Along with the interviews, I created a flow chart to
depict the actions of users to visualize the possible areas for
digital intervention. This flowchart took my idea of different processes
for generating waste and attempted to find shared traits regardless of
activity; like cooking, gardening, arts and crafts, or DIY repairs. The
final result, this flowchart of making things, breaks up the process
as shopping(getting materials), making (some function performed with
the materials), and disposing.
Purchasing was inspired by my interview of people’s shopping
experiences. Again with quarantine due to COVID, we were unable to
naturally observe them performing these activities. A flowchart
was especially helpful in visualizing how people make decisions and
choosing what to purchase. Questions of consideration are not the same
between individuals, but are personal reflections that ultimately
decide whether or not to purchase the item. Common questions revolved
around price, company ethics, and personal health.
Using, is the primary function that I believe most users focus on.
They take a base material and perform some kind of action on it like
cutting, mixing, or moving. Once the action is completed, then they enter
another state of consideration like before. Reflection comes in questions
of quality and completion, either prompting users to throw away or continue
adjusting the object until completed.
Lastly, disposing is the final section in waste management.
The flow chart raises awareness of multiple sections of consideration
involving time, effort, and personal beliefs. Lack of institutional
support like waste bins or personal beliefs on the impact of their efforts
are very important determinants of whether an item is going in the trash or
effectively recycled. It’s important to note that these beliefs were supported
by both interviews. One noted the inconvenience of composting in their apartment
as the bin often gets filled up quickly and the bag tended to leak down his leg
while throwing it away. The second interviewee mentioned that it was an
unreasonable expectation to walk several blocks for the chance to recycle
when there’s a trashcan right next to them.
Waste management is not an end-process consideration. It’s important to
layout the entire, holistic process to identify possible ways to influence
people for more environmentally-conscious behavior. In the shopping
mechanism how can we make information for purchasing decisions more
accessible with the minimum required steps. In making, are there
certain methods that can be done to reduce the byproducts or support
the longevity of creations. And most importantly how can we get people
to care about their impact when disposing, especially when it may be
perceived as inconvenient.