What’s in my garbage?
My one-day waste audit
Basic steps: conducting a waste audit
Record information (taking photos) > Organize the audit (using Excel) > Review the results > Reflection
First of all, I took photos once I produced waste.
Organize the audit
I decided a classification system and sorted all the waste into different categories. Then I used Excel to organize the audit. I measured my waste with items.
Review the results
After sorting the data (categories and items) of my one-day waste production, I researched some items and tried to find some useful knowledge about them. For example, I thought disposable coffee cups are recyclable; but after I had researched, I found that most disposable coffee cups are non-recyclable because of the plastic layers inside.
A waste audit is an effective way to discover how individuals or groups/ institutions/ businesses can recycle more, improve the practices of recycling and being more environmental-friendly.
After conducting my personal waste audit, I realized how much wastes I produced in just a single day; also I learned more knowledge about types and facts of different waste materials.
Also, I researched the waste audit published by EPA NSW in 2015 (link below) and learned knowledge about disposal waste with regional groupings of areas in NSW. I lived in Burwood (as categorized into Sydney Metropolitan Area/ SMA in the EPA audit). From the NSW Regulated areas audit, I found that the SMA area represents the second biggest contributor of total waste production in NSW; and up to 80 per cents waste that sent to landfill are from the SMA area.
Environment Protection Authority:
[Disposal-based Audit Commercial and Industrial Waste Stream in the Regulated Areas of New South Wales],
According to my audit, 40 per cents of my daily waste production are non-recyclables, and 30 per cents of them are compostables, which are food waste and food scraps.
Organic Waste items study
Most people usually just throw away the banana peels into cabbage can; so most banana peels end up in garbage disposal and sent to landfills, produce methane gas, a greenhouse gas which can exacerbate the problem of global warming.
However, I found out there are a lot of potential values of banana peels after I researched.
Benefits of Banana peels in compost/ Banana peels as fertilizers
Banana peels can be great fertilizers for garden plants.
The process of banana compost in a household compost pile can help produce rich organic materials, which can help plants grow healthier.
Ways to compost banana peels
– Put into a compost pile for fertilizers-use
– Directly bury the banana peels in the soil under a plant.
Values of banana peels:
Natural organic fertilizers, which can benefit plants.
Reduce the amount of banana peels that sent into landfills, which can reduce methane gas they produce and benefit to the environment.
Save money from purchasing related nutrients for soil.
*There are other benefits of banana peels that I found online:
Environment Protection Authority 2015, NSW Environment Protection Authority, EPA, viewed 6 June 2016, <epa.nsw.gov.au/resources/warrlocal/150187-disposal-audit-overview.pdf>.
Leibrock A. 2014, 10 things to do with banana peels, Sustainable America, viewed 6 June 2016, <http://www.sustainableamerica.org/blog/bananas>.