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The Waste Picking Initiative

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Waste pickers are the victims of harsh economic and social factors that have hurt many<br/>developing countries and billions of people around the world. Due to the rise of industrialization<br/>since the

Waste pickers are the victims of harsh economic and social factors that have hurt many<br/>developing countries and billions of people around the world. Due to the rise of industrialization<br/>since the 19th century, waste and disposable resources have been discarded around the world to<br/>provide more resources, products, and services to wealthy countries. This has put developing<br/>countries in a precarious position where people have had very few economic opportunities<br/>besides taking on the role of waste pickers, who not only face physical health consequences due<br/>to the work they do but also face exclusion from society due to the negative views of waste<br/>pickers. Many people view waste pickers as scavengers and people who survive off of doing<br/>dirty work, which creates tensions between waste pickers and others in society. This even leads<br/>to many countries outlawing waste picking and has led to the brutal treatment of waste pickers<br/>throughout the world and has even led to thousands of waste pickers being killed by anti-waste<br/>picker groups and law enforcement organizations in many countries.<br/>Waste pickers are often at the bottom of supply chains as they take resources that have<br/>been used and discarded, and provide them to recyclers, waste management organizations, and<br/>others who are able to turn these resources into usable materials again. Waste pickers do not have<br/>many opportunities to rise above the situation they are in as waste picking has become the only<br/>option for many people who need to provide for themselves and their families. They are not<br/>compensated very well for the work they do, which also contributes to the situation where waste<br/>pickers are forced into a position of severe health risks, backlash from society and governments,<br/>not being able to seek better opportunities due to a lack of earning potential, and not being<br/>connected with end-users. Now is the time to create new business models that solve these large<br/>problems in our global society and create a sustainable way to ensure that waste pickers are<br/>treated properly around the world.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Circulearning: Ethical Circular Economy Education

Description

Though about 75 percent of American waste is recyclable, only 30 percent of it is actually recycled and less than ten percent of plastics disposed of in the United States

Though about 75 percent of American waste is recyclable, only 30 percent of it is actually recycled and less than ten percent of plastics disposed of in the United States in 2015 were recycled. A statistic like this demonstrates the immense need to increase recycling rates in order to move towards cultivating a circular economy and benefiting the environment. With Arizona State University’s (ASU) extensive population of on-campus students and faculty, our team was determined to create a solution that would increase recycling rates. After conducting initial market research, our team incentives or education. We conducted market research through student surveys to determine the level of knowledge of our target audience and barriers to entry for local recycling and composting resources. Further, we gained insight into the medium of recycling and sustainability programs they would be interested in participating in. Overall, the results of our surveys demonstrated that a majority of students were interested in participating in these programs, if they were not already involved, and most students on-campus already had access to these resources. Despite having access to these sustainable practices, we identified a knowledge gap between students and their information on how to properly execute sustainable practices such as composting and recycling. In order to address this audience, our team created Circulearning, an educational program that aims to bridge the gap of knowledge and address immediate concerns regarding circular economy topics. By engaging audiences through our quick, accessible educational modules and teaching them about circular practices, we aim to inspire everyone to implement these practices into their own lives. Though our team began the initiative with a focus on implementing these practices solely to ASU campus, we decided to expand our target audience to implement educational programs at all levels after discovering the interest and need for this resource in our community. Our team is extremely excited that our Circulearning educational modules have been shared with a broad audience including students at Mesa Skyline High School, ASU students, and additional connections outside of ASU. With Circulearning, we will educate and inspire people of all ages to live more sustainably and better the environment in which we live.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05