Our project was about recycling plastic for charity. We worked with Bahrain Association for Parents and Friends of the Disabled as this project was already initiated and ran by the Association to use the revenue to buy a wheelchair for a child in need. Our main objectives were to raise awareness about this project and encourage people to make long-term commitment to contribute.
The other objective was to help collecting as many as we can to generate target revenue of BD 140.000 (USD 372.00), which is two tons of plastic. The recycle factory wich the association has a deal with is paying BD 70.000 (USD 186.00) per each ton of plastic.
We set out with two main objectives for our project, including:
1- To create and / or increase awareness about Bahrain Association for Parents and Friends of the Disabled activities towards securing 21 wheelchairs for those in need.
2- To collect as much plastic as possible to sell and recycle in order to provide the monetary proceeds to the Association for buying the wheelchairs and donating them.
Our best estimate for the collection of plastic was three tons, which is equivalent to BD 210.000 (USD 558.00). However, our most likely estimate was to collect two tons, which is equivalent to BD 140.000 (USD 372.00).
Initially, we reached our target by collecting the two tons estimated. Subsequently, we exceeded our target and collected three tons in accordance with our best estimate. Therefore, within a period of three weeks which includes planning phase, we were successful in achieves around 100% of our target.
We used different methodologies to approach our objectives. We had contacted all our family members and friends asking them to be part of the project. This was the most successful method which contacting people face-to-face, the second best method was circulating a message (bilingual) Arabic and English through social media to our contacts, we were thrilled with the responses we got. Lots of people approach us informing that they already collecting plastic and they request us to cooperate with them to pick it up. Also some people approach us that they would like to donate the full amount of a wheelchair, which was unexpected.
A few recommendations and words of advice that we would like to offer future teams doing similar projects are as follows:
Lack of space for collecting and storing the plastic was a challenge. At the same time, because plastic is light in weight. It took lots of space without generating much money for donation, our advice in this case to make sure enough space and storage places are available in which to collect the materials chosen.
Another challenge we faced was coordinating with the different venues to provide us with their used plastic waste. The reason for this was the lack of convenient drop and pick up points. We recommend that where needed, proper channels of delivery and transportation are prepared before pursuing a similar project.
A different difficulty that we faced is the limitations in time frame, thus, a smaller objective or more time added would have enhance the results of this project.
Other hindrances to fulfilling the associations ultimate goal of buying wheelchairs for the disable include lack of sufficient publicity for their goals, as well as, limited resource availability in terms of moving and picking up the plastic from various areas around the country. Hence, these points must be thought out and addressed prior to deciding on a similar project.
Finally, the challenge of maintaining long-term commitment by the people is another concern that remains. Continued commitment by people for charitable projects can’t be guaranteed but for such a goal, continued repetition and awareness of the association’s aim in needed.
We learned from this project the following:
1- Even the best laid plan with details there will be always some deviations that exist that why we need to update the plan and accommodate the changes accordingly.
2- It’s not easy to plan a project with no prior experience, because there will be unknown variables that will appear during executing the project.
3- Problem solving in practical, where we faced lots of problems and we came up with solutions.
4- Communication with others is a main obstacle and its need a special skills where we could learn it during handling this project.
9 thoughts on “Field Project – Group 4 – Plastic Recycling for Charity (Project Audit)”
A few additional recommendations:
-To avoid having people throw non-plastic items in the assigned bins, you can cut out a bottle-sized circle from a piece of cardboard, and attach that to the bins. People will think twice about throwing something that doesn’t belong in there.
-Since empty bottles take up a lot of space, you could put a sign asking people to kindly crush their bottles before throwing them in. Also, dedicate a small container for bottle caps; this way, you’ll be able to easily crush the open bottles in the bin yourselves.
-As for the future of the project, my suggestion is to start an Instagram/Twitter account now while the project is still lively to gain followers. Update the followers periodically with how many bottles have been collected, how much money has been raised, and the results of the project (ie. wheelchairs).
First, way to go! Your project has much greater value than just the revenue raised and will have a much greater environmental impact. I think the advice about the cutouts is very valuable and reminded me to think about the ways that behavior can be adjusted to aid the project. There is in almost every case a hurdle or some marginal level of effort that must be weighed when a person chooses to participate in an event whether it is recycling a bottle or buying a sub sandwich. I think that it helps to clearly communicate the benefits or value with the participants in order to get the best results as you did with the signage.
The day I heard about this charity project, I started collecting the plastic in whatever form and thereby contributing in this project. we have put up a dedicated plastic collection bin in our office and slowelt poised to expand the collection in other projects also. I wish the originators of this project all the very best.
Great effort from the 3 teams that used the BIBF facility. Being the Program Manager, I was able to get the approval of the Operation Management in less than an hour. The recyclables needed collection bins which BIBF paid for and hopefully will be shared with DePaul. Now that the class is over,I ended up taking the recyclables to a collection site for I would like to maintain this drive due to its impact on the environment. These projects under the leadership of Prof Lori Cook were to be appreciated and I will be always available to support such projects if need be.
I think it is interesting you chose a charity that was already working towards something, and offered the groups’s assistance in reaching this goal. This is an idea I would like to look into for my own project. I absolutely loved the method of collecting plastic for recycling, then using the funds from the recycling center to purchase a wheelchair. You were doing two great things simultaneously! Although you thought the lack of publicity hindered your goals, I felt the use of social media was extreemly resourceful. You were able to reach people you knew, versus having publicity to the random public. I would think having the personal connection with the people made them more likely to donate to the charity.
One of the things that I really like about your project is the fact that it still preserves its footprint at least at the BIBF. It is delighting to see the plastic collection bins still around the corridors and that people are still using them. another comment which I hope will be taken into account is the fact that such bins are placed near the water dispensers that utilize paper cups in absence of a dust bin. in reality people appear to be disposing used paper cups in the plastic recycling bins which is not ideal however unavoidable. overall, this appears to be a huge project and hats off for putting this together.
I have to salute you guys for this great initiative! As mentioned by Ahmedj, the great thing about your project is that it lasted even though you have completed your project and graduated from DePual. I can see that you had gone through some challenges however you managed to overcome those challenges competently. If you guys had more time for planning and implementation I’m sure you would have been able to tackle some of those challenges in the planning phase and fix them accordingly. Meeting deadlines is a fundamental measure in a project and being able to delivering it amid all obstacles and within the time frame is an achievement by itself. “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” – Alexander the Great
I found this project very interesting especially that a lot of people around me use more than five bottles a day to drink water most of which are just thrown in the trash bins. I think the team did an amazing job with regards to the meeting the project’s objective, a simple indication is that today we can still see the bins at BIBF. It would’ve been great to continue running this project and with an on-going social media awareness. Overall, I wish to see such initiatives being undertaken on a national level and having such dedicated bins at every workplace, mall etc.
If I would have been on your team, and since time was a constraint, I would have suggested going to a company that generates a big amount of plastic per day (restaurants, schools, football stadium…) which could have helped the project collect plastic in big amounts from fewer destination. Alternatively I would have tried to encourage these companies to utilize our initiative in order to build a long term commitment to recycling their plastic. The project would then put the foundation of a recycling process for free (build relationships, set schedules…) in these companies and encouraged them to continue recycling beyond the scope of the course.
The project should have had an additional objective which is to encourage people to drink from glass bottles instead of plastic. A plastic bottle can take up to 1000 Years to bio-degrade and it needs 3 liters of water to package 1 liter of bottled water which in Bahrain is a HUGE waste.
As for the project in its initial version it seems to me that the challenges of managing the fleet have risen from the fact that bins were placed in several locations. I hope that the team was aware of the level of risk that is occurred when you have cars travelling all day on the road. Moreover, I am glad that the team took up such challenge (recycling) since people usually try to avoid such activities as the revenue from selling the garbage is not considerable.
I might also agree with you that prior project planning experience is an added value but I would want to emphasize that the experience in the type of project is as important. I don’t think if you ask an IT project manager to organize a wedding would find it as easy as his IT projects.