Summer 2019 – 497-311: Innovating & Prototyping University-Based Recycling Solutions at Illinois Tech

Meeting Day/Time
Session B (6/3 to 7/27) on Mondays/Wednesdays from 1:50 to 4:15 pm
Matthew Shapiro (Social Sciences) (
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome.

It has been over eight years since Illinois Tech received the Princeton Review’s best “green” rating among universities in Illinois. Building on this success, and in coordination with the Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability, this IPRO will prototype state-of-the-art recycling solutions for Illinois Tech.

The IPRO project will begin with a comprehensive survey of recycling programs and best practices across domestic and foreign universities, focusing on their efficiency, effectiveness, and feasibility. In conjunction with the needs of the Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability as well as Illinois Tech’s Facilities Department, IPRO participants will also assess the key recycling issues faced by Illinois Tech.

The following issues, among others as identified by the IPRO team, may be addressed: alleviating confusion for students about how to effectively recycle on campus; implementing new recycling processes (receptacle design, collection, and preparation for pickup by recycling hauler); improving coordination between recycling efforts at Illinois Tech with the City of Chicago as well as with other local universities; increasing food waste diversion to the on-campus composter; creating a data collection process for regular auditing of Illinois Tech’s waste diversion rates, the information of which would be posted on the Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability’s website.

The IPRO team will be undertaking cost-benefit analyses and impact assessments of recycling at Illinois Tech. Throughout the semester, the team will interview critical stakeholders – the Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability, the Facilities Department, haulers of recycling materials, students active in Illinois Tech’s environmental community – to assess prototype feasibility. The team will be designing and field-testing prototypes to determine feasibility and obtain feedback from users and stakeholders. Our aim is to deploy the prototypes on campus for further testing, evaluation and adoption.


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