Racoon graphic that will appear on the newly installed trashcan.

This raccoon graphic will soon welcome visitors to Devereux Beach and remind them to pack in or pack out, or at least use provided trash receptacle, thanks to ELI students, Sophia Glover and Dani Bier (ELI Class of 2023), who tackled the IV pollution problem with a new trash can near the entrance to Devereux Beach.

Beloved as Isla Vista (IV) may be to its residents, this is not always reflected in the appearance of the town. Wrappers, cans, and bottles are frequently seen littering the streets and beaches of the otherwise picturesque college neighborhood. The litter problem in IV is not only an aesthetic issue, but it also poses environmental threats as well, polluting local waterways and harming wildlife. 

Considering how widespread the litter issue is, Isla Vista is surprisingly remiss for its trash cans. ELI Students Sophia Glover (Environmental Studies, Psychological and Brain Sciences, 4th year) and Dani Bier (Environmental Studies, 3rd year) sought to tackle the problem by facilitating the installation of a new trash can in Isla Vista. The project is a collaborative operation between ELI, Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD), and The Coastal Fund. 

Dani and Sophia determined that the best way to make tangible progress on the issue of pollution was to improve existing infrastructure; they, therefore, decided to apply for funding from The Coastal Fund to install a new trash can. “The trash can installed is better suited to reduce litter through its design–it contains a lid so animals and wind cannot pull trash out of it–and additionally promotes better habits through catchy graphics,” Sophia explains. “This project is also acting as a pilot project for IVRPD, as a sample to see the benefits of improved infrastructure.”

The newly installed trash can, graphics soon to be added. 

Changes to city infrastructure are not without their challenges, and Dani and Sophia were able to navigate the ins and outs of funding, regulation, and approval with the help of ELI and their mentor, Molly Troup, of the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper: “It was helpful to have structure and resources through ELI. A lot of our goals that we accomplished would have been difficult without access to a mentor and other resources… [Molly] provided valuable insight into communications methods and brainstorming for our project. It was also great to work in a partnership on this project, as it provided a form of accountability and also expanded our goals and ideas.” 

Dani and Sophia’s project helps mitigate harmful litter and makes it easier for the residents of Isla Vista to keep their community clean. The newly installed receptacle can be seen near the beach access point at the end of 68 Del Playa, towards the entrance to Devereux Beach.