by James Yarussi here
Last updated on Apr 27 2023
for Data Visualization for Allwith Prof. Jack DoughertyTrinity College, Hartford CT, USA
Hartford and its surrounding areas are home to nearly 900,000 people. This includes people from all demographics and races, and within a world that is constantly inventing and evolving there is only one thing that is moving at the same rate as our humanity. The answer is our waste and recycling products. It is known that all around the world, the amount of recycling being produced has only increased as time goes on. We are currently living in a plastic-age of life. Let it be known that nearly half of the plastic ever made in the world has only been made in the past 13 years. But how does this affect us? How does this affect the town that I am living in? How much am I contributing to this issue? Well let's take a look within our own backyard and see how responsible we, the people in the surrounding Hartford area, are for this.To do this I found data from CT Deep that gives us the total tons of recyclables from varying collection sites within Connecticut, more specifically near Hartford, and in order to answer our question I compiled the total recyclables values for each town as a whole. Then I needed to separate them by municipal and residential tons, and the just residential tons alone.
I created a Spreadsheet (linked in work cited) that expresses the required data that will be utilized to show the discrepancy, in pounds, between residential recyclables total and nonresidential totals by day. This data will be shown as Chart 1 and will go hand-in-hand with the data in a map known as Map 1.Chart 1- Data Overview of the Total Recyclables Produced Each Day by Pound in Hartford Area This data may seem overwhelming but will be easier seen in visualizations as a chart and as Map 1 to help illustrate the discrepancies and the data expressed in the spreadsheet . The first stage of this design is to find out how much municipalities affected the number of recyclables near Hartford. This allows us to separate the commercial numbers from the residential, allowing for more accurate data per person without inflated rates and biases for each. To do this we created maps based off of the non-residential and residential pounds per day and then a map of the combined weights to see how they compared to other town totals. The data used for this will be illustrated in this map and, for reference, it is using the first 5 columns on the Google Sheet screenshot. Map 1- Recyclables demographic of Both Residential and Municipal This data represents the pounds of recyclables in the towns near Hartford by day with both residential and non-residential included. The map below represents the same data but with Non-Resident amounts taken out. So, quite simply, it just represents the Residential totals by day. Let it be known that ALL maps will be using the same legend values in order to help demonstrate the most accurate comparison of the main sources of our recycling.
Map 2- Recyclable Demographic for Residents AloneThis data represents the pounds of recyclables in the towns near Hartford by day with both residential and non-residential included. The map below represents the same data but with Non-Resident amounts taken out. So, quite simply, it just represents the Residential totals by day. Let it be known that ALL maps will be using the same legend values in order to help demonstrate the most accurate comparison of the main sources of our recycling.
To get the more advanced calculation results, like the pounds per day and per year. I took the averages from all the towns recyclables near Hartford for both non-residential and residential, then just residents alone, and then the non-residentials alone. Then I found the number of tons that would be used per year by an “individual”. From there I converted it to a more understandable unit, pounds, to make it easier to visualize as the reader, as well as allowing for the legend to make more sense. After this, I divided it by 365 to get the pounds of recyclables per day. I did this for both maps and used the same legend to express the discrepancy between only resident values and with both residents and larger municipalities included. These calculated values can be found in the google sheet, which is pasted under sources.This map expresses the data similar to the style of that of Map 2, however it expresses the recyclables for Non Residents. This includes: Businesses, Municipalities…etc, quite simply everything that isn’t produced by residents privately. This graph is useful because you can see how the colors for Map 2 and Map 3 can be combined to form the total recyclable pounds by day for each town, which is shown in Map 1
Following the creation of the maps I later learned that I seemed to have a slight issue with my population data within each of the towns. To combat this I needed an additional source of town data from another spreadsheet which will be included in my sources. This could potentially affect my calculations but not enough to make the data invalid. Additionally, I also found that the data I found from CT DEEP did not have values from 4 different recycling departments within all of Connecticut. One of these issues came from the town of Avon, which is the one of the towns utilized in the maps. The values for one of the recycling facilities did not provide numbers for both residential and municipal. Rather it was just one number in a “mixed” section of data combining both municipal and residentials recycling. The lack of these values can create a slight discrepancy from the actual number we are looking for and make the map appear slightly different than it should for the town of Avon.