Friday, July 3, 2015

ENVS 400 Independent Study - Daniel Woods - Project Proposal

Recycling is the most obvious, easiest, and best thing in terms of cost-benefit analysis that can be done to improve the sustainability of our society. Unfortunately, only 35% of households and 10% of businesses recycle their waste. Making new packaging and products using recycled material, rather than virgin materials, saves huge amounts of energy for virtually every type of material. Here are a few examples:
1. Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two person household for one year.
2.      2. It requires 95% less energy and water to recycle a can than it does to create a can from virgin materials.
3.      3. Recycling cardboard only takes 75% of the energy needed to make new cardboard.
Project Goal
 Improve the percentage of households and businesses that recycle in Gunnison by helping them start recycling pickup at their buildings and informing on how to recycle in the city of Gunnison.
Reason for Doing Project
 Gunnison’s recycling program is disorganized, separated geographically, and hard to use. Information is not readily available in one public place on how to recycle; for example, directions for how and where to recycle alkaline batteries are not present on the City of Gunnison’s website (, but they are on the Gunnison County website ( And where is the proper place to recycle alkaline batteries? Not the recycling center- the post office! Another example of difficult recycling is for electronics, which are accepted at the Gunnison Public Works building for only 3.5 hours a week: Monday from 1:30pm to 4pm. In addition to having scattered places where recycling is dropped off, residential recycling service requires that all different materials be sorted into different bins, even different colors of glass. On top of this, the City of Gunnison will only provide a home with four bins. As there are more than four different kinds of materials that have to be recycled, this leaves person to either find more bins themselves or to throw away some of their recyclables. These very specific rules for recycling in Gunnison are not easily apparent, leading to less than perfect rates of recycling.
Methods for Accomplishing Goal:  
1.      Create a pamphlet that compiles all information on how, where, and when to recycle all possible materials, as well as instructions on how to start recycling service at a home, that can be widely distributed and easily understood.
2.      Set up a stand at the 4th of July festivities where the pamphlet can be passed out. I will be able to interact with the public in person, and encourage them to call the Gunnison Public Works Department to have recycling service started at their homes.

3.      Distribute pamphlets to local coffee shops, as well as to the Gunnison Public Works Dept., so they can pass out pamphlets as well.

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