Redesigning the Recycling Culture at Notre Dame

Andrea Savage

Savage Recycling

I am studying the recycling culture at the University of Notre Dame. During my time here, through observation, I have seen a vast majority of students and faculty members unconsciously throwing away trash that can be recycled. Based on what I’ve seen, this decision to not recycle is often because of the accessibility to trash bins and the inaccessibility of recycle bins. Another concern regarding recycling culture at the University of Notre Dame is how informed students and faculty are about what can and cannot be recycled. It seems to be a logical step for the university to educate both students and faculty about the rewarding activity of proper recycling, knowing the positive impact long-term recycling can have on our environment. By placing trash into the right receptacle, every individual can have a positive impact on the planet’s condition. My plan is to design new signage for trash and recycle bins around DeBartolo Hall at the University of Notre Dame to educate faculty and students about recycling and to lessen the impact of recyclable material in the wrong trash receptacle. I will conduct experiments regarding trash and recycle receptacle placement in DeBartolo Hall to see if optimal placement promotes recycling. I’m hoping after achieving these two steps, Notre Dame will see a positive difference in their recycling culture and adopt more ways of informing students and faculty about recycling. I will be able to see if there is a difference by conducting experiments again once my signage is done, to see if there is more recycling in the recycling bins and less recycling in the trash bins in DeBartolo Hall. Recycling should be a positive experience and not a burden. With these changes, Notre Dame’s faculty and students will begin recycling more, creating a greater positive impact on our environment.