Recycling Everywhere but Pratt

Although Pratt may not pre-sort its recyclables from trash, there are plenty of other places that do.

This week, new Envirolution-ers Katie Curto, Olga Lebedeva, and I researched what we thought were effective ways of recycling. We discovered that there are well designed programs and bins for recycling outside of art institutions, and quite a few of them are outside of the US!

Domestically, Katie discovered that the Rhode Island School of Design, despite being one of Pratt’s rivals in the art world, has implemented a materials recycling program for the students. She noted that RISD’s 2nd Life Program is a great way to trade unwanted supplies. It’s a recycling resource that gets everyone what they need for their next project with just a simple exchange. 

Clemson University knows the ins and outs of recycling, and they share their knowledge. With information about how, what, and where to recycle as well as a new and convenient recycling bin system, Clemson University’s Recycling Services have put recycling at the forefront of thought in class and around campus. They show students and staff how easy it is to actually recycle and what they need to know to recycle properly. If anyone wonders what can and cannot be recycled on campus, they have it clearly stated on their website.

Olga’s research reached further distances, as she found places around the world that implement recycling. As she found, a great challenge to recycling is the amount of information a recycling bin must communicate. The labeling, the colors, the location and the bin design all decide how likely we are to recycle—and to recycle correctly. Ideally, these systems would match up on an international scale…but should still leave room for some great designs!

This bin from Ireland uses interesting visuals, far more interesting than the usual silhouette representations, and text to communicate the category of each slot. Covers over the slots then keep the recyclables safe from wet weather.

While these covers are more aesthetic than functional, this sleek German recycling bin is interesting for its proportions: a smaller bin means more collections. Generally, this is a bad thing, but we can hope that in the future smaller bins incite people to properly and efficiently pack their garbage, or to simply reduce it. Remember that reduce and reuse come prior to recycle!

More like the green and blue NYC recycling bins, these Buenos Aires bins depend on color to help pedestrians sort their trash. The bins become more convenient and city-friendly by having openings on multiple sides, while still protecting the items inside with the top.

In my internet browsing this past week, I found some really aesthetically interesting bins.  My two favorite that I found are designed by international industrial designers- the first originates from Italy, from the designer Gianluca Soldi.  He designed these bins called “Ovetto” (based on the Italian word for egg).  They have a very organic, egglike form, and the separate compartments pull out for easy removal of recyclables.

The other hails from Hong Kong, and is from a company called Goodss Passion, whose three main designers are from all over the world.  They have designed the “Go” bin to transcend language boundaries: “GO recycle bins adds humor and clarity to recycling for people and our next generation. Its compartments are topped with sculptures of a bottle, tin can and carton as a universal language, designed to be easily recognised without differentiating by words or colours. This concept would turn ‘Recycle’ into an art form, to beautify our living space while influencing a sustainable lifestyle.”

I love the visual quality of these bins- there would be no excuse for putting the wrong material in the respective bin!

This research into bins made me wonder, if all of these places can recycle (and beautifully) then why can’t Pratt?

Let us know what you think, or which bin / system is your favorite, either in the comments below or on our Facebook Page!


About awalant

Anna is currently a sophomore Industrial Design major at Pratt Institute. One of the main reasons she ended up at Pratt was for the Center for Sustainable Design Studies, which houses a green material's library as well as is the hub for various green projects on campus, such as Envirolutions. Before Pratt, Anna was awarded the Milton Fisher Scholarship in 2010 for collecting crayons from her community, recycling them into new molds, and giving them to local art rehab programs and children's daycares. She hopes to continue doing green projects in the future.
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