Though I no longer live with my parents, I am occasionally handed the by-products of their garden. As part of my One Day Waste Audit, I will mainly examine the waste associated with the life cycle of a Chinese gourd from my mum’s garden.
The four kilogram gourd was made into a soup with several ingredients. Waste within the house consisted mainly of peels from the vegetables and the plastic packaging of the noodles. Four parts of the gourd were considered inedible due to the texture or the difficulties in digesting it, so were disposed of in general waste or fed to my pet galah, Bitey. All of these parts were fully degradable, however the local council does not permit organic kitchen waste to be disposed of in their green waste bins (The Hills Shire Council 2014; The Hills Shire Council 2016) and a composting system is not practical as I have no garden.
Water was an integral part of the gourd’s journey. The gourd was grown with water; to wash it took water; the soup needed water as an ingredient; after eating, dishes were washed with water; and through the excretion process, water is used again, going back into the sewerage system.
Before water enters the home, it has to be treated in a number of ways including a filtering process consisting of a mesh filter, sand and charcoal beds, and flocculent; and chemical treatment by adding chlorine, fluoride and a pH balancer (Sydney Water n.d.-b). Wastewater is also treated whereby biosolids, used in agriculture and mining, is extracted, while other waste materials are sent to landfill, then the remaining water is either recycled or discharged into the waterways (Sydney Water n.d.-a).
“Wasted” water has been a longstanding issue in Sydney marked by the implementation of Level 3 Water Restrictions in 2005 due to falling dam levels (Sydney Water n.d.-c; Sydney Water, n.d.-d), and ‘Water Wise Rules’ in 2009 which have remained in place (Sydney Water, n.d.-d). Governments have implemented a variety of laws to address water wastage issues such as mandatory water efficient design on new properties (NSW Legislation 2014), and mandatory water saving devices in rental properties to bill tenants for water (Fair Trading, n.d.), while residents have changed their water use habits due to legislation and campaigning (Dolnicar, S. & Hurlimann, A. 2010; Randolph, B. & Troy, P. 2007).
My One Day Organic Waste Audit highlights problems concerning the highly urbanised lifestyle of myself and many Sydneysiders. It may be worth exploring how we can use certain aspects of Sydney’s water restriction campaign in order to affect the behaviours and attitudes of individuals, and look at how changes in rules and regulations or services at a local government level can give individuals more choice and autonomy with how they deal with waste.
At the UTS book launch, there was emphasis placed on the use of Australian ingredients in the canapés which potentially reduced the environmental cost of making of the canapés such as decreased energy used in transport due to shorter distances. However not all the ingredients were accounted for on the menus or the caterer’s website (European Catering n.d.). A major point of waste was the terrarium dish where a disproportionate amount of dip was used compared to the amount of vegetables.
Dolnicar, S. & Hurlimann, A. 2010, ‘Australians’ Water Conservation Behaviours and Attitudes’, Australian Journal of Water Resources, 14 (1), p.g. 43-53, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1756&context=commpapers>
European Catering n.d., Cocktail Menu, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2014, <http://www.europeancatering.com.au/index.php/menus/cocktail>
Fair Trading n.d., Passing on water charges, NSW, Australia, viewed 1st April 2017, < http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Being_a_landlord/During_a_tenancy/Passing_on_water_charges.page>
The Hills Shire Council 2014, Garden Organics – Green Lid, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://www.thehills.nsw.gov.au/Services/For-Residents/Waste-Recycling/About-Your-Waste-Service/Garden-Organics-Service>
The Hills Shire Council 2016, The Hills Shire Council – What goes in your green lidded bin, video, YouTube, viewed 1st April 2017 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAdtKnuQ-NQ>
NSW Legislation 2014, State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index: Basix) 2004, Parliamentary Counsel’s Office, NSW, Australia, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/inforce/f50e4649-3662-4c1f-8a92-c0dae7d041b1/2004-396.pdf>
Randolph, B. & Troy, P. 2007, Water Restrictions as a way of Moderating Demand, State of Australian Cities Research Network, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://apo.org.au/node/60261>
Sydney Water n.d.-a, Wastewater Network, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <https://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/how-we-manage-sydney-s-water/wastewater-network/index.htm>
Sydney Water n.d.-b, Water Quality and Filtration, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/education/drinking-water/Water-quality-filtration/index.htm>
Sydney Water n.d.-c, Water Restrictions, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/what-we-re-doing/water-restrictions/>
Sydney Water, n.d.-d, What were the previous water restriction levels?, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://sydneywater.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/397>