WE ARE WHAT WE DON’T EAT





a series of interventions in RISD’s dining halls to significantly increase composting and improve awareness about food waste, done as a work-study with RISD Dining. 

 

THE PROBLEM:


  1 
Composting facilities already existed at RISD

  2 
but  a weak visual presence

  3 
meant those facilities went underutilized


Using enviromental observation, I found that of students with compostable food waste:


 a pie chart showing that only 38 percent students compost, while 62 percent of students do not.


and user surveys revealed confusion and a lack of awareness about compost and food waste:


“I didn’t know we had compost”

“my eyes are usually bigger than my stomach”

“I just want to avoid spending time in there [the food waste area]”  



so after some brainstorming...






I worked closely with RISD Dining Services management to implement...



SOLUTION v1


a). awareness campaign 





b). food waste area redesign










But upon reviewing the efficacy of Solution v1 after a semester of implementation, I found... 

three opportunities for improvement:




food waste
sorting

sorting between compostables (fruit, veggies, napkins) and non-compostables (dairy, meat, oil) was still overwhelming for students
poster
fatigue

students are exposed to a lot of posters - making a standard awareness campaign only marginally valuable
maintenance
“creep”

a lack of communication with janitorial staff meant that the intended structure of the food waste area was not mantained




With these constraints in mind, I implemented...

SOLUTION v2


a diagram, showing the before and after, where the after has a more obvious use of color and space.

a). food waste area redux







b). interactive awareness campaign






QR Code scavenger hunt with interactive, actionable information 









postscript


As a result of the We Are What We Don’t Eat Campaign, RISD Dining estimated a ~90% composting rate for food waste in 2019, compared to a measured 38% before.