Sustain CMU is a project addressing waste management issues on CMU's campus. Carnegie Mellon has given their on-campus dining options 100% compostable packaging and intends to start offering compost bins in on-campus housing, but thus far their efforts to encourage correct waste disposal among the students seem to be ineffective. We are trying to come up with a solution that will close the knowledge gap and/or incentivize students to dispose of their waste correctly.
Team Lead: Kelly Wang
Other Members: Erica Fu, Catherine Liu, Julianna Bolivar
Past Members: Megan Lin, Seiji Yang, Apurvaa Anand, Anastasia Raicevic, Alana Wu, Sarah Xi, Michelle Zhang, Shannon Lin, Eric Zhao
Deborah Steinberg (CMU Green Practices)
Spring 2021-Spring 2022
The project originally focused on reducing plastic waste, especially in the face of the pandemic.
We did surveys and interviews with CMU students, and also did interviews with people who were knowledgeable about the topic: students in Sustainable Earth, CMU's environmental coordinator, CMU's chief risk officer, a researcher in CMU's Green Design Institute, a CMU professor who teaches Sustainable Materials, and a CMU professor who does transition design.
On the pandemic:
Based on the insights we got from the Immerse step, and because campus activity seemed like it would soon return to normal, we decided to focus instead on proper waste management on campus.
We came up with a variety of possible design solutions and sorted them based on the amount of effort it would take (lower = less effort, higher = more effort) and whether it focused on increasing knowledge of the issue (to the left) or increasing convenience/motivation (to the right). In addition to improved signage, we came up with ideas like interactive message boards, a weekly "recycling day" for dorms, a composting leaderboard, an "unsure trash" bin, and an educational game.
We used parallel prototyping to answer three different questions about making recycling and composting signage: