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The Weights of Discarded Garbage Essay

My original research was on the Tucson Garbage Project, which was a study done in 1973 by Dr. William Rathje in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Rathje, also known as “Captain Planet” and the students from the University of Arizona studied the waste from Tucson residents in order to examine patterns of consumption. My original paper referred to a comparative analysis of the amount of discarded waste from one week. The purpose of the study was to determine if paper is the most discarded item of garbage given random samples of two person households. The results can be used to make determinations based on the data supplied.

My original Null Hypothesis: Paper is not the most discarded item of garbage in one week. My original Alternate Hypothesis: Based on our data, paper is the most discarded item of garbage in one week.

In November, 2009, the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a study on the Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling and Disposal in the United States. This data was analyzed from 1960 to 2008 in thousands of tons. It was broken down by year and also by categories. Based on this data, discarded plastic has a mean of 34.53%. Referencing back to the discarded trash table, the amount of plastic discarded in one week has a mean of 1.12, while paper has a mean of 6.89. Based on the data supplied, Paper is the highest discarded item of trash in one week, followed by food, glass, metal, plastic, yard items, and finally textiles with a mean of .28. Based on the research data we can conclude that paper is the most discarded item of waste in one week.

Project Part II gave me some experience in researching a few specific types of data and gave me some practice in comparing data sets and achieving results based on these observations. Based on feedback from Dr. Tonjes I needed a more direct hypothesis to prove or disprove and I needed to actually take that data and use some sort of test or formula to prove or disprove it. I kept that in mind when creating the Project Part III.

Project Part III had us create a one page PowerPoint presentation proving or disproving our hypothesis. For this Project I decided to change things up and created a completely different Hypothesis and used a T-test for statistical proof.

* The claim (H0) to test is the mean household weight of waste paper is not less than 10 pounds * The claim (H0) to test is the mean household weight of waste paper is not less than 10 pounds

* Based on the data there is insufficient evidence to reject the claim (H-0)that the waste paper is not less than 10 * Based on the data there is insufficient evidence to reject the claim (H-0)that the waste paper is not less than 10

In Summary, the various parts of this project gave me experiencing in researching data sets, analyzing those data sets and making sound incontestable arguments based on those data sets. The Hypothesis I used in Project part 3 is very simple, requiring only a few mathematical formulas, such as finding the T value and the Tcrit value, which are very easy to duplicate using Microsoft Excel. Another researcher could easily replicate my study.

References:
Officer of Resource Conservation and Recovery, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. November, 2009, from http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008data.pdf Clean Air Council. From http://www/cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html. Biocycle.net. From http://www.biocycle.net/.

Weights of Discarded Trash. ITT Tech supplied Data Set


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