Friday, October 24, 2008

Princeton Football Recycling-- Followup

An inquiry to the Princeton University athletic department about the general lack of recycling at football games may prove to have been productive. Turns out they are updating recycling one stadium at a time. Well designed containers are in place at the new soccer stadium, with hockey and football to follow.

They have instructed their university student teams (more sustainable than my suggestion of community volunteer groups) to separate out recyclables when cleaning the football stadium, so the 2000 or so plastic bottles strewn about after games may not end up in the trash.

A larger lesson from this experience:
  • It's amazing how many poorly designed recycling containers are out there to be bought at great expense. The containers--stainless steel, $1000 a pop--are oftentimes chosen by the architects, who think about appearance rather than function. For an integrated decor, they choose recycling containers that look just like those for trash. Lacking visual cues, users don't stop to read subtle labeling, and so the recycling containers end up full of trash. The architects and the container manufacturers, through ignorance or indifference, sabotage the very activity they are supposed to be facilitating, and no feedback loop appears to be in place to change this.

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