Trash to Treasure - Inventory and Incentive System

Trash to Treasure: Inventory and Euro System of Recycled Electronics

1. What

My action is included in the over encompassing Trash to Treasure idea, which is collecting used electronics such as cell phones, straighteners, hair dryers, etc. from IES students and giving them to new students next semester for a cheaper price. My action is putting the boxes/ bins in the IES student center, keeping inventory of the appliances, and talking with IES about the inventory system with euros. The action will be carried out at the end of the semester, but I currently have a list of people that have already pledged to donate their items to be sure that we will have inventory to collect. I also have an incentive design that will give someone 5 eco euros to use the appliances that are stored at IES.

2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

My action is contributing to the Sustainability of IES Abroad Barcelona because we are taking the problem of waste that occurs each semester into a recycling opportunity. The waste of our semester's appliance is the food for the next semester's class, so we are utilizing the "Cradle to Cradle" design. And this can continue to be improved upon as well as make money for IES Barcelona with the euro system, which can be used for more creative ways to make IES more sustainable. This will be resilient because products like cell phones, hair straighteners, hair dryers, etc. last for years so if there is a disturbance such as students not utilizing the products that are there for them, they can continue to try to get future students to get involved with the program anyway. The disturbance will not affect the program.

Students normally throw these products away, but by bringing them in the bad waste or electronic waste of IES students will go down enormously. This will lead to a change in attitudes because instead of using the trash can, they can easily take their appliances to their finals and stick them in a bin that will be given to new students. This will significantly reduce the ecological footprint that we leave on Barcelona each semester. "What makes electronic waste such a headache is the fact that so many of the components used to produce these technological gadgets, such as mercury, cadmium and lead, are toxic to humans and the environment once the gadgets are broken down in landfills and recycling centers" (Carter). By using these products over and over again each semester we will reduce this e-waste.

In the long term, if we can successfully get attitudes to keep changing, we will be able to reuse appliances for years significantly reducing IES's ecological footprint. This is a balancing loop because as more people give, more people will take them next semester because they will be cheaper, and then to get their deposit back they will have to bring their appliance back, and the cycle will continue. This is similar to a SLEN operation because it is completely utilizing local resources of IES students. There isn't a need to go to Corte Ingles to purchase these materials as we had to do this semester.

2.1. SWOT Analysis


Save students money from buying all new appliances
IES is a central location
Reducing IES ecological footprint

Can use appliances for a long period of time
Can give to IES bin, RA or Sustainability club member
There will be a deposit that you can get back at the end of the semester if you return your appliance

Getting everyone to know about and remember their appliances
Takes up space in IES
Someone needs to organize it next semester

There are a lot of appliances to be donated
Students will need these appliances next semester
This will reduce waste and help students save money
There is a possible eco euro incentive as well as euro incentives that can be employed that could make IES money in the long run

Students can forget or be lazy about bringing their appliances
There could be a lack of care to donate without incentives for this semester's student
We need to create an attitude change to be truly successful in the long run

(see free_SWOT_analysis_template.pdf)

2.2. Feedback loops

Identify potential loops produced by your action (reinforcing, balancing, lagged), and eventually, draw them in a systems analysis diagram if it makes the explanation clearer

A possible feedback loop that could occur from this project is people will give to Trash to Treasure (+), then people will take away these appliances for use during the fall semester (-), and then that will bring their appliances back a the end of the semester, and the next will take and that will continue in a balancing feedback loop circle.

2.3. Potential Benefits

There are many potential benefits of expanding this program. In the short term, IES students will have somewhere to dispose of their cell phones and appliances that is eco-friendly. Students from next semester will benefit in the short/ mid term because they will not have to pay as much for these appliances, and if they get their deposit back at the end of the semester it is essentially free for them to use these things. In the long term, this program will reduce IES abroad's ecological footprint. It could also become a very good SLEN business, in which IES could gain a profit from students not returning their products and getting their deposit, and they will also gain money if their is inflation because the 10 euro deposit that the students get back is not worth as much as the 10 euros that they gave to IES.

2.4. Potential Costs

The main potential cost of this program will be the space that the storage takes up and the time that others will need to put in after this semester to make it a successful program. There will need to be an organized person that is willing to take on this system of deposits, and IES will have to be wiling to return these deposits at the end of the semester for students that return their appliances. To be successful, we also need students and faculty to carry this program into the future because if no one receives these appliances, they will most likely be disposed of improperly, which is what we are trying to avoid.

3. How

I have already begun implementing my action by getting pledges from people that I know that are willing to donate their items to Trash to Treasure. Another person will be doing the advertising aspect, so after he/she has implemented their action, there will be even more donations. The leader of this action will set up the bins at IES for the specific item. There will be a bin for cell phones, hair appliances, and other. Therefore, it will already be organized for IES. I am getting these bins from the storage units that my friend is using in her room. She will be throwing them away when she lives so I will be taking them and using them for the bins at IES. This will lead to another aspect of waste becoming food. The leader of this action will take inventory of all these products so IES has the records. I will also discuss with Ferran Teres the idea of incentives through students purchasing with euros and then getting that money back when they return the product to IES. The leader will mark each product with a unique sticker/ mark/ stamp to make sure that money will not be returned to students that did not pay for IES products in the beginning of the semester. I do not have these yet but I have been looking for stickers at local stores such as Corte Ingles. Then the leader will hand his or her action over to another person (different than the advertisement person) who's main action is packaging and storing the items in IES abroad and making sure that this program will be implemented after we leave.

bins: Image

3.1. "Cradle to Cradle" design

This system is a "Cradle to Cradle" design. I am sure that some sought out a healthy way to recycle these items and there have been previous outlets at IES, but I am also sure that most students did not seek out these sustainable recycling methods. This is an easy way to get the IES student's waste at the end of a semester to become food or a technical nutrient for new students coming in at the beginning of a semester. And this process can be repeated with the same items and with new items for many years if the program has incentives that are carried out. We will also use bins that can be reused for many years to make sure not to add new waste for a long time.

3.2. Questions for the unified survey

If there was a program called Trash to Treasure at IES would you bring your electrical appliances, cell phones, other things you would otherwise throw away to IES at the end of the semester?

3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey

85% of people that took the survey said yes, they would bring their appliances and electronics to IES at the end of the semester for Trash to Treasure. This is an extremely positive outcome and it made me want to continue this idea and put it into practice. However, this was a very small sample of the whole population so I took the initiative to ask people in my classes and in my apartment building. About 25 out of the 30 people that I asked said yes. I think with the wide range of people that I asked plus the survey, there is definitely a positive response toward this action. There was also a positive response to the question: Do you have a lot of appliances that you will not be taking home with you? This leaves a big opportunity for our program to succeed.

3.4. Incentives

The incentive system that we are using is for students in the next semester that want to use these appliances will make a deposit of 10 euros for the hair appliances (hair dryers and straighteners) and a 5 euro deposit for phones with correct pin numbers. Phones without pin numbers will be free. We will come up with the euro system for any other appliances that we collect when I take inventory of these products.

3.5. Relationship with the "Sustainability Club" (SC)

If students can't make it to the bin in IES for whatever reason, they can give their phone or appliance to a Sustainability club member who will be able to take it to the appropriate place. This just gives another outlet for collecting products.

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

Ferran Teres will continue the program by distributing emails to students about the products. Then hopefully someone will continue this action from the sustainability club or class next semester.

The copyright license for this report is Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

4. Time-sheet / Chronogram

Date By Who What
April 4th Megan Bernstein Put advertisement posters up in the IES Barcelona Abroad building and send out a mass email to all students with an advertisement
April 18th Megan Bernstein Send out a reminder email that is different from the first one that now gives dates of collection time and where the bins will be located throughout the building
April 18th Steph Eastlake Work out the incentive system with IES
April 25th Steph Eastlake Put labeled bins in IES
May 5th Steph Eastlake Do the inventory of the collected items
May 6th Jenny Schaye Package and store all collected appliances and devices and finalize things for next semester with Ferran Teres

"Electronic Waste - A Disaster in the Making: The World Has to Clean Up Its Massive E-waste Mess." Suite101.com: Online Magazine and Writers' Network. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. <http://www.suite101.com/content/electronic-waste-a-disaster-in-the-making-a196777>.

"How To Dispose of Electronic Waste | How To Do Things." How To Do Things ยป How To Articles & How To Videos. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. <http://www.howtodothings.com/business/how-to-dispose-of-electronic-waste>.

lscuderi , Jack Krieger , annakatz and amickle. <http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Electronics+Recycling+Program&structure=2010b+Fall+Actions> 12 December 2010. 1 April 2011.

6. Students involved in this action

Stephanie Eastlake is the leader of this action, which is taking inventory and working out the incentive system. Megan Bernstein and Jenny Schaye are contributors to this action. Megan will also be doing the advertising action for this program, and Jenny will be the leader on packaging and storing these items.

 Assignment 4: Peer review form

You do not have permission to insert an item

Items found: 18
Grade per actionReviewerComments
92 agluskerI believe this is a great idea and I know would be beneficial to me leaving barcelona because I do not think I will be bringing home with me a lot of purchased electronics. Just make sure it is easily available to the students. During finals week students usually do not want to go out of their way, so it would be nice to have an easy access point to donate our "trash" into treasure.
91 Brian McNevinThis is a fantastic way to make IES Abroad a more sustainable program. The trash to treasure action demonstrates a great example "eco-effectiveness." I think that the inventory part is great as well. Rather than just having a great pile of appliances for future students to use, taking inventory on the items will greatly help IES when it comes time to redistribute them. This way they can distinguish what works well, what is broken, more expensive kinds, etc. So far, I really wouldn't change much about the action.
91 carlafThe idea of recycling / reusing electronics is extremely valuable these days considering how technologically advanced our generation is. The only suggestion I have is a better incentive for the donator. Rather than a deposit of 10 euro, maybe a pass from a homework assignment could also somehow be arranged by IES. I know I personally would love to have a free pass on a homework assignment. Unfortunately, the self-satisfaction one would feel after donating their electronics just might not be enough to get someone to donate their smartphone. Otherwise, this is a great plan.
90 CFaheyThis action is very important for making IES more sustainable because it recycles electrical appliances that would otherwise go to waste. It also gives students ther opportunity to save money while coming abroad. American students essentially have little to no use for appliances with European outlets in America and this action allows students to pass them on to other students after there studying here is complete.
91 Drew.peroI think this is a very good idea because it helps IES students have access to certain products at cheaper prices which will help them save money. Also, it is a good idea because it helps recycle these products to help others
74 gnardiI actually think this is a very useful action because it is something students can greatly benefit from; especially because most of our electronic appliances from the United States do not work here and we have to buy all new ones. I think that the author did a very good job covering all the issues and I do not think I would change anything about it.
87 jschayeIf I were to change this action for next year to be more sustainable I would arrange with IES to start advertising at the beginning of the semester so that students are more aware from the start that they can rent and donate materials. I was not aware at all that I could rent a phone from IES at the beginning of the semester and if I was I would have done that.
92 Julia NuttI think that this is a very good idea. Many IES students purchased electronics over here such as hair dryers, straighteners, etc. and have no use for them back at home so this is a good way to let these electronics go to a good cause. I know that I will donate mine because I bought both a hair dryer and straightener and will have no use for them later on when I get home. I think that you need to start advertising well in advance so that students can go ahead and be thinking about what it is that they want to donate and will be prepared for it. I think that you really need to think about when you are going to do it because students will be leaving at different times and some may be staying until the very end when they will need these electronics. I think that this is a very good idea going to a good cause!
88 Kmacdonald4I think this is a very good idea and its easy for all IES students to participate in which is important. I think that during finals week there should be a daily email reminder to students because I agree that your biggest problem is going to be getting students to remember their appliances before coming into class. Also you might consider having some sort of incentive for the donating students, not just next semesters students. I know that at my university they give out candy bars during book buy back week.
79 m.bernsteingreat report, very well written. The only thing I would say is maybe to incorporate e-waste more in your feedback loops and talk about how recollection will help decrease e-waste and the ecological footprint of IES Barcelona Abroad. the thought process to extend this action to more than just cell phones is a good idea. i know a bunch of students who bought hair dryers and straighteners (including myself) who would otherwise be throwing it out at the end of the year. I think it would be appropriate to talk more about e-waste in your feedback loops. I know you are doing collection but by collecting the appliances e-waste disposal from IES goes down and our ecological footprint goes down as well. I think this action will be very successful in many ways.
92 MarthaMayIf I had to re-design this action in the next semester I wouldn't change anything. This action if very sustainable and highly relative to a study abroad program. In fact this action caters to study abroad students and has the potential to benefit current and present students. It will be much easier to drop off your extra appliances at IES at the end of the semester versus finding ways to properly dispose of them. In addition future students will have access to these appliances, therefore saving them time and money! I think this is a GREAT action
95 MbowermanI think the action will be better next semester because the process will have started. Students can start reusing things frmo this semesters students.
62 obiajuluThis is a good idea however how many people actually throw away appliances?
94 Sarah ColeI think this is a great action and that is easy to carry out and contributes to IES student sustainability. I think incentives are definately necessary for students though, students can be lazy and may not want to take the time to bring their things to IES and would rather throw them away.
91 seantubridyI think this is a very good idea and a well presented one. I know that I would have much rather used old appliances than buy new ones at outrageously expensive prices. Many students will want to participate in this action. It is good that you split up the work involved in this action, or else it would be difficult for one person to implement. This action has the potential of continuing for a long time at IES Barcelona, making it very sustainable.
95 SolomonBPAll sounds good. We'll need to talk because administration was pretty clear on not wanting boxes of stuff lying around IES in between semesters and left for them to deal with. So it's possible we'll have to instead redistribute the collected goods within Barcelona, (maybe to a local high school or charity organization) to have them distribute everything to other students. Since the SC is planning on doing a collection drive at the end of the semester, if you took charge of the school supplies/electronics side of it, that would be great. Hopefully we can figure out a way to have someone at IES ensure the continuity of the action from one semester to the next, including taking responsibility for the collected goods during the break between semesters.
86 vsienkieI think this is a great idea, but how would the students re-use the cellphones since you need a plan/pin code to use the phone? Since many students may not know about "trach to treasure" before coming to Barcelona they will probably buy appliances before then get there. You could try to put information on the IES website about trach to treasure to let students know about this before they buy new appliances.
91 vydraI think this is a great idea. I think this is actually a very sustainable action due to the fact that you put a faculty member in charge of keeping the action running next semester. If you merely hoped for a student in the next Sustainability course to sustain this action, you might be out of luck. However, a faculty member is more reliable and will continue your action.

 Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)

Items found: 1
1.1 Trash to Treasure: Inventory and Incentive System - Stephanie Eastlake Good Good point about resilience of the system. The whole section "why": very good job Citing the source of your quotations (Carter), etc. (however, remember to include the full reference at the end!) Feedback loops: excellent! And there are higher chances that you promote that they bring other appliances back, after trying the system, if it works for them, and spread the word to their colleagues/buddies, so that more people participate in other semesters! ... Good that you got commitment from Ferran Teres to continue the program when you are not here, sending emails about products. (But by the way, why didn't he send those emails already in previous semesters? How do you know that this won't happen again?) A clear calendar in the time sheet about actions being done, and some of them with the help of some specific IES Abroad staff willing to help you. Improvable Opportunity: include the ecoeuros in your action design. (1.2) Full reference to some of your sources, like "Carter". Plus citing properly your other sources of information: use author, year, title, editorials or book editors, etc, besides url. You only included 3 bare urls. (1.2.1) "There is a possible eco euro incentive as well as euro incentives (...)". Which are those ecoeuro incentives? How much will they receive? It is not covered at your section 1.3.4. Incentives. You could give them the same amount of their deposit in ecoeuros (as a reference)... (I'm just brainstorming) (1.2.3) Inflation in three months is not expected to happen in Europe (but well, I agree, you never know what will happen in the future...) (1.3): "I will set up the bins at IES for the specific item. " Where are the bins? Pictures? Who payed for them, or where did you get them from? You could also try requesting them in the local barter markets, som eof which have websites or email lists (so that we use "waste" from others as food for us): http://intercanvis.net is one of them (you can post in Spanish there; request help to any of your class mates of Spanish teachers if needed). In fact, you could use that website for inventory of items, etc. , where we can create a specific section for IES Abroad Barcelona center... I have already created a section for you here: http://intercanvis.net/IES+Abroad+Barcelona, so that you can add easily your inventory there, while keeping it open for other people to offer other things to us...). and that http://intercanvis.net website will communicate well with the sustainability club website, as well as to our course website, by means of RSS feeds, email, or others. "Therefore, it will already be organized for IES. I will take inventory of all these products so IES has the records.". And who will do it when you are not here anymore? "I will mark each product with a unique sticker/ mark/ stamp to make sure that money will not be returned to students that did not pay for IES products in the beginning of the semester". Example of stamp? designed already? ... (1.3.1) "In previous years, there has been no simple way for students to get rid of the electronics that they have no use for. ". I'm sorry to say that this is not true. There are even some pictures about some bins collecting appliances in previous semesters. "This is an easy way (...)". Previous semesters, students didn't succeed to create a sustainable action related to this topic/issue. I hope you succeed with your action started this semester that can be continued next semesters! And keep in mind the weaknesses that you already identified, since they might make your action fail completely if not taken into account seriously, and some solutions are found for each one of those weaknesses! (1.3.3.) "85% of people that took the survey said yes". But keep in mind that only 20 out of nearly 400 students answered! (less than 5% of the students!), so those results are not reliable, there are high chances that they are highly biased (only the most motivated students will to participate might have been the ones who answered... and 20 out of 400 are not many, in fact, to call this a potential success...) "If students can't make it to the bin in IES for whatever reason, they can give their phone or appliance to a Sustainability club member who will be able to take it to the appropriate place." That looks very nice, but... Who are they? where can you find them? (1.4): "April 18th Steph Eastlake Work out the incentive system with IES ". This should have been designed before the deadline. Take pictures of the actions you've done, and upload them to this report (ask how, in class, if needed). (1.6): Avoid saying "I am the leader of this action" in the report, since when you read it, you are not sure who is "I". Just write your name "John/Mary Smith is the leader of this action"... Avoid referring to future things that will be done by others students: "Megan will also be doing the advertising action for this program, and Jenny will be the leader on packaging and storing these items". Just indicate what has been done by other students, and where (in which other actions, with their names and or links even better). The report is submitted at the end, when no more "X will do Y" is allowed, but "X person has done this thing" (no more promises for the future about things which haven't been done; if you don't like politicians doing so in their speeches/reports, don't do it yourself with your own reports). The two paragraphs after "Brainstorming: I am going to add to the recycled electronic appliances idea (...)" are "information waste" in such report. So either delete them from there, or move them somewhere else while integrating them in some other section of your paper. but don't leave "information waste" around... Update after second deadline: Congratulations for the improvements

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