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Updating and Simplifying Recycling Posters

Haley Brennan, Sam Dimacale, and Sam Frensle
Environmental Sustainability- SUST 2100
Tait Chirenje
Stockton University
Fall 2017


This proposal is centered on the change that must be made in order to prevent recycling

bins from being contaminated by non-recyclable items. Our method is to revamp and update the

posters that are occasionally on the front of recycling bins around Stockton University. We

would also be adding posters where there is none because not all of the bins have recycling

posters on or near them. This idea came about after discussing how the much the student body

ignores the occasional signs that inform them on what can and cannot be recycled. The overall

goal for this project is to educate the Stockton community about proper recycling methods in

order to have a better recycling program here on campus. From our online survey we were able

to engage with students on what is confusing about recycling. We have learned that many of the

students on campus try to recycle but often end up recycling the wrong things or throwing

recyclable materials into the garbage. Using this information and photographs of the items sold

on campus, we created a design for the new poster. We plan to go through the Staples Printing

Center to get them printed and laminated. After hanging these posters up on or above 200

recycling bins on campus, we will monitor the effectiveness of the posters by seeing how much

less recycling contamination is reduced in these bins compared to those without our posters.

Table of Contents

I. Title Page. 1

II. Abstract 2

III. Table of Contents..... 3

IV. Mission Statement.... 4

V. Statement of Need.4

VI. Research. 5-10

1. Online Survey. 5-6

2. Campus Trash & Recycling Bins... 6-9

3. Project Rationale.... 9-10

4. Replacement Poster 10

VII. Action Plan. 11

VIII. Detailed Proposal Information. 11-13

1. Main Goal... 11

2. Finances... 11

3. Timeline.. 12

4. Resources 12

5. Success. 12-13

6. Possible Outcomes.. 13

IX.References... 14

Mission Statement

The goal of this proposal is to create a more urgent and educational atmosphere surrounding

recycling on campus. We want to inform the general public about what can and cannot be

recycled in a clear and concise way that is difficult to ignore.

Statement of Need

Recycling is a huge issue for the university. People are unsure about what they can and

cannot recycle which results in a majority of recycling bins on campus being contaminated with

unrecyclable items. As a consequence of this, the recycles get mixed in with the trash by the

custodial department. The remedy for this issue is simple; we must emphasize the importance of

proper recycling through education. The education and action are so important because the small

mistakes, like putting plastics into the trash, pile up and eventually become a larger problem. The

waste that goes to the landfill contributes to the damage to the ozone layer and that leads to

climate change. This affects the overall health of the planet and its inhabitants. While many may

think that this small change is not going to make a big difference, educating just a few hundred

people if not more on proper recycling techniques can prevent a lot of non-biodegradable items

from being sent to landfills. Recycling is a basic skill that everyone should learn. Learning this

skill now can have major impacts throughout the course of someones life and how they take care

of their waste items. This small change can have a global impact.


I. Online Survey

On October 16th, 2017, we released a survey to get a general idea on the level of knowledge

the Stockton community has on what should and should not be recycled. Our results show that

while a lot of students, staff, and faculty try to recycle on campus, a lot of people are still

confused on certain things should and should not be recycled. The images below describe our

most significant data:

Figure 1. A majority of people recycle more than half of the time. Whether or not the recycling

is being done properly is a significant issue.


Figure 2. The survey shows that a majority of their recycling takes place at home or on

campus. While it is easier for recycling facilities to sort through non-recyclable items via

manual sorting, post-grinding waste sorting, optical waste sorting, flotation waste sorting

densitometric waste sorting, and/or washing (Paprec, n.d.) Stockton does not have the ability to

implement these methods. This is why recycling mistakes being made at home or work may not

be as severe of an issue since recycling plants can work to separate trash. On campus, recycling

mistakes are detrimental to the recycling process.

Figure 3. While a majority of people at Stockton recycle, there is a mix of responses on what

should or should not be recycled. While a lot of people recycle plastic containers and pizza

boxes, it is important to consider that food waste and products heavily soiled with food

waste should not be recycled. Cardboard boxes easily absorb excessive amounts of oil which

interferes with the recycling process (Button, 2014.) Clean pizza boxes, however, are okay to be

recycled. Another thing that many people do not realize is that while plastic drink bottles are

recyclable, bottle caps must first be taken off. Finally, there were some responses to this

question that were just plain incorrect. Food waste and napkins should never be thrown into the

recycling bin.

II. Campus Trash and Recycling Bins

Throughout September and October, we went around campus and took pictures of recycling bins

with either outdated, unclear informative posters or ones without posters at all. As you can see,

the current posters are really hard to read with such small print. Also, the posters are relatively

straightforward but the students are not always certain about or paying close attention to what

they place in the bins. Despite the fact that the campus has moved into single stream recycling,

most of the recycling bins only say cans and bottles and provide only a small circular hole for the

person to place their recyclable goods.


Example 1. Poster on recycling can placed near A Court on the Light Path. While the font is bold

and clear, the information is not specific. The contents of this bin were very good however, there

were several granola wrappers and a Pop Tart wrapper.

Example 2. Trash and recycling bins on the second floor of the campus center. There is no

information given on what can and cannot be recycled.

Example 3. Trash and recycling bins outside West Quad. While this is a very informative

poster, the font is very small and the poster itself is faded and blurry.

Example 4. The trash and recycling bins located behind Laurel Hall. This recycling bin has

provided a small poster (left).

Example 5. The contents of the recycling bin behind Laurel Hall (center).

Example 6. The contents of the trash can next to the recycling bin with the poster on it. You can

clearly see the recyclable materials in the trash (right).

III. Project Rational

This idea originated from observation. By sitting in the campus center or outside the food court

near the trash and recycling bins for 30 minutes or so, you will witness a lot of people putting

things where they do not belong. This becomes frustrating because when a recycling bin is

contaminated with non-recyclable items, the entire bin must be thrown in with the trash and

nothing gets recycled. Simply being educated on what goes where could save a ton of landfill

space from things like plastic items that can take up to several hundred years to degrade. We

also noticed that on some recycling bins, there are posted instructions on what can be

recycled. However, most of the posters are old, faded, and hard to read. Coming up with a new,

simplified poster featuring images of specific examples of common things the Stockton

community uses and throws away would be a useful educational tool to prevent as much

recycling bin contamination as possible.

IV. Poster Replacement

One of the first ideas that came to us when we were brainstorming for this project was a custom

to Stockton poster that includes photos of actual materials that the students will be recycling. For

example, we would include a plastic cup from Dunkin Donuts or a pizza box from Primo.

Action Plan

After creating the final draft of the poster, we contacted Staples printing center and got an

estimate of the pricing for two hundred 12 x 18 posters with lamination. Using these posters, we

will replace the old posters and place the new ones on or above the recycling bins slowly. This

method will allow us to observe for any significant changes in campus life and how people are

recycling their waste. This can also be used to revise and improve upon the posters before we

fully implement them.

Detailed Project Information

A. Main Goal

The main goal of this project is revamp recycling education on campus with a sleek,

minimalistic, and easy-to-follow poster guiding the Stockton community on how to properly

dispose of their waste in order to maximize the usage of the recyclable goods sold on campus.

B. Finances

To get a specific idea of finances, we would first need permission on which recycling cans would

be allowed to have posters on or above them. For instance, the campus center posters have

metallic design made to complement the aesthetics of the building. However, the outdoor bins

that already have large posters would be readily available to be updated. There are about 200

recycling bins that would require updated posters. We figured this would be a good number to

start with because leaving some bins without the posters will allow us to see how effective they

are for further research and development.

Using Staples Print Center, we confirmed that printing 200 12x18 color posters with

lamination would cost a total of $2,398.


C. Timeline

Date Group Member(s) Activity

9/27/17 All Walked around campus analyzing and discussing

student recycling behaviors.

9/29/17- All Took pictures of various trash and recycling bins around
11/15/17 campus.

10/12/17 All Designed the replacement poster (rough draft)

10/16/17 Haley Brennan Created an online survey via to get a

general idea of how educated people are on recycling.

10/16/17- All Distributed survey via text and email to as many

11/16/17 Stockton students as possible.

10/24/17 Sam Frensle & Sam Counted # of recycling bins on campus that would
Dimacale require new posters

10/25/17 Haley Brennan Finances on poster creation (Staples)

11/8/17 Haley Brennan Outlined the proposal

11/18/17 Haley Brennan Formatting and editing the final product of the poster

11/19/17 Haley Brennan and Edited & formatted final draft of the proposal
Sam Dimacale

D. Resources

For this project, we would like to collaborate with ACUA. In the past, they have helped

Stockton in recycling projects including a project completed last year to make recycling bins in

classrooms larger to encourage more people to recycle. We are also using the printing center at

Staples for the creation of the posters.

E. Success

We will know that this project is a success when people are more educated about what can and

cannot be recycled. This can also be translated as being able to sit near a trash can and recycling

bin for over an hour and not observe any students incorrectly placing their waste into the bins.

F. Possible Outcomes

The outcome we hope to see on campus is that people are more educated about the impact that

can be made through contaminating recycling bins with on recyclable items. While people may

still be careless not always follow the rules of recycling perfectly every time, we believe that our

posters will prevent a lot more recycling bin contamination.



Button, K. (2014, October 16). Knead to know - pizza box recycling. Retrieved from

Paprec. (n.d.). Sorting plastic waste. Retrieved from


City of Winnipeg. (2013, July 12) Items that Can and Cannot be Recycled. Retrieved from


Appendix 1. Video on Items that Can and Cannot be Recycled

Appendix 2. ACUA Website on School Recycling

Appendix 3.ACUA Blog post discussing past involvement with a recycling project done by a

Stockton student:

Appendix 4. Environmental Protection Agency on Recycling