10. CityStudio – Plastic Bag Reduction Roundhouse







Project Title

Zero Waste City: Reusable Bags Research, Roundhouse Community Centre

Organization Name

City of Vancouver; CityStudio Vancouver


Waste reduction, single use items, zero waste, community centres, public facilities

Related Course Concepts

Social class/income inequality, Cultural identities, Waste from the food system

Organization Information

Organization Name

City of Vancouver; CityStudio Vancouver

Mission and Vision of Organization

City of Vancouver: Create a great city of communities that cares about our people, our environment, and our opportunities to live, work, and prosper.

CityStudio: Our mission is to innovate and experiment with the ways cities are co-created, while teaching students the skills needed to succeed in today’s economy and inspire action in the community and government.

Guiding Principles + Values

Please see the following:

Contact Information

Preferred Method of Contact

  • Best method(s) to contact: Email
  • Best day(s) to contact: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays
  • Best time(s) to contact: Mornings, Afternoons

Project Description

The focus for the 2019-20 terms will continue the work of previous LFS350 student groups to research and propose ways to raise awareness and promote sustainable behaviour change to reduce the use of single-use food-related items, such as plastic grocery bags. Community centres are publicly accessible activity hubs for local residents. As such, the City of Vancouver sees the opportunity to develop public outreach and sustainability education in ways that are informed by broad research, but are also context-specific and neighbourhood-based. The focus of this term's project is Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver.

Students will conduct a literature review on barriers to using re-usable bags, including measures that other municipalities, businesses and organizations have taken to address these challenges.Based on findings from the literature review and observations taken at community centres to identify target demographics, they will create 2-3 taglines/slogans to motivate residents to bring their own re-usable bags and some creative samples of social media content that will be submitted to the City and could be used for outreach by the City. The research scope and approach will be collaboratively defined with Paul Gagnon from the City of Vancouver.

It is anticipated that LFS350 Term 2 students will carry this work forward, based on the findings and tools developed in Term 1.

What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?

A "snapshot" of the impact of plastic shopping bags:

  • Around 2 million plastic shopping bags are disposed in the garbage in Vancouver each week (63% are reused as garbage bags).
  • Plastic bags make up 3% of shoreline litter and 2% of large litter items in Vancouver streets, parks, and public spaces.
  • Paper bags make up 1% of large street litter items.
  • Plastic bags harm marine life and are made using non-renewable fossil fuels.
  • It can take anywhere from 10 to 10,000 years for a plastic shopping bag to decompose.
  • Paper bags actually cause more harmful greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime than plastic bags because of manufacturing processes and they require more fuel because they are heavier to transport."

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • Collaboration
  • An interest in sustainability engagement and social media
  • An interest in municipal policy
  • Literature and market analysis of individual and consumer behaviour

Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)

  • Teamwork
  • Professional communication, developing social media content
  • Primary and secondary research

Is a criminal record check required? No

Project Location

Roundhouse Community Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

We're flexible. It's helpful to know in advance the dates that they have available to meet with us, so we can save them in the calendar and book rooms.

Project/Partner Orientation Materials Students should review these materials prior to the first partner meeting:

Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:

  • Visit to a community centre

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

There are various Zero Waste events on the City of Vancouver calendar of events site, should the students be interested. Attendance is not required.

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • the City’s vision, goals and targets toward becoming a Zero Waste community by 2040. I think students will come to appreciate...

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • the complexity of an issue that involves the perspective of many stakeholders.

Through this project, students will develop...

  • organizational, collaborative and interpersonal skills.

Organizational Outcomes

Intended Project (Short Term) Outcome

  • To engage students with the City’s efforts to reduce waste and encourage re-use.
  • For students to provide the City with suggestions or ideas for effective communications and behaviour change strategies that encourage lasting behaviour change and residents use re-usable bags.

Medium Term Outcomes If the student project is part of a larger project at your organization, how will the students' work contribute to the goals of this larger project?

  • We are hoping that the LFS 350 Winter 2020 cohort can build on the findings and recommendations of the LFS 350 Fall 2019 cohort, so there is a continuation of the project. The first phase will be the research and recommendations. The second phase is pending approval. and the second phase will be developing an activation at the community centre based on the recommendations.
  • To inform residents that the City of Vancouver is working towards zero waste goals and point them in the direction of the City's website for more information about specific actions, timeline, events etc
  • For the City of Vancouver to learn more about effective communication strategies (specifically catchy messaging) to remind/motivate residents to use re-usable bags.

How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?

  • Behaviour change can be a slow process influenced by many factors. We know that if we can create a norm around principles of re-use, there is more chance to influence public behaviour. We've been working with LFS 350 on zero waste goals since 2015 and the longevity and continued engagement with students and residents on these topics is contributing to keeping the zero waste values alive in our city.
source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/F2019/CityStudioRoundhouseCC