Where Does It Go?

Website Design, Illustration, Prototyping

Where Does It Go? is a fresh take on waste management. Waste contamination is a very prevalent but often overlooked problem. Determining if items are recyclable, compostable, or belong in the trash is important but often confusing. Where Does it Go? aims to give people the ability to make confident decisions about what to do with their things when they no longer need them.

WDIG logo animation

the problem

Waste management is a complex and inconsistent industry; guidelines for trash and recycling are different for nearly every city. As a result, many items get disposed of improperly, which leads to contamination across recycling, trash, and yard waste bins.

Putting a single piece of trash in the recycling can contaminate the entire bin and make it destined for the landfill. Proper recycling leads to a much higher chance that materials will be able to be reused, which can greatly reduce the need for new materials and the impact on the environment. Look up your local waste management guidelines, and don’t put your trash in the recycling.

WDIG logo and colors

the solution

Using Corvallis and Oregon State as its sample area, Where Does It Go? is a more complete solution to communicating waste management guidelines to residents in a friendly and approachable manner. More clear guidelines and information exist to prevent recycling contamination, encourage composting, and reduce the number of incorrect items sent to the landfill. Deliverables include desktop and mobile website prototypes, and printable posters.

the website

The site was designed in Adobe XD. Test out the desktop website here. Test out the mobile website here.

mobile mockup web mockup

the posters

Printable posters allow for easy reference to recycling and yard waste guidelines. If you are located in Corvallis and would like to utilize these posters as reminders of the local waste management guidelines, you may download the files here.

Note: These posters were made based on guidelines from April 2020, and may not reflect the most current guidelines.


the icons

A complete set of icons were created for all household items that I could think of that someone might wonder about. Icons are used throughout the platform, rather than photos, to provide a neutral representation of items.

icon set

the research

This project started with research on waste and wastefulness on an individual level, mostly fueled by own frustrations. What drives our choices behind how we dispose of our things? How can design be used to lessen the burden of waste on the environment? How can I get my roommates to care about recycling?

I found out that the majority of people are unsure of the waste management guidelines in their area, and have not bothered to look them up because they don’t know where to access the information. The guidelines for cities that are put on the internet are typically a few cramped PDF pages that feature small pixelated images to represent where items belong. Usually covering a few common items, people are left to wonder “but where does this item go?”

View the process book of my research here.