Organic waste is one of the largest components of the waste stream. The organic waste is composed of waste of a biological origin such as paper and cardboard (plant based material), food, green and garden waste, animal waste and food waste (Environment victoria).
If we want reduce waste, an effective waste reduction program must be based on current and accurate information on the quantity and composition of the waste stream. Therefore, the first step is a “waste audit”.
In order to further understand how much material will be wasted on one day, I have sorted items in my bins and conducted a waste audit of all the “waste” I produced, using a pie chart and photos. It was a lot of waste. The photos below show the waste that was in my bins after one day, which can be used to audit the waste I produced. Through the audit result, I found there are a lot of materials that were wasted in one day, and the organic waste is the main waste in my daily life.
As you can see in the pie chart below, all the waste is divided into different types: organics, papers, liquids, mixed containers and soft plastics. In the pie chart, organic waste and waste of ordinary paper created 3/4 of the total amount of waste, with the organic waste achieving about 50% of the total amount.
However, some of the organic wastes are sent to landfill, and burying organic waste in landfill is a serious problem that the community has yet to realize. I have picked an element of organic waste, which is eggshell, to explore its life cycle (see illustration below). I have explored the eggshell’s life cycle as a visual drawing that illustrates its formation and end.
Some of the eggshells are discarded as waste, which is not only a waste of resources, but also pollutes the environment. Additionally, eggshells include 83 – 85% calcium carbonate, 15 – 17% protein, but the lead (Pb), and arsenic (As) content is extremely low, less than 1PPM (Hunton 2005). So discarded eggshells can be used in the production of fertilizer. The abundant calcium in the eggshells will provide rich nutrients to the soil and promote the healthy plant growth. It can bring great benefits to the environment. On the other hand, it can also be used to make food preservatives, which will reap economic benefits.
As awareness of the landfill problem grows, some organic waste treatment facilities and ideas such as green “Alternative waste treatment” and composting are becoming more and more effective. I believe that the future green treatment organizations will definitely replace burying organic waste landfill.
(City of Sydney 2014)
City of Sydney 2014, Zero Waste—it’s the circle of life, Youtube, viewed 8 June 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W57cY7a5Q8 >
Environment victoria, Learn act give share, organic waste, viewed 8 June 2016, <http://environmentvictoria.org.au/content/organic-waste>.
Hunton,P., 2005, ‘Research on eggshell structure and quality: An historical overview’, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 67-71
Schroeder, S. 2016, ‘Waste audits : the dirty work of office sustainability ‘, Sustainable design for the built environment blog, 25 February 2016, viewed 8 June 2016, <http://serapdx.com/2016/02/waste-audits-the-dirty-work-of-office-sustainability/>.
Wastenet, organic waste, viewed 8 June 2016, <http://www.wastenet.net.au/organic-waste.aspx>.