Project Title: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Campus Waste Sculpture
Sector: Higher Education
Location: Champaign-Urbana, IL
Service: Stakeholder Engagement
Background: The second phase of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Waste Characterization Studies also involved a public engagement aspect funded by the University’s Student Sustainability Committee.
Approach: ISTC staff members worked with a pair of graduate students to design and build a sculpture made from waste materials taken from the University’s waste stream. Plastic beverage bottles were gleaned from the sorting line at the University Waste Transfer Station and from recycling collections at various sites around campus. The bottles were cleaned, sanitized, and fitted into a mesh framework to form “bottle blankets,” which were then attached to a wooden skeleton in the shape of the “Block I.”
Design, cleaning, and fabrication took place at the ISTC building on campus. The resulting 7″ x 7″ x 7″ sculpture was dismantled, transported to the Krannert Center for Performing Arts (KCPA), and re-assembled in the lobby of KCPA, where it was displayed along with information on the waste characterization project–including the composition of the waste stream revealed by the study–as well as information on waste generation in the United States and reduction tips, how quickly the number of bottles within the sculpture would enter the US waste stream at that time, and other relative impacts. The sculpture debuted at the 2016 Sonified Sustainability Festival and remained on display throughout Earth Week.
A fact sheet about opportunities to reduce and recycle waste on campus in the broader Champaign-Urbana community was created in conjunction with the sculpture and make available on the ISTC website for download (via QR code displayed with the sculpture). Upon dismantling, the bottles from the sculpture were returned to the University Waste Transfer Station for proper recycling and framework materials were distributed to other campus units for reuse (e.g. wood was reused by the Facilities & Services carpentry shop, plastic mesh was used to protect plants as part of campus prairie restoration plantings, etc.).
- Sculpture to Raise Awareness of Waste Generation, Management During Earth Week (ISTC Blog)
- Now there is an “I” in Green, Art, and Krannert (ISTC Blog)
- Reducing & Recycling Waste: University of IL & Champaign-Urbana
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Waste Sculpture: I-Waste (main poster displayed with sculpture at KCPA)
Other projects with this client: