Post C: Organic Waste Management

Organic Waste Management is important as it not only has impact on the environment, but also has significant economic benefit on the individual household and government entities. The disposal of millions of tonnes of food waste creates considerable cost on the community through waste collection, waste disposal and greenhouse gas emissions associated with rotting food has significant impact on the environment as well. (D. Baker 2009)

 

foodwaste-infographic2.jpg
Food Waste Fast Facts – Foodwise.com.au

The Australian Institute’s research into Australian household expenditure on food, ‘What a Waste’ concludes that we are concerned about organic food waste and confess to feeling guilty when we throw out food, yet our behaviour suggests otherwise. This is a claim backed by the South Australian Foodwise initiative, which highlights that Australian discard up to 20% of the food they purchase, or an average of $1036 of food is thrown away every year. To put it into perspective, this money is enough to feed the average household for a month. (NSW EPA, 2009).

While current household has waste management protocols in place, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that just over half of Australian household had not eaten left-overs or composted kitchen or food waste. They found that the primary reason for throwing out food was insufficient of waste to warrant re-use. These lines up with my own perception of organic waste management, with reference to blog post A, on how we don’t own a compost facility even if we live in a house because even though there are organic waste produced by our household every day, we don’t have a garden big enough to facilitate such a habit.

The Australian Institute also concludes that “a majority of Australian do not perceive food waste to be a problem in their household.”

– NSW EPA ‘Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study’ (2009)

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is one such entity aiming to change this mindset with their ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ initiative. Their extensive research is useful for Australian entities to understand the attitude, knowledge and behaviours of households.

UTS

UTS has also taken major steps towards maintaining a responsible and sustainable waste management system, such as using a co-mingled waste recycling system to recycle waste as well as performing audits on waste production in order to formulate sustainable solutions.(2015 UTS Waste Management Plan). Such actions taken from an education entity will allow more knowledge about effective waste management to be taught to coming generation, one approach that the EPA fully endorses in their ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ initiative.

Royal Adelaide Hospital

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.58.58 am
Tagged waste bin at RAH for recycling.

 

Hospitals are one of the most complex entities in waste production, with a plethora of different waste streams requiring extensive sorting, filtering and processing. Royal Adelaide Hospital, in partnership with Zero Waste SA Industry Program, has suitable infrastructure in place to separate and sort waste streams, and the most important thing is they have the initiative to educate staff and patient on the importance of recycling.
“This was all part of the education process and meant we could brief staff of their mistakes in a very visual way, information was put on the staff noticeboard to remind them of the correct procedure.”
– Pat Rossi, ‘Bin Detective’
As an unique example, all recycle bins are tagged in the hospital, and waste contractor will alert the hospital if there was any contamination, which then will be photographed and the section manager informed. This allows the hospital to educate staff before waste is even entered into the system, reducing cost, energy and time for waste processing.
Food is also removed from the general waste stream, with the material left over used for burning as an alternative fuel source.
With the above examples in mind, we can see how important organic waste management is, not only in individual households but also large government entity – not only does this reduce impact and pollution to the environment, it also decreases economic impact on all entities involved, allowing for a even more efficient society.

NSW EPA, 2009, ‘Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study’ <http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au/partners/resources-for-partners/campaign-materials/resources/fact-sheets.aspx> Accessed 6th June, 2016

D. Baker, J. Fear and R. Denniss, 2009, ‘What a Waste: An Analysis of Household Expenditure on Food’ <http://www.tai.org.au/sites/defualt/files/PB%206%20What%20a%20waste%20final_7.pdf> Accessed 6th June, 2016

Foodwise.com.au, ‘Food Waste Fast Facts’ <http://www.foodwise.com.au/foodwaste/food-waste-fast-facts/> Accessed 6th June 2016

UTS, ‘Waste Management Plan 2013-2015’,
<https://www.uts.edu.au/sites/default/files/WASTE_MANAGEMENT_PLAN.140301.pdf> Accessed 7th June 2016

Adelaide Royal Hospital, ‘Case Study: Upclose’
<http://www.zerowaste.sa.gov.au/upload/REAP/91392%20ZWSA%20UpClose%20RAH%20WEB.pdf> Accessed 7th June 2016

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