rethinking trash: understanding the value of food waste

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University Apartments Waste Diversion Blog Post: April 12, 2019


Reaching Out to Residents

By: Emma Stanfield, Zachary Devereux, Caroline Schreck, Maia Rodriguez-Choi, and Elizabeth Popescu.


Towards the end of winter quarter, the University Apartment Waste Diversion team was able to conduct a waste audit in two distinct university apartments. These waste audits will serve as our ‘baseline’ audits because they delivered vital information as how to move forward with both target buildings and existing compost buildings. The first building we audited was 510 Landfair, one of the buildings to which a compost system was implemented last year. 510 Landfair has a challenging structure such that is has three dumpsters in the garage basement – recycling, landfair, and the newer compost. There are also shoots on each floor that relieve trash into the recycling and landfill dumpsters only. The results of our audit reflect non-optimal trash system. After sorting through the trash, recycling, and compost, a comprehensive analysis showed us that the majority of waste in each building was divertable. 510 Landfair had a total of 59.4% waste that could have been diverted from landfill. Our second waste audit took place at 558 Glenrock Avenue, which is one of our target buildings. This baseline audit was less surprising, since there is no compost system in place in the Glenrock apartments, divertable waste was unexpectedly high at 65.2% total divertable waste. We were able to communicate these statistics and a more detailed review of our results in the midterm presentation at the end of the quarter.


For spring quarter, we are focusing on tackling some of the challenges we faced last quarter, especially in terms of educational outreach to improve the rates of diversion in university apartment buildings. Our educational approaches will need to be distinct for the 510 Landfair building (with a compost system already in place) and the Glenrock target building. We will be running events with the residents of the Glenrock building to increase awareness of the compost system once it is implemented. Events might be waste sorting activities, tabling, and getting Apartment Resident Advisors involved with weekly activities and announcements. We plan to meet with our stakeholder, Erin, for ideas on how to approach residents and foster mindfulness of waste diversion. In the upcoming weeks we plan to implement compost bins on each floor of our target building, introduce compost caddies, and set up the compost dumpster to make waste diversion more accessible for residents. In the meantime, we are planning to share our progress and knowledge to the UCLA community in general during the Earth Day Fair. We plan to have those that attend the fair answer survey questions to gauge attitude on waste diversion as well as distribute eco-friendly resources for educational purposes.


rethinking trash: understanding the value of food waste