UBC Undergraduate Research

Compost Contamination at UBC : An Investigation into Attitudes and Schaefer Bin Accessibility Li, Jamie; Tang, Henr; Anderson, Marie Claire


With various environmental thresholds being met and exceeded around the world, it is becoming increasingly important for sustainable environmental practices to be implemented at local scales. Improper waste management and disposal of biodegradable materials can lead to the production of greenhouse gasses accelerating various other environmental issues past their tipping points. At the local level, it is easier to intervene on current waste management systems and reassess how to make changes to current infrastructure and systems that enable enhanced sustainability. The purpose of this research is to assess if compost contamination trends, at waste collection sites on the northside of academic campus at UBC Vancouver, can be explained in conjunction with waste producers attitudes towards sustainable waste practices. Data was collected through audits accessing contamination and accessibility were conducted over the course of three weeks. A quantitative survey was conducted to get data on how people on campus interacted with compost bins and policies. The audits had concluded that high contamination rates and bin fullness tended to occur near high traffic pedestrian walkways and buildings that contained food services. The survey concluded that a large portion of respondents followed composting guidelines. Respondents also indicated that unclear signage and excessive time consumption to be common motivations for compost contamination. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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