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Economic progress over the last century has led to environmental degradation that is endangering the world we live in. Most people buy a product, use it for a period of time, and then send it to the landfill. This is not sustainable system, and is contributing to the destruction of our environment. Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced is wasted. That is 1.3 billion tonnes (1.4 US tons) worth around $1 trillion ending up in waste bins of consumers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices every year. Action needs to be taken now to reduce our waste; one way we can do this is through recycling. 


I chose to design a new recycling drop-off center in my hometown Savannah that is located in a convenient spot for people to use. This will be a place where people can drop off the basics like glass, plastic, and metal items, and also electronics and appliances. A big goal I had was to educate people about recycling, because without people trusting the process of recycling, the drop-off center would be pointless. I designed an educational building at the recycling drop-off center, so people can be informed on the recycling process and also the effects waste has on our environment. In this center, I wanted to include classrooms where people can learn from lectures, but I also wanted to include an exhibit that would provide a more museum-style vehicle for learning. I hope that through learning about recycling, more people will feel compelled to reduce their waste.



USERS: The users would be the citizens of Savannah, GA, USA. It could serve anyone who wanted to help make Savannah more environment-friendly, and it could serve students who wanted to learn more about the effects of climate change and the benefits of recycling.

NEEDS: The people of Savannah need a place where you can easily recycle things. There should be a drive-in area with different zones for different recyclable items, and it needs to be neatly organized and clearly labeled so users can understand where to go. There also needs to be a part of the place where people can learn about environmental impacts and become aware of the problems, because without awareness, change can’t happen. The place also needs a committed staff that will take their job seriously.

INSIGHTS: Savannah has for a while been in need of a new recycling drop-off enter. There are two in Savannah, but on opposite sides of the county and one of them is not very effective, while the other is kind of small. At the drop-off centers in Savannah, some of the employees don’t seem to take it seriously enough, especially at the one outside of the city; they sometimes just tell you to throw everything in a big dumpster, without sorting the different items. I’ve also noticed that though people know recycling is good, they don’t understand the effects of not recycling that are made on the environment. When waste is piled in a landfill to decompose, gases are released into the air and pollute the earth while also contributing to global warming. Something needs to be done, so I think this project idea will help Savannah become more eco-friendly.


The site in relation to the rest of Savannah

In Savannah, there are already two drop-off centers, so I chose a large site on the opposite side of town. One excuse I often hear people use as to why they don’t recycle, is that it is too much work to get in the car and drive to the other side of town to the drop-off center. Because of this, my site is located off the exit of a frequently used parkway, and it is right outside of downtown Savannah. There are two intersections that you can access the site by, and there are roads within the site that bring you around the drop-off zones and lead to the parking lot.


I spent a lot of the design process working on the Educational Center: Above are early floor plans and site plans. After receiving feedback from my teacher and peers, I improved my design as shown below. I chose the following design for the exterior because it would match the style of the buildings in Savannah’s historic district, for my site is located right outside of this area.



I hope you learned something from my project, and that certain aspects resonated with you. In the comments below, please answer the following questions and think about how you can reduce waste and inform others on the environmental crisis we are facing.

  • Are there any other ways you think could spread awareness and get others to recycle?
  • What are additional methods of reducing waste that you think others should know about?
  • Are there any additions you would like to include in my design?
  • Do you think an Educational Center like this one could be effective in teaching others about environmental issues and getting people to reduce their waste?



UN’s Sustainability Goal #12:

Recycling and Climate Change:




Project Slide Show:



  1. I think that you had a really good project in affiliation with the SDGs and the problem of recycling in Savannah, GA. The fact that you not only thought about the drop-off but also about the education of recycling shows how you paid close attention to detail throughout the project. I think that a cool addition to your project could be to offer a plastics workspace in the recycling drop off( look at this link I don’t know what plastics are recyclable in Savannah, but here in Charlotte, plastic #5 is not acceptable, so this polypropylene always ends in the garbage. With a plastics workspace, it’s possible to use this un-recyclable plastic and turn it into something new with a DIY project! I think this might be something cool that could be added.

  2. Hello Ned, I really like the designs you used. They are unique and usable. Answering your second question, I think the best way for a person to reduce their own waste is being mindful about single use items. Single use items are items that we use once and then thrown them away. This creates tons of waste that will keep on hurting our planet. If people use a reusable water bottle, they can cut out plastic bottles entirely. They can also use metal straws.

  3. Wow! Fascinating project, Edward!

  4. Hi Ned! Amazing job with your project! First, I want to say I love your inspirations, by your designs I believe that they are represented very well. Your designs are so detailed, and neat. Lastly, I liked how you incorporated a bit of nature into your project with including the trees. Once again, great job!

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