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Zane Middle School recyclable cleaning station

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Our team, Porta Possibilities, consists of four Humboldt State University Environmental Resources Engineering students. For our Engineering 215 Design class, we were given the opportunity to work with a local school, Zane Middle School, and improve their process of recycling. Our project was to improve the process that was currently in place of cleaning the recyclables from the school's cafeteria.


Zane Middle School currently uses 5 gallon buckets and a simple cart to wash and transport recyclables throughout the facility. This project will focus on creating a new more portable and durable means of processing the wastes produced by the schools cafeteria.

Problem Statement and Criteria

The aim of this project is to create a more durable, transportable, and safe cart to enhance the recycling workflow for staff at Zane Middle School.

Criteria Weight
Portability 10
Durability 10
Stability 9
Safety 9
Ease of Cleaning 7
Upcycled 6
Aesthetics 6

Figure 1(above): Client Criteria Listed by Weight.

Description of Final Project

Our final project is a cart that is built for durability, transportability and efficiency. With a stainless steel sink, pneumatic tires, front-axle steering, and steel reinforcement, the SmartCart is designed for maximum durability and portability.

A fully functional sink basin is operated at a reasonable height, which limits the amount of bending and stress on one's back.


The Pneumatic tires and front-axle steering make for easy and quiet transportation, and provides a great turn radius.


Steel reinforcement makes the SmartCart stable, strong, and durable.



Untitled 2.jpg

Figure 2(above): Time spent for the SmartCart.

Item Quantity Retail Cost Our Cost
Sinks 1 84.00 Donated
Garden Wagon 1 81.55 81.55
Clip Tension 1 3.99 3.99
Paint (Cans) 2 48.59 48.59
Lid 1 40.00 Donated
Lid Handles 2 9.98 9.98
Edge Tubing (feet) 8 1.52 1.52
Lid Seal 1 10.00 10.00
Sink Insulation (Cans) 2 13.98 13.98
Drainage System 1 70.55 70.55
Steel Legs 6 86.70 Donated
Total Cost 450.86 240.16

Figure 3(above): Monetary Costs [$] for the SmartCart.

Testing Results

To be edited!

How to Build

Required Materials:

  1. Restaurant grade sink
  2. Garden Cart (or other cart with pneumatic wheels on an axel)
  3. Steel corner bars (17" long) [4]
  4. Hoses (and appropriate sink attachments)
  5. Sink drain strainers
  6. Lid
  7. Rubber tubing (used as lid sealant)
  8. Metal mesh (for drying rack)
  9. Metal cylinders[3]
  10. Tension clip
  11. Paint
  12. Plastic tubing
  13. Wet cement
  14. PVC piping with appropriate corners,valves, etc.
  15. 5 gallon bucket
How to Build the SmartCart
[[File:|180x180px|]] Step 1 : Weld steel bars together (legs of sink) {File:IMG 1946.JPG}
Step 2 : Drill bars into cart
Step 3 : Drill steel bars into sink
Step 4: Measure and cut out the area of the sink workspace for the lid
Step 5: Attach metal cylinders in corner of sink area to hold the circumference of the 5 gallon bucket
Step 6: Attach handles to lid
Step 7: Attach weather stripping to underside of lid to act as suction seal for the lid
Step 8: Attach plastic tubing with wet cement to any sharp edges for safety
Step 9: Attach drainage system. System consists of three pipes that connect all there sinks and go into one central drainage pipe. Out pipe should be flush against bottom of cart, if not cut hole in bottom for the pipe
Step 10: Attach tension clip to sink to hold wagon handle
Step 11: Paint cart and lid as preferred

Discussion and Next Steps

To be edited!


to be edited

Project Goals

  1. Create a very durable alternative cart
  2. Improve upon the ease of portability of the cart.
  3. Enhance the workflow of the recycler
  4. Improve the overall experience of recycling wastes produced by the school's cafeteria


The final design includes a restaurant grade stainless steel sink( with three sinks) for durability and ease of maintenance as well as a garden cart with pneumatic wheels on an axel for portability needs. The sink is attached to the cart with steel bars to elevate the sink and for reinforcement. The sink is equipped with a suction sealed lid for insulation and safety. Rubber hosing is attached to the underside of the sink drains for ease of disposal of used water. Metal mesh is fastened to the bottom of the cart to be used as a drying rack for washed materials. All the sinks are equipped with strainers to catch any unwanted food matter.

Contact details

Isaiah Duarte - Merissa Coello - Erin McDannold - Brent Davis -