Trash to Treasure: Inventory and Euro System of Recycled Electronics
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
3.7. Copyright license of your report
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
5. References & Links
"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 » 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
Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)