The recycling system in Pittsburgh can be confusing. Some research revealed that the city has been grappling with the issue for a while. Almost 80% of the garbage still goes into a landfill. In the video ‘Rethinking Recycling’, I present the problem space. While filming it, I realized that people have good intentions and want to help but the complexity of the problem is overwhelming. People think they are doing a good job of segregating garbage but the recycling system is hard to understand and packaging materials are composite.
The second part of the project is a presentation of my research on recycling practices and a visualization of different categories of packaging. Based on these, I proposed three directions or levels of solution spaces.
'The final project, ‘Tetracycle’, is a game made on Processing. The apparent goal is to think carefully about recycling but the less apparent design goal is to demonstrate how difficult it is to segregate packaging as they are currently designed. Certain types of material feel similar and can be moulded to the same form but how they are recycled are very different. For example, toothpaste tubes are made out of PVC, which is not recyclable and can contaminate the recycling stream, or HDPE, which is harder to recycle than PET but can be converted to wood-plastic and combusts completely if there are no additives.