinks etc.

1.3 Feedback loops

1.4 Advertising

Students will be sent the usual IES packing list in the mail and via email that will have a reusable water bottle included on it. Furthermore, IES social media students will promote the purchase of the water bottle and the importance of having one on Facebook group, which most IES students are members of.
Also, since the purchase of the water bottle, will be included in the registration process, all students will see it while signing up for other things.

2. Why does this action make things more sustainable?

By implementing this action, IES students will become more aware of the importance of sustainability. Countless numbers of plastic water bottles are thrown out daily because students do not have the option of obtaining a suitable reusable water bottle. Additionally, some students do not even put their plastic water bottles in the recycling bin; they simply throw them into the garbage. In Spain, recycling has improved from 10% in 2001 to 33% in 2010. However, this is still a relatively low number. By providing a reusable water bottle, this option of waste is eliminated. Additionally, saving money as an incentive will persuade more students to opt out of buying a new plastic water bottle each day. Although buying a water bottle is relatively inexpensive, buying a new one each day adds up to a large amount of money. By providing a water bottle to the students, students can spend this money elsewhere.

2.1 Potential costs

Water bottles cost 14-16 Euros per student. However, this will be added to each student's bill and will not cost IES.

3. How will you implement it?

The implementation of our action is only possible with help and support from IES administration and students. We have outlined various steps in achieving this goal.

3.1. Prototype

"Greenybottle: Lapis - 750ml." Greenyway Shop: Lapis. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <http://www.greenyway.com/en/catalog/detail/GW-B029/>.

3.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design

The bottles that we have in mind to use in our action would be made of safe, recyclable, and durable materials. Our action hits the the three R's of recycling and will promote cradle to cradle sustainability all the while providing the students of IES with a cheaper alternative to disposable water bottles. With our action, people will reduce the amount of waste they have by cutting out the use of disposable water bottles, reuse their water bottle during their stay in Barcelona and perhaps later on, and recycle since once students opt to get a new bottle or whenever they want to throw their bottle away, they can recycle the bottle (since it will be made of either BPA free plastic or metal) which can then be used for alternative applications. This process, along with information about a cradle-to-cradle design will help students understand the necessity of having sustainable systems and save energy and resources in the process.

3.3 Flyers

We will hang flyers around the IES building to promote the use of proper recycling.

3.4 Incentives

When presented the option to be given a water bottle upon arrival, students can save both luggage space (unless they decide to bring their own) and money they would have spent on plastic water bottles. This also serves as a little piece of IES to bring back home after the program.

3.5 Relationship with the other initiatives being implemented

If students do not wish to buy a water bottle through IES they will be encouraged to bring one on their own as it is in the packing list. Furthermore, since they are reminded twice of the importance of a reusable water bottle, it will be more present in their minds encouraging sustainability.

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

Since this action can be built into the framework of IES, it will self-perpetuate itself. If the water bottle clause stays in the IES application, then the bottle service can be continued year to year without having someone oversee it. To make sure that it is sustained while we are gone, we will provide detailed instructions to IES to ensure that it is being carried out correctly while we are gone. Furthermore, the water bottle will remain on the packing list unless the IES takes it off, so each year students will be told to bring a reusable water bottle.
Defne has corresponded with Betsey Tufano of IES, who will be the IES staff member that will get reusable water bottles added to the IES packing list. She additionally has agreed to help to obtain the water bottles for students arriving in the Spring.

3.7 Comparison to similar actions from previous semesters

As mentioned previously, there have been problems completing this action amongst groups who have intended to. One of the main problems we see is that previous groups have not been aggressive enough in communicating the idea to IES administration. They also failed to raise awareness amongst their fellow classmates and friends.

  • Problem 1: Low upkeep of implementation of past groups
    Solution 1: Provide strict guidelines for IES faculty to follow
  • Problem 2: Little to no publicity of the issue to IES students
    Solution 2: Post flyers around IES and provide them to friends and classmates
  • Problem 3: Few clear instructions on how to successfully implement action in the future
    Solution 3: Provide students in years to come with useful steps and advice for implementation if it has not been implemented by the time we leave

4. Time sheet/ Chronogram

4.1 Who will do what?

Elizabeth and Zhana will organize the information.
Defne will work with IES administration to identify a BPA free reusable water bottle, calculate estimated costs, and include a reusable water bottle on the packing list.

4.2. What has to be done this semester?

In order to carry out this action there will need to be cooperation with Cesar and the IES administration. If they approve of this action, we can help them purchase bottles and set up a process for students to receive the bottles if they desire. We will also create a sustainability fact sheet that will help students be mindful of sustainable practices and what impact their actions may have on the environment. These fact sheets will be included with all water bottles that are purchased through IES.
The implementation of our action is only possible with help and support from IES administration and students. We have outlined various steps in achieving this goal.
1. Propose idea to Cesar and other members of IES faculty
2. Provide them with statistics that show why this action would be beneficial
3. Encourage our classmates to consider the idea
4. Spread our message more publicly by putting up fliers around IES with sustainability facts and reminders to conserve water and other resources
5. Gather support from classmates through surveys, polls, sign-up sheets, etc.
6. Follow up with IES faculty if immediate results do not occur

4.3 What needs to be done to repeat the action in the future?

In order to repeat we need to get the idea approved and implement the choice water bottle into the tuition for IES.

5. Document Format

The blog is part of a free and open source software which enables students to change the information when necessary. The poster we created was made in a word document and can also be accessed for future editing purpose.

6. Bibliography

"Environment in the EU27." In 2011, 40% of Treated Municipal Waste Was Recycled or Composted, up from 27% in 2001. Google., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. <http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:7oeYMs9nvz8J:epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/8-04032013-BP/EN/8-04032013-BP-EN.PDF+recycling+statistics+in+spain&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=es&client=safari>.

"The Facts About Bisphenol A, BPA." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/children/environmental-exposure-head2toe/bpa>.

"Think Reusable Bottles, Forget Plastic Bottled Water." Ban the Bottle RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. <http://www.banthebottle.net/articles/think-reusable-bottles-forget-plastic-bottled-water/>.

7. Other References

"Greenybottle: Lapis - 750ml." Greenyway Shop: Lapis. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <http://www.greenyway.com/en/catalog/detail/GW-B029/>.

8. Annexes

This flyer is to be handed out in IES. We also gave this flyer to several of our friends this past weekend.

8.1. Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the previous IES students who thought of this action in the first place.

8.2. Students involved in this action

Our group contributed to the project.

Students that contributed to the project

Elizabeth Cingari, Zhana Welch, Peter Barnaby, Defne Gun, Sophia Potepalov

Feedback from your class mates through the Peer-Review Assignment
Items found: 6
ReviewerThings to keepThings to improve
awildsI like the idea to put it on the packing list along with explaining the importance, I know I wish I had packed a water bottle especially in those first couple of days in Barcelona when I didn't have fun. I like how it is a two for one deal where students are becoming more than just more sustainable by using reusable water bottles but also learning about the importance of being sustainable and different action they can do to get involved.Maybe on the forms that you fill out on the IES website you could have a check box option for those who wish to purchase and IES Barcelona water bottle that they will receive upon arrival. Or, if financially feasible, present everyone with a water bottle with sustainability facts inside upon arrival. Also, as an added feature, if possible, the waterbottles themselves could have some sustainability facts on them or something about the importance or impact of reusing bottles.
carpenterneI think that it was a very well done project. I definitely think it is sustainable. It is something I believe students will use and will help to lessen the amount of water bottles bought. I think making it easy by being able to check yes/no is smart and was definitely a good add.In terms of something to improve on, I think your marketing of the idea could be improved. I know most students will walk past posters and never read them so maybe utilizing social media a little more to promote the water bottle would be more helpful in informing the student body. Other than this I think it was a very solid idea!
hgeorge33I think that besides the obvious benefits of supplying and using re-usable water bottles, the education part is similarly very clever. While obviously most people understand the concept that recycling is good, waste is bad, etc. etc., having the initial knowledge of how you will be contributing to sustainability and helping our the environment serves as a greater incentive for each person to individually do their part. Also, including a water bottle on the student packing list also proves valuable considering that was certainly something I did not consider upon departing for Spain. Coming from America, where reusable water bottles are pretty common, it was somewhat of a culture shock to realize that the same was not necessarily true here. While having the option to purchase one from IES will also be convenient, avoiding this cost all together by initially bringing one's own seems most logical. The only difficult thing that I would say hinders the convenience of carrying re-usable water bottles is the fact that, in Spain, water is not freely given out at restaurants but instead only given out as a separate, paid commodity to customers. However, informing students before and/or upon arrival that IES is one of the few places that has drinking fountains (i.e. limitless free water) would be a good idea so kids can remember to refill when on campus.I would say that the most important thing to improve would just be the implementation of the plan. Ideally, personalized water bottles for every ies students sounds like a good idea, but where will this funds come from? What would happen if a student loses their water bottle and must replace it? These are simple questions with presumably simple answers, however they still require coordination among students and staff in order to be put into practice. Furthermore, perhaps a good incentive that could be placed on future posters might be calculations of how much a student might be estimated to save on water bottle purchases throughout the course of a semester given they switch to carrying a re-usable one. For example, "by paying x amount of $ for a water bottle now, you save x amount of $ all together during your time abroad". (this would presumably be taken from calculating the average cost of a water bottle multiplied by the amount of days one is abroad). Similarly, the significance of this financial outcome could be further emphasized on posters representing the various things these savings could buy i.e. "this amounts to a rountrip flight to paris, tapas every night for a week, etc. etc.". Maybe being able to see/comprehend real life benefits of this sustainability would further motivate students to get on board.
jguerra0I personally think the action is responsible and overall a clear and concise way to demonstrate the importance of reducing the usage of plastic water bottles. I would keep your focus and goal unchanged, keep IES' involvement, the informational sheet provided with the bottle to the students and the poster that IES has.The price does seem on the high end only because when you think in terms of dollars, it is that much more expensive. If there were a cheaper alternative bottle that would be ideal. Also, perhaps it is best to wait until the students arrive to IES to learn about this bottle and then place and order of the number for those who wish to have one. Rather than ask beforehand where the students would still be at home when they are asked, they may not be as attentive towards the bottle until they arrive here. Another gray part is how to keep the action going after the group returns home. It is important to designate someone who is committed to take the bottle orders, place it, and help wherever they can. Otherwise, the lack of effort can create either a shortage or abundant order of bottles or the action can be delayed or stopped completely.
kweinst3I think that providing incoming IES students with reusable water bottles made from sustainable materials is a great idea. This item should also be included on the packing list sent to IES students. The amount of waste created in Barcelona from plastic water bottle usage alone is something that I notice every day and did not realize would be an issue I needed to plan for before arriving in Spain. Also, teaching students about the different garbage bins and what items belong in each bin would be extremely helpful.I think that the action plan should include a proposal to put more recycling bins throughout the IES Center and students should be shown where they are located throughout the building. It might also be better if every incoming student is automatically given an IES reusable water bottle, rather than giving students the option of buying one for an extra charge because this could deter students from using one. IES could raise tuition by an extra 5-10 euro to cover the costs.
rushapI think this is an excellent idea, and I wonder why it has not been implemented before now. The idea of making the students pay for it is a good one I think, because it 1) makes it more of a personal responsibility to use and keep up with your water bottle if you bought it and 2) allows IES to not loose money by buying water bottle and them not being take advantage of fully. I also think that yall helped the probability of success by identifying a water bottle in advance that is inexpensive and chemical free. This is just one responsibility left to IES administration that will increase the likeliness of the proposal getting implemented.To improve this plan I would only recommend organization. I think in order to get IES to implement the plan is to have all the hard work done for them. So how would students sign up to buy the bottle? When would they be distributed? Would the bottles be customized and who would be in charge or organizing that? I think your plan is very well thought out and organized, but I think in order to bring it to real life, every minute detail must be explained.

Page last modified on Sunday 14 of December, 2014 19:13:28