Bin-go. The design and research process.

Our brief

As a group and with the guidance of our tutors, we constructed our own brief that would seek to identify a problem within UTS’s waste management and offer a solution. A problem we identified throughout our classes and research was that students, especially international, were not knowledgeable in practices surrounding waste segregation in NSW. Our Aim then was to educate UTS students in better waste management practices.

During our project we used ;Mind Maps, boundary mapping, stakeholder mapping, interviews, surveys, literature reviews, STEEP analysis, review of existing products and waste audits.


Mind maps

Mind maps were used at almost every stage of our projects. The creativity and productivity blog ‘Focus’ outlines many of the benefits of mind mapping, such as they present information clearly, they are visually driven and they enable a free flow of ideas (Richard 2015)

Personally it is a tool I use very often instead of listing dot points as I find it faster and easier to add new ideas later. To begin we used mind maps to explore our boundaries and the stakeholders. Later in the project mind maps were used to brainstorm solutions to our derived problems.

Boundary and stakeholder Mapping

We started mapping the boundaries and stakeholder by using a mind map to explore the categories and the contents of those categories that would be relevant to our brief. Our goal was to identify who was relevant and important for us to consider when conducting research and designing. We needed to identify boundaries so we would stick to what is relevant to our stakeholders. By doing this it would also help us to constrict our research and design to what we have time to conduct.

Boundary Map

Boundary Mapping of Project


Stakeholder map



Conducting Research

Literature reviews

To see what practices and insights already exist we searched academic databases to find the relevant and applicable literature.

Waste Education and Awareness Strategy: Towards Solid Waste Management (SWM) Program at UKM

The paper is about the introduction of waste minimisation practices at UKM (what is it). It aimed to assess waste management amongst first year students. The paper assessed a very similar demographic to ours as it focused on first year students. The paper showed that most student, around 60%, had a positive attitude towards the implemented program. It notes that that there is still a need for the university to encourage awareness through education.

Empowering education

The book by Ira Shor is about Shor’s 20 years of experimentation into learning methods. Shor mentions the importance of international education (through university) and external education (at home) to create social reform. It states that the education institution has the responsibility to embed good social practices into education to change social trends into the future.

STEEP analysis

The university of Pittsburgh defines a STEEP analysis as :

A tool for structuring thinking and key categories to make sure you do not overlook any is the well-known STEEP analysis. The STEEP analysis is a logical and effective way to begin.” (University of Pittsburgh 2017)


Our STEEP analysis was:


Multi-cultural environment, wide ranging food waste practices.
Varied levels of engagement in food waste practices.
University practice and student engagement and awareness not aligned.


UTS largely invested in waste management strategies utilising new technology.
Developing solutions for organic food and general waste will become increasingly important


Waste generated on campus from various sources.
Access to a consistent waste disposal practice is not defined. Various systems used as home and at university.


Potential engagement with Sydney council, kickbacks/ returns for proper waste management.


Bureaucratic nature of organisation complicates the implementation process.
Constancy will require changes to existing systems.
Lack of student representation surround food was management.

Our Design

From the research we had conducted before commencing our design we believed an effective solution with benefit from the use of ‘Fun Theory’. Similar to gamification  “the process of making activities more game-like” as defined by academic Kevin Werbach (Werbach 2014). Fun Theory aims to teach social practices by making the learning process fun.

Existing products

We investigated existing products that have used fun theory to teach or persuade people about healthy lifestyles and disposing of waste. Fun Theory has been pioneered by Volkswagen.  The website created by VW displays many examples of the theory in practice.

The following youtube video using bins is quite relevant to our design.

Waste audit

Before we delved into learning about waste management a couple of weeks ago we had created a waste audit. To learn how own waste management practices had changed we conducted a new audit following our education and research.

I saw a slight improvement of my waste management such as improved accuracy of waste types. We learnt the importance and benefits of composting but not how to compost or what kind of compost is appropriate for apartments. So although my waste audit has not yet improved dramatically I believe it will continue to improve as I have the ambition to start composting.


We believe that there is a lack of focus of education towards waste management and that lead to problems with students’ attitude towards waste management at UTS. Our research indicated that a gap needs to be bridged between UTS’s sustainability goals and student attitudes to encourage more engagement in UTS students in correct waste management. By doing this we believe students will be more concerned with how they dispose of waste at university and home.

I am proud and impressed with UTS’s sustainability goals but I believe that UTS has the power to expand its impact by better teaching its students proper waste management. By doing this students will take home those good practices and sustain them in life after university. The problem that I see is that university will not be credited for practices performed outside of university and therefore would not be interested.

Reference list

Richard 2015, Mind Mapping Benefits – Who Needs Mind Maps?, Mind Meister, Viewed 18 June 2017,< >

University of Pittsburgh 2017, Marketing, Planning and Strategy – Oakland Campus: S.T.E.E.P., Viewed 18 June 2017, < >

Volkswagen 2009, The Fun Theory, VW, Viewed 18 June 2017,< >

Werbach K 2014, (Re)Defining Gamification: A Process Approach, Persuasive Technology, vol 8462, pp 266-272

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