Courses / 2014b Fall / Sustainable Starter Kit (Sophia - Peter - Elizabeth)

Sophia Potepalov, Peter Barnaby, Elizabeth Cingari


1. What is the action

We aim to create a package that would be given to IES students at the beginning of the year and that would help them to live more sustainably while in Barcelona. This package includes a flyer and a brochure. The brochure gives the locations of various businesses around Barcelona which sell locally grown foods or produce their products here in Barcelona and other information on sustainability in Barcelona. It will also give the locations of businesses which practice business sustainably by using ecologically friendly materials and operating an environmentally safe business. This would be helpful for students because when students first arrive it takes a long time to find which businesses are sustainable and where to eat locally. This brochure gives students instant access to information on where to eat and shop sustainably. The flyer provides information to students on how to properly use the waste management bins that are placed on the streets for trash collection. Upon arrival, these bins can be extremely confusing since they are not like trash collection in America and information on the bins is in Spanish. The flyer gives information on what type of trash belongs in each bin and what type of trash does not. Distributing these flyers would encourage students to place their trash in the appropriate bin thus reducing wasted recyclable material. The contents of the starter kit would help students begin to live sustainably as soon as they arrive here in Barcelona. The kit would encourage students to support local businesses and farmers as well as increasing knowledge of the waste management system in the city.

1.1. Similar actions form previous semesters

Our actions are similar to actions from previous semesters because we all have the same goal in mind. We are all working towards a more sustainable world beginning within the IES community.

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

Analyzing the previous actions, many were not implemented early on and this is stressed in ours. To begin to have an impact in the lives of students the information needs to be presented from the beginning. We are also trying to make it as relevant to the lives of students as possible. Other actions also involved a lot of student participation and to maintain ours does not.

1.3. SWOT Analysis


  • Students will be be more informed
  • Students will be provided with useful resources
  • Less recyclable material wasted
  • More attention to local businesses
  • Students won't use as many plastic bags

  • Students may not change their habits
  • Students may just throw out flyers
  • Some students may not care about going to sustainable businesses
  • Students may not care enough to use the appropriate waste management bins

  • Making Barcelona a greener place
  • Encouraging more sustainable behavior
  • Relationships with local businesses
  • Students will bring this knowledge back with them to their home countries

  • Public transportation may be more convenient for people.
  • Not all housing provides all of the waste containers.
  • Many restaurants provide bottled water.
  • Drying machines are more convenient.

1.4. Feedback loops

starter kits handed out → increase in student knowledge of waste management system → increase in correct use of waste management bins → increase in materials recycled
→ decrease in recyclable materials wasted → increase in effectiveness of starter kit → continued use of starter kit (balancing loop)
starter kits handed out → increase in knowledge of sustainable businesses → increase in consumption of local products → decrease in fuel used for transporting outside goods → increase in effectiveness of starter kit → continued use of starter kit (balancing loop)
starter kits handed out → increase in use of reusable bag at grocery store → decrease in use of plastic bags → decrease in wasted plastics → increase in effectiveness of starter kit
→ continued use of starter kit (reinforcing loop)

1.5. Advertising

There wouldn't be much to be done in the way of advertising, the product would just be distributed each year at the beginning of the semester. If anything IES might decide to add something about the kit to the arrival information for the program.

2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

If students are more informed on matters such as recycling and easy steps to be more sustainable they will be more likely to participate. If we give them the resources and tools to become more educated they will be more motivated to help. We molded the information to the daily lives of students so they can directly change their habits. Also having the bag is a great way for students to not misuse plastic bags. The bag would be great for going to the beach, shopping around bcn, etc. It encourages students to reuse.

2.1. Potential Costs

There are no potential costs that we thought were not able to be met. Doing research on how much it would cost to have a bag for all the students it seems to add only one euro to the budget. Regarding printing the brochures and flyer we believed that a lot of students do not use all of their money for the printing cards so some of this paper could be generated from there. However, recycled paper would cost more than regular.

3. How will you implement it

We will implement it by asking IES to hand out the sustainability starter kits during the first weeks of the semester. We will hang the posters in all of the housing locations in order to ensure that students have access to the information. We have been keeping open contact with advisors to ensure that this action can be implemented.

3.1. Prototype (or Proof of Concept)

3.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design

Our action follows the "Cradle to Cradle" design because we will be using recycled paper for the brochures and flyers. We are also encouraging students to recycle the paper if they wish to throw away the information. Regarding our drawstring back, we do not have too much control of the material it is made from (must websites did not offer this option). However, since it is being used more than once we believe the lifespan of the bag is beneficial.

3.3. Flyers

We have created a flyer that will help students know which of the waste management bins to throw their trash in. Since each bin is designated for a different category of trash or different recyclable materials it can be very confusing for a foreigner to know which bin to use for what, especially since the bins are in Spanish. This sheet shows a picture of each bin showing students which color bin is for which type of trash.

Yellow Containers

  • Used for: plastic packaging, tetra paks, aluminum, plastic wrap, polystyrene
  • Not for: CDs, video tapes, toys, hoses, pipes

Green Containers

  • Used for: glass containers and bottles
  • Not for: broken glass, mirrors, plates, pottery, light bulbs

Blue Containers

  • Used for: cardboard, newspapers, magazines, paper bags, paper
  • Not for: dirty paper products, aluminum, pizza boxes

Brown Containers

  • Used for: organic wastes, meat, bread, fruit, vegetables, stained napkins, coffee grinds, corks
  • Not for: hair, paper, cardboard

Grey Containers

  • Used for: cigarette butts, hair, sanitary towels, sweepings, cotton, pens and pencils, animal waste
  • Not for: tea bags, used paper towels, wood

We have created a brochure in order to promote sustainability to new IES students. This brochure provides the students with simple steps to a more sustainable semester. The information will hopefully encourage them to participate in making Barcelona a greener place.

3.4. Incentives

There are a number of incentives for implementation of this plan. The first incentive would be to improve the environmental health of Barcelona through sustainable practices. Another incentive would be to provide information to new students which would help them choose sustainable options in Barcelona. Also implementation would help improve effectiveness of the waste management system in Barcelona by educating students. We hope to build a mutual beneficial relationships with the local businesses as well. Since we are promoting them to students we hope we would receive some incentive as well - regarding discounts or such.

3.5. Relationship with the Other initiatives being implemented

Sustainable Snapshot- By having the guide of all the local businesses and restaurants in the area we would be encouraging students to visit these places. They can take pictures of their favorite food and share it with their friends. We believe this will be a great relationship with the other initiative. It will be spreading awareness of places in Barcelona that support our goal.

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

The start up kit can be passed out to all of the students during their first weeks at IES. We can leave the templates with IES and have them hand them out even after we are gone. We believe it will much easier to sustain our initiative because it does not require much student involvement rather than the initial push.

3.7. Comparison to similar actions form previous semesters

We compared our action with similar actions from previous semesters such as "The sustainability Behavior Stewardship Guide" and "Sustainable Education". Both involved raising awareness about daily habits that can be changed to reduce consumption. We believe adding a video could be a great implementation to our action and to add on to this students could be interviewed about how they used the resources we gave them and what changes they made. Few previous implementations stressed the importance of implementing the plan early which we did.

4. Time-sheet / Chronogram

4.1. Who will do what

Liz will make the brochure
Peter will make the flyers and speak to people regarding hanging them up
Sophia made the bag design and researched how much the bag would cost
We will all work together to gather the necessary data.

4.2. What has been done this semester?

Our group came up with the idea to provide IES students with a sustainability starter kit. This starter kit will consist of a reusable bag, a map of local sustainable shops, and information to further students’ knowledge on being more sustainable. We made the flyers and brochure this semester. Once we were finished with that we contacted the necessary people in order to hang up the flyers on recycling. We also want to demonstrate that we have had open communication with the advisors which is really important to start the action.

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

Each portion of the starter kit must be given in an editable form to Caesar Alegre so he may select someone to produce a starter pack for each student each year. Hopefully each year new information can be added to the brochure. It is mostly up to the directors and deans of IES to make sure the kit is distributed to new students each year. Students would have to edit the brochure or recycling flyer if there is new data needed to be implemented or old data that is not relevant.

5. Document format

The brochure will be saved as a .rtf Other documents are in word format so they can be edited by anyone.

6. Bibliography





7. Other References

8. Annexes

Unless elsewhere noted, the contents of this report are released with a Creative commons non commercial copyright license creativecommons.org. We choose to do a CC by 2.0 to allow students, or anyone, to share and adapt the information. This way the information can be copied and redistributed, the true goal of our project. It will also allow for the information to be updated when needed. This extends to updating our brochure or flyer when new information is added or old information becomes not relevant.

8.2. What did you learn and what did you incoporate from the feedback received

This is a new idea so we did not receive any feedback.

8.3. Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Caesar Alegre, Betsy Tufano and Ferran Teres from IES Abroad for speaking with Peter regarding the flyers. They are helping the process of the sustainability starter kit by allowing the flyers to be hung in IES housing.

8.4. Students involved in this action

Elizabeth Cingari made the brochure.
Sophia Potepalov did the design of the bag.
Peter was in charge of the recycle flyer.
We all peer edited this document.

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Page last modified on Sunday 14 of December, 2014 23:37:21