A research project looking into the recycling situation in Taiwan.
In this research-based project, I looked into Taiwan’s recycle situation and challenges, and see if anything could be designed in a better way. This idea originated from an accumulation of daily observations. Before studying in New York, I used to live in an apartment complex in Taipei, and during COVID, the recycle room in the apartment were constantly a disastrous chaos.
Starting from there, I’d discuss this topic with my friends, realizing everyone shares a lot of the same frustration and confusions.
To help make up my mind on who I’d want to interview, I did 2 quick BS persona. One group is Pedestrian Pauline, which is mainly consist of citizens. And also Administrative Alex, who is a staff working in the government’s cleaning department. Base on these 2 personas, I listed 2 separate discussion guides helping me interview both citizens and workers in government departments.
On the citizen side, I realized that “confusion” and “frustration” are 2 biggest emotion they encounter in their recycle process. They are most confused by the categories of trash, what should go in to a specific bin and what should not?
On the other hand, in my interview with the administrative, I learned the procedure and the roles in the whole recycle process, as the map shown here. Realizing that, “Recycle Plant” is the main role of recycling ,that collects and distribute all the reusable materials. However, it’s a place citizens are not allowed to visit due to safety reasons. And if people are able to see what’s going on in the plants, it would really help with people categorizing trash in the early process.
Synthesizing the content I got from the interview, I realized the main problem is “lack of transparency of government’s recycle process, which would lead to other problems around it, including the confusions of categories, the low motivation to recycle, the mistrust, the frustration, and other negative feelings. So, my question is: How might we reimagine a way to bridge the information gap between government and people?
From there I started to ideate some solutions. I had a lot of ideas on installations or interactive elements, however, most of them seemed to only touch on part of the problem but not the whole. So then, with these ideas, I came up with an idea, why not conclude these all in an exhibition? And make it into a fun experience, so that on the one hand, people can learn through the process in an experimental and fun way, and on the other, they can really see what the government has been doing.
I began to plan my prototype with a concept canvas, listing out all that would be involved, to clarify my concept, my approach, and what the prototype would be testing. Also some references to support my idea.
Prototype and Testing
In the end, what I prototyped was the website introducing the exhibition. The exhibition is called re:CYCLE, it’s like a reply to this topic, and to let us rethink the process in the material cycle.