Interactive Socio-Technical Practicum

Evaluating Waste Management Systems: Kataula and IIT-Mandi

Students: Cameron DiSpirito, WPI; Michael McConnell, WPI; Yashu Madaan, IIT; Emilios Tachiaos , WPI; Amar Yadav, IIT.
Advisors: Dr. Paul Bhavender , IIT; Dr. Atul Dhar, IIT; Dr. Stephen McCauley, WPI; Dr. Ingrid Shockey, WPI

Mandi District in Himachal Pradesh India is experiencing increased waste generation due to economic growth and the expansion of the Indian Institute of Technology‐Mandi campus. This project’s goal was to develop recommendations to improve solid waste management at the IIT‐Mandi campus and village of Kataula. Data on local practices, waste composition, and resident preferences were collected using waste audits and interviews. Findings indicated a need for better separation techniques on campus and a waste collection system in Kataula.

Project Outcomes

The team analyzed the IIT‐Mandi waste management system using a SWOT analysis and identified waste separation as a major area of weakness. The influx of students from the opening of the North campus in August 2016 also posed a major threat to the current system. To address these and other concerns we developed suggestion packet called the “IIT‐Mandi Solid Waste Management Improvement Guide 2016”. This guide outlines a timeline for improving waste management on campus. The full packet can be found in Supplemental Materials. Part of this plan required that the campus update their existing separation bins with new engineered lids and permanent labels. These lids would limit the types of waste that can be easily discarded in a bin. According to Duffy (2009) such a system can increase plastic bottle recycling by over 30%. The team created prototypes of these improvements. These prototypes were tested over a three day period. Each day the contents of each bin was evaluated for accuracy. There was an average of 11% improvement in separation. Unfortunately, the food waste bin saw a 9% drop in correct contents.

Please download executive summary, report and poster for more details