I live with my parents and in our house there are 7 people which results in quite a lot of waste per day. I decided to do an audit of just my waste as there is too much waste to keep track of for my whole family.
Food waste: Banana peel, tea leaves, chicken bones
Other waste: Tissues, juice carton, paper cup, paper bag, cookie wrapper
The Banana Peel
The banana starts probably in Northern Queensland (as are 95% of bananas in Australia), then is processed and transported to my local grocery store (Australian Banana Grower’s Council, 2016). After I eat the banana the peel ends up in the bin as I generally just throw my organic waste into the bin in my kitchen. This kitchen bin contains organic waste but also food packaging, plastic, bags etc so when this bin is full it is taken to the general waste bin outside.
What happens next?
Everything that goes into our red bins goes into local landfill sites. This garbage is packed into cubes and before are transported to landfills and when these landfills are full they are covered with soil and grass can be grown. These landfills also produce a waste liquid over time and this liquid is drained before going into our sewerage. Our landfills will be full in approximately 5-7 years at current rates (Ballina Shire Council, 2016).
Although this is how the life cycle of my banana peel goes, I know that organic waste can be disposed of in other ways. In fact, not sorting our household kitchen waste is not very environmentally responsible and this is the case for most Australian households. Organic waste in landfills is quite harmful to the environment due to the methane produced when it is breaking down (Cradle Coast Waste Management Group, 2016).
Composting is an easy and obvious alternative. Composting a banana peel would ensure that it produces less methane as it is the lack of oxygen in landfills that is responsible for the large amounts of methane produced from organic waste in landfills. It also breaks down rather quickly and is quite beneficial to the environment on a very personal scale as bananas will add calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphates, potassium and sodium to your soil (Gardening Know How, 2016). Even if you do not compost at home, putting organic waste (though not all types) into your green bin ensures that it is composted for local horticultural use (Ballina Shire Council, 2016).
Knowing about the life cycle of this banana peel and the implications it has for the environment, the impact then becomes multiplied for all your organic waste that ends up in landfills and if this is what is happening for the majority of Australian households then our habits must be reconsidered.
Ballina Shire Council, 2016, 3 Bin Urban Waste System, viewed 11 June 2016,< http://www.ballina.nsw.gov.au/cp_themes/default/page.asp?p=DOC-KVT-48-32-14 >
Ballina Shire Council, 2016, Mixed Waste Bin, viewed 11 June 2016,
Cradle Coast Waste Management Group, 2016, Rethink Waste at home, Tasmania, viewed 11 June 2016,< http://rethinkwaste.com.au/at-home/>
Rhoades, H., 2016, Bananas In Compost, viewed 11 June 2016,
< http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/banana-peels-compost.htm >