Recycling Appliances- Trash to Treasure

Trash to Treasure- Coordination and Packaging


I will be in charge of coordinating with the faculty of IES to allow recycling of appliances to be possible. Students will donate their appliances that they bought while stuImage dying abroad such as blow dryers and cell phones that they will not be bringing home. I will create two forms for the students to fill out, one when they are donating their appliances, and one when they will rent them out next year. Stephanie Eastlake will be in charge of inventory and Megan Bernstein will be in charge of advertising this project. At the end of this semester, once all of the collections of the appliances has completed, I will help box and store the appliances for the students to use next semester. This project will not only help students save money and give IES some extra cash, but it will help the environment that will go a long way.


The point of this project is to help prevent electronic waste buildup from the hundreds of American students that live in Barcelona for one semester and leave, throwing away cell-phones, blow dryers, straightening irons, kitchen appliances, converters, and any other electronic they purchased here that would not work in an American plug. Electronic waste is an issue that is rapidly expanding. Many people buy appliances, and once they are broken or not needed, are thrown away. Most people don't understand the affect if has on the environment from where this ends up.

Two of the possibilities for where these appliances could go are landfills or to be incinerated. "According to the US EPA, more than 4.6 million tonnes of e-waste ended up in US landfills in 2000" (Greenpeace.org). This was just in 2000, imagine over a decade later all of the new appliances that have come out since. The iPod came out in 2001 and there have been so many improvements to that, think of how many old iPods were thrown away to be replaced. Our generation is very electronic-dependent and there are more and more new models of cameras, televisions, stereos, computers, laptops, etc. that come out all of the time, encouraging people to get ride of the old and buy the new. Now when these electronics are thrown into landfills, this is not just something that could biodegrade over time. There are hazardous chemicals that come from these appliances that negatively affect our environment, running into the ground and potentially into our water system.

As a student studying abroad in Barcelona, I don't want my ecological footprint to be left here, adding waste to a city that the other American students and I have come to know and love. After watching an American news program called 60 minutes on one of the most toxic places in the world, a city in China, I realized how terrible landfills can get from electronics. In this town, you can neither drink the water nor breath the air and the children's blood is laced with lead from the landfills that Americans old appliances have landed. This landfill not only affected the water system by allowing the e-waste to degrade into the earth, but the incineration of these products puts chemicals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury in the air and ashes. It is clear that the long-term affects of not handling e-waste properly can be devastating to both the environment and our health.

Although recycling these appliances seems like a good plan, there is no way to know how these products are recycled and if it was done properly. The most sustainable way to get rid of appliances that still work but are no longer needed is to be re-used. That is why our system of donating and renting electronics from IES each semester will help lessen the ecological footprint that American students have on Barcelona. By creating simple forms for the students to use and packaging the products neatly and carefully for storage, IES will be able to stay organized and keep these products available for the next semester of students.Overall, our goal is to prevent eco-efficiency and influence others in eco-effectiveness.

SWOT Analysis


Creating forms that are organized and easy to use will help IES keep the appliances organized and ready to rent.

Packaging the materials at the end of the semester for storage will keep them safe and ready for next semester's students to use.

By staying organized we are helping the program succeed and grow from this year on.

There is a storage place for the appliances that is already available and approved by IES staff.


The forms will be printed on sheets of paper that can be wasteful the more that has to be printed out every year every time a new student rents them.

Participation could be minimal and all of the forms and boxes would be wasted.

Space in IES is limited and could become cluttered or cause frustration for IES staff.


By staying organized, other students will be more likely to take on the task the next year because it is easier to work with.

The forms will allow IES to keep track of the products coming in and out so they can keep a record for each year of the products they helped rent out or the money they made from the project from year to year.

Using eco-euro's as an incentive to have students donate/rent items and will also be a good way to get more students to participate. This will be complied with the sustainability club.


The boxes could be stored improperly and the appliances could break.

There could not be enough storage space for the appliances to fit if many students participate, causing us to have to recycle some appliances instead of re-using them.

The paper could not work as well with packaging over time. We tried it out and it works well with newspaper and then with computer paper as cushion but over time being unwrapped and wrapped again could affect organization.

Feedback loops

Good organization of rental/donation forms allows for the project to be more organized and to be continued on year after year and setting up good organization for the years to come -positive reinforcing loop

Good storage of the products allows for the appliances to stay safe giving the students next semester more appliances to rent from and making the project expand to more students also. Positive reinforcing loop.

Having good organization and coordination with IES will allow for students in the future years to participate or run the project seeing how easy and efficient it can be, allowing the project to continue and eventually grow. Positive reinforcing loop.

Potential Benefits

Students will have an easy time renting/donating their appliances.

The IES employee who will be in charge of renting out and collecting the appliances will be able to stay organized with the labeled boxes, the forms, and the organized packaging and storing at the end of the semester.

When a student has an easy time renting/donating the appliances, the word will spread in a positive light to other IES students to encourage them to participate.

The project can continue over time if its starts off being organized, efficient, and well-handled.

Eco-euro's will be more valuable if they are circulated through this system and used more.

Potential Costs

This will take up space in IES with the boxes of appliances.

This will take effort from IES employees to collect/rent out the appliances and then re-start the project again at the beginning of the new semester.

The paper and boxes will cost money from IES. The tape will also cost money and could make more trash.


In the attached documents, you will see the forms that I have created with simple questions for the students to fill out both when renting and when donating the appliances. I spoke with Ferran Teres who was in charge of the cell-phone donations last semester and we discussed having the forms approved and then saved on the IES computers for them to print out when necessary and where we can store the appliances at the end of the semester once they are packaged and ready. There is already space for the appliances in the storage closet in IES next to his office where we can store the appliances for next year. Ferran is excited about the project and wants us to help succeed with his help.

The e-mail's that Stephanie and Megan have sent out will be sent out at the beginning of next year with a note at the bottom asking students to help lead this project so this will ensure the project from failing and allow it to continue. We will coordinate with Ferran when this e-mail will be sent out.

Cradle to Cradle

The way this project is going to be a 'cradle to cradle' design is by using recycled paper to wrap the appliances for storage and then saved for wrapping again until they can no longer be used. The forms, if not destroyed, can be an example of wrapping material when they are done being used such as when a student returns their appliance and their rental form will be thrown away. That way we are using the same materials for multiple aspects of the project and when they are done being used in one category they can be useful in another. The paper will not be the only source of wrapping. We will also use old newspaper from the recycling bins because that is a better wrapping material to add on. The paper can be used for cushioning in the boxes so the appliances don't bump against each other so that we will not have to use lots of tape. The tape we will use will be recyclable and easy to write on so we can label the materials.

Questions for the unified survey

1. Have you bought any appliances in Barcelona that you know you will not be taking home with you?

2. Do you have a lot of appliances that only work with a European outlet?

Analysis of the results in the survey

The results from the survey given explained that out of the 20 people that took the survey, 13 of them said they had appliances that they will not be taken home with them. This shows that the majority of the students have the means to participate in this project which is a good start. Out of the 20 students 7 said that they had an appliance with only a European outlet. Although this is not a 100% guarantee that all students can participate and all students will participate, this does give us an idea that there are students who are able to participate in our project. When the students were asked if they would participate in a trash to treasure program, 17 out of the 20 said yes which gives us an idea that there is an interest in the project and it is realistic for us to go through with.


Incentives for this project will be for students to spend less or no money on appliances from renting. My personal contribution for this incentive is to make the renting process as easy, organized, and efficient as possible so that the students will feel this won't be complicated and will want to participate. This is also an incentive for IES to participate since they will keep the deposit money the students give to rent the products if they don't return the appliance. If I make sure that the appliances are well stored and will be easy to keep track of with the forms I provide, then they will be glad to add money to IES's program by participating as well. Students will also have the incentive to gain eco-euro's from donating appliances to IES. This will be added to the future e-mail for next year's group so they will participate sooner and gain from the eco-euro.

Relationship with the Sustainability Club

Eco-euro's will be provided to students who donate their appliances. They will the same amount of eco-euros but can get more for each appliance they donate. They can also receieve eco-euro's for renting the appliances, just for participating in the program. This will give students more of an incentive to join and help get the eco-euro's out and used.

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

This action will be sustained when I am not here with my coordination with Ferran Teres. When I package the materials at the end of the semester, Ferran has a place to store the materials over the summer and will start up the project when the next semester begins. I will also give him the format to save on his computer for the forms to fill out when renting or donating the appliances that he can reuse each year without having to print them out and waste paper. He can print out the amounts that are necessary when the time comes.

Document format

Donating Form:

What appliance are you donating?

Is this appliance broken in any way?

If this is a cell phone, what is the number of the phone?

Was this appliance rented or were you the one to buy it?

Is there a password to this appliance, if so, what is it?

Please write any other important information here:

Renting Form:

What appliance are you renting?

Is there anything wrong with this appliance? If so, please explain in detail so you do not get blamed for any damage.

Did you give a deposit, if so, how much?

Your Signature:__

IES Staff Signature: __

Rental Date: //___

Return Date: /_/__

(This form can be copied and saved to be used for the future or to be edited, here is the PDF form attatched as well.)


Copyright license of your report

On the Creative Commons website it explains that 'Attribution CC By' is, "This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials". I really like how this copyright works because I would want future students to continue on this path and change it in any way they see fit. This copyright also gives us the credit for the work we have done.

Time-sheet / Chronogram

April 25th, forms will be available at IES for people to fill out and donate in the bins/boxes that Stephanie will put out that day that will be provided by IES. These forms will be printed as needed so they are not wasted from being printed ahead of time and having too many extras. These will be available by Ferran's office and will be provided upon request from Ferran or Caterina. May 6th, I will package and store the appliances and make any last minute details organized with Ferran Teres. At the beginning of next year he will send out the e-mail Megan created and will add at the bottom that students are welcome to volunteer to run the program who are in Sustainability class or not.






Students from previous semesters work: http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Electronics+Recycling+Program&structure=2010b+Fall+Actions

Students involved in this action

Jenny Schaye- Leader- Coordination and Packaging

Stephanie Eastlake- Leader- Inventory

Megan Bernstein- Leader- Advertising

 Assignment 4: Peer review form

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Items found: 17
Grade per actionReviewerComments
84 m.bernsteincarried out very well, i think your feedback loops are on the same page as what your part of the action is covering and the information you wrote about the ipod improvements is a catch and true to our time period. The forms you made will help with the organization aspect and will make a system that runs smoothly for future semesters.
94 Drew.peroGreat idea, it makes sense to utilize these products to their fullest ability while reducing footprint in a city that has treated us so well
62 obiajuluHow many people would really be willing to donate their appliances? what's the incentive for them?
77 gnardiI agree with Brian Mcnevin: If i were redisgning this action I woudl expand it to include more then just electrical appliances. Besides that, the author of this action is very organized and on top of their information.
91 MarthaMayI agree with Brian that you should make the collection more then just electronics in possible. This would allow more people to participate and help make the action more sustainable. In general I think this is a great action and will work well with a study abroad program.
91 agluskerI really like the concept of filling out the rental form. Have you talked to IES about who will be in charge of coordinating the rental of new appliances? Also, maybe you should think about limiting what appliances people donate. I know cell phones are a continued theme in a few of the actions. Would you focus on beauty products such as hair dryers, curlers and straighteners? Or are you more focused on electronics? All in all the idea of recycling electronics for future usage is an excellent and sustainable idea!
85 vsienkieI think that if implemented correctly this idea can be cgreat and save students alot of money, but a threat to the sustainjability of this project is that students may not know about this before coming to Barcelona and thus, buy appliances before they come. Make sure you make "trash to treasure" known to the new students, maybe on the IES website.
89 Julia NuttI think that this is a very good idea. Like I said to the other people you are working with, it will be a good way for students to get rid of electronics that they no longer have a use for. You should see what are the most needed appliances that are in need and emphasize that to the IES students. You should start advertising early so that the students can go ahead and start thinking about what they are willing to donate and no longer have a use for. I think that this is a very good idea and will contribute to making a more sustainable community as opposed to having students throw these items away. The next group of students really need to know about this and this should be sent in their welcome packets so that they know about it before coming.
96 MbowermanI think the rental form is a great idea. It will help keep track of the students and the products. It would also be great if IES could implement this program in other cities study abroads.
87 CFaheyI think this is a great action and it seems that the design has been well thought out with the inventory system and the rental forms. Determining prices could be a little difficult but as long as record are kept it shouldnt be that tough. A large threat to this action is lack of students (current and future) knowledge of this opportunity so be sure to advertise via email and facebook. Overall great action.
100 Sarah ColeI think this is a great idea as well. It is easy to accomplish and I think it is great for future IES students. I think you might need to make some sort of incentive for students to actually bring their products to IES because otherwise it is easier for them to just be thrown away.
91 vydraI think this is a great idea. I know that personally, I will have items that I will be looking to recycle after this semester. Also, I won't really be looking for any incentives, because there is no reason why I wouldn't recycle my appliance rather than throw it out. The only thing I worry about is the space in IES to store these materials. However, if you sufficiently take care of that issue, then the action is completely sustainable. Good work.
93 SolomonBPLooks good. Only comment, which I said to Stephanie as well, is that IES Administration doesn't want boxes of goods in the building between semesters, for them to look after and redistribute. They said they would continue to do it for the cellphones, but didn't want all kinds of other stuff. So unless we can find someone willing to take care of the boxes during the break between semesters, we may have to distribute the goods to local organizations. Either way, it'd be great in terms of helping the SC if you could help advertise the collection drive that's happening at the end of the semester, and then help with the collecting and organizing. Then the the SC could take it from there in terms of redistributing the goods locally, if no one within IES is able to take them.
93 carlafRecycling electronics is a great idea considering the damage it does to the environment when thrown in the trash. If it becomes problematic that the forms are on paper, why not have them available online? Besides that, I like how you consider the idea of the electronics having a European outlet or not, that's a minor detail I wouldn't have thought to mention.
83 Brian McNevinThe trash to treasure action is an excellent way to improve the sustainability of IES Abroad. I think that if I were re-designing this action next semester though I would not limit it to just electrical appliances. I know that I plan on leaving more than just electric appliances. For example, you could give students the opportunity to donate old books, book bags, etc. as it will help save them and IES money.
87 seantubridyThis action can really help the sustainability of IES and has the potential to be a very useful program in the future. I have one question though, what are the incentives for the people donating the initial appliances to be used for future IES students. It might help to give them something in return for their donation. Also, you should go to the creative commons website to get a CC license instead of saying you dont have a copyright.
88 Kmacdonald4This is a great (and easy) way for IES students to contribute to sustainability in Barcelona. Especially since the appliances we purchase here cannot be used back home without an adapter it makes a lot of sense to donate them. Maybe to reduce waste even further would be to have multiple people be able to answer the forms on the same sheet of paper (like have columns with the questions so that not each student had to use one full people of paper to answer questions that dont require a lot of space). Overall great idea that should be very successful.

 Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)

Items found: 1
1.2 Recycling Appliances- Trash to Treasure (Trash to Treasure - Coordination and Packaging; Jenny Schaye) Good The report, in general. Reinforcing feedback loops identified Improvable Name of the page should have been updated to "Trash to Treasure - Coordination and Packaging", to clearly indicate what is the action about and different from other actions with a similar name on them. Presentation. Why didn't you use the headings and so on provided by the template? Numbered headings are missing. "making my job a very positive feedback loop.": indicate what feedback loop you are referring to. And Remember that the report is not about you, but about the action. References: cite them properly in the References section (Author, year, title, etc). Improve the weaknesses and threats sections of your swot, and keep those new items in mind when redesigning whatever is needed. Ask advice to some staff if needed. (how) "[I spoke with Ferran Teres (...)] where we can store the appliances at the end of the semester once they are packaged and ready.". And? Where is that place? This is one of the weaknesses of your action (the place to store them, with an agreement from IES Abroad Staff), and you seem to miss that point in the weaknesses in your swot analysis also. "The way this project is going to be a 'cradle to cradle' design is by using recycled paper to wrap the appliances for storage and then saved for wrapping again until they can no longer be used." This sounds nice, but I wonder if you have tried already to wrap a hair drier (for instance) just with DIN-A4 paper, and after unwrapping, reuse the same paper to wrap another object. How much "celo tape" are you going to need? This looks to me as "down cycling"... and not pure "recycling"... And once wrapped, where/how are you going to add the sticker?... Do some tests as a proof of concept, and take some pictures of it, to demonstrate how you have designed the system to work. (How): it's not clear how the system will work at the beginning of next semester. Who will announce it? when to deliver them? How?... (high risk of failure of this action again, as in previous semesters, if this logistics issue is not solved in time). Swot: opportunities: use the ecoeuro system in the sustainability club. "As of right now, we don't have a relationship with the sustainability club.". Use the ecoeuro system of incentives. And also the communication of the action to all students in time, etc. "I will also give him the format to save on his computer for the forms to fill out when renting or donating the appliances that he can reuse each year without having to print them out and waste paper. He can print out the amounts that are necessary when the time comes. " Please, upload a copy of that document (to be printed, like in pdf format) here at the website also. "(This form can be copied and saved to be used for the future or to be edited like FLOSS)." I'm afraid that you don't understand what FLOSS is, still. "edited like FLOSS" should be (for instance) "edited with FLOSS tools", such as OpenOffice, etc. "Copyright license of your report. I will not be copy writing this project because I want others to use this idea and help the environment as well. Also, this was not our initial idea so I don't think we can copy write it." Please, review the session about Copyright: you don't understand still, it seems, what copyright license was used in the past, and what are the copyright licences from Creative Commons. Redo this part. "Time-sheet / Chronogram": when the bins/boxes need to be produced? How are going to look like? Where will you take them from? forms will be available on April 25th: by whom? in which type of paper? appliances stored where? this seems unfinished work. Please, finish the design. Bibliography: see general comment about it. You missed to cite the work done (and their reports) by students from previous semesters. Do it! (read their reports, and cite accordingly to give credit, and/or reuse their documents where appropriate if license copyright permits) Update after the second deadline: Feedback Loops: they are not indicated as full loops. Re-read the class notes & slides from session 2, etc. Copyright licenses: Pay more attention in class, Jenny. "On the Creative Commons website it explains that 'Attribution CC By' is, "This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials". I really like how this copyright works because I would want future students to continue on this path and change it in any way they see fit. This copyright also gives us the credit for the work we have done." Yes, they explain this, but you missed the point that with that license, you loose the viral effect. Any modification can be re-licensed and the chain of freedom/copyleft to pass it on is lost. The second version of your document can be copyrighted as "All rights reserved", and then, not even yourself (the author of the first version) would be allowed to go to a shop to make photocopies of that sheet of paper without any previous written agreement of the author of the second version to let you make a photocopy of it. With CC by-sa ("sa" = share alike), you enforce that this cannot happen.

Page last modified on Monday 03 of November, 2014 19:16:16