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Disposing Disposables

The problem
How to decrease the outdoor use of disposable dishes in the general public?
The solution
Public campaign and placing dish-washing stands in public parks
The prototype
Initial small-scale campaign and design of the public dish-washing stand
The societal actors
Scouts group, bike club, regional cities association, Municipality, Academy

Hosted by SALL , contributed by yairbh on 23 January 2022

This school addresses the environmental pollution caused by large-scale consumption of disposable tableware – especially plastic or other non-degradable bags and dishes people use when eating outdoors. They have targeted a focus groups for this living-lab project:

  1. people from “Etgarim” (Hebrew for challenges) – a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment and social integration of people with disabilities through outdoor sports. Members in this organization frequently use disposable tableware in a grove near the school after their activities, and so they make a good target for this project. 
  2. A group of Scouts - who also use the same open area near the school for their picnics. 

The school initiated a Living Lab workshop for students with the different societal actors. In this workshop they were introduced with the Living Lab methodology. They also took the opportunity to make mutual acquaintance (students and stakeholders). The main part of the workshop was dedicated to collaborative thinking regarding the challenge of extended use of disposable utensils by the general public, towards possible solutions. They worked in mixed groups (teachers, students, and societal actors). At the end of this activity, each group presented its ideas. The students were supposed to then take these Ideas and continue developing them. 

Co-creation event in ORT Dafna school

In addition, the students developed a survey for public actors (and the "users" in particular) in order to understand better the problem and its causes. They also used the survey to ask the users to suggest their own solutions, i.e., what would make them change their own behavior and reduce their use of plastic tableware. The students disseminated the survey and collected answers.

A question from the survey

 

After working on several ideas received from the community members (via the survey in the co-creation event), the students started mapping the open area next to the school, in order to find possible spots for placing a dishwasher stand. 

Drone mapping 2

Drone mapping 1Drone mapping 3

 

Another aspect of implementation was a campaign for the general public. The students initiated a campaign throughout the city, with the support of the Mayor. 

The Campaign logo, created by the students

They signed different community stakeholders to a petition for committing to reduce the use of disposable dishes in the city.

The Mayor signing the petition

Signing the petition

 

The campaign included giving away facemasks with the logo and slogan, publication in the social media (the school and mayor’s accounts), and ab article in the local newspaper.

The campaign's facemaskThe Mayor with the facemask

The students presented their work in an international event to other teachers and students in the SALL community: 

https://youtu.be/bf7NuI682r4

 

What worked well during the project?

The collaboration with community stakeholders. The teachers were surprised that a lot of stakeholders agreed to collaborate with them. There was a very good response from the Mayor and the Municipality, as the project subject was highly relevant to the new approach that the city wanted to promote regarding environmental Issues. Also, the Scouts group agreed immediately to participate in the project and contribute In finding possible solutions. These collaboration made the project much better.

 

What didn't work well during the project?

Due to the Covid19 situation, there were very few people outdoors in public space (during lockdowns, for instance). This damaged the project because the students counted on that for their basic research. They couldn't track and monitor people's behavior in public places. In addition, it was very hard to work for the students in different periods, and the activity was shorter than planned.

 

What was the value for the participants and what feedback did they give?

The students said that they are now more ashamed to use plastic tableware in their daily lives, and the same for their families in their homes. This is also the case in the teachers’ lounge at school - they replaced the disposable utensils (mostly paper and plastic cups) with reusable dishes, in order to raise awareness to this issue. In one school trip they used only reusable dishes - something that never happened before the project. The Scouts representatives told the teachers that they were very connected with the subject, and that they will act as change agents and start encouraging the kids to bring reusable dishes to their outdoors activities. A great value from this project was to the Mayor and the Municipality, who took this opportunity to leverage the city approach to environment and start promoting it with school students.