POST B

Reflecting on the previous post: the methods for my own waste audit involved analysing the waste in relation to persons adding to them. Given my household, this was hard to track, so i only analysed my own wastage. Not enough variables were known, hence why I only included myself; I could not provide any real commentary on the wastage without knowing who contributed – the main food bin may have even been there for weeks or seconds.

If we apply this to a larger scale, it still makes sense; the data of organic waste is meaningless, if it is not explained by different variables. This data is only relevant, given its use, i.e. to reduce the amount of organic waste in landfill. Therefore, the variables are necessary to provide insight in how to deal with the statistics we attain about organic waste.

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Government agencies are doing exactly this; an example of this is done by the NSW EPA. They produced these key statistics:

  • The average NSW household generated 23.6 kg of waste a week, consisting of 5.1 kg of recyclables, 5.3 kg of food and garden organics and 11.7 kg of landfill waste.
  • The average person in NSW generated 9.2 kg of waste a week, down from 9.4 kg the previous year
  • NSW households generated a total of 3.47 million tonnes of waste, sending 2.02 million tonnes to landfill and recycling the remaining 1.45 million tonnes.
  • The overall recycling rate for household waste dropped slightly to 46.5 per cent, compared to 47 per cent in 2011/12

Most NSW households are generating 23.6kg of waste a week. The variables here are, organic waste, weighted against total waste, per average household. These statistics allow us to make broad generalisations of how much organic waste NSW resident are producing and those resources recovery rates.. Essentially the only important information in furthering the Waste for Wealth initiative is, that how much organic waste ends up disposed of unsustainably. The waste audit give us a way to outline, how much organic waste we could reduce.

But the problems of this scale of data collection are that the investigations are not intimate enough to know exactly how much organic waste residents produced, e.g. some organic waste may never leave the household. If the initiative is reduce organic waste from households, the process in which the organic waste is produced ought to be known. Advising people to compost more, is useless if they live without a garden. Convincing people to act more sustainable requires more information. A waste audit is not enough, but its the start in generalising how we ought to handle our organic waste.

As Laura Singer demonstrates, it is possible to live a ‘zero waste’ lifestyle. Her habits are an example, in aiding other individuals to reduce their organic waste. While perhaps a bit extreme, even if just some of her practices could be adopted, it would help many households in reducing waste: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYDQcBQUDpw.

Images:

References:

http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/warrlocal/data.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYDQcBQUDpw

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