From research completed in my previous blog post, where I underscored effective recycling methods in institutions such as hotels and restaurants, I decided to create an alternative recycling system for my workplace in which the recycling plan could be vastly improved.
As a result of a generally more environmentally conscious world community, plastic bags have been created from biodegradable plastics. These bags can deteriorate when buried in soil. Up until this point, I have only seen this trend at the park where I walk my dog, with doggie bags. I propose that these bags are used within hotels and restaurants for collection of organic waste. This would then allow this waste to be easily incorporated into a composting system. I opted to continue with composting as this is a tried and tested method which yields effective results and could be implemented almost immediately.
In this particular situation, the recycling would have to be performed at an offsite-composting centre. However, this centre would provide the bins in which the organic waste and biodegradable bags would be deposited. This would eliminate either party having to sort through decaying organic matter.
One of alternative methods to a composting centre is using a worm farm that converts organic food waste into usable compost. Whilst, I don’t think this is a viable option for the pub that I work at, it might be something for UTS to consider. With the continuing renovations, it may be possible to incorporate a worm farm model into the basement of one of the buildings. Creating a site-specific space would eliminate a multitude of health and safety concerns.
As suggested above, in large-scale organizations, recycling their organic waste on site could be more cost effective and cut down any transportation of waste required. Whilst this might be viable for an institution such as UTS who could use their compost in both their gardens and for surrounding community initiatives, it wouldn’t be as viable an option for restaurants and hotels. Therefore, in order to encourage these organizations, which produce considerable organic waste to sort and recycle their waste an incentive, would be implemented. Economic incentives are generally the biggest drivers to these types of businesses hence they would receive free promotion on a variety of influential environmental magazines and websites, which is becoming an increasingly popular trend.
Of course, in order to ensure that all of these ideas run smoothly an education process is vital. In the example of a restaurant or hotel, the owner would need to be educated as to the importance of recycling organic matter for this type of initiative to even get off the ground. Subsequently, if this idea was put into place, all staff would need to be educated as how to separate the organic waste and take upmost care in not contaminating bins with organic materials. From experience I know this would be a huge challenge as convenience is obviously a factor currently preventing the development of more organic composting schemes.
Puyuelo, B. Colon, J. Martin, P. Sanchez, A. 2013, ‘Comparison of compostable bags and aerated bins with conventional storage systems to collect the organic fraction of municipal solid waste from homes: A Catalonia case study,’ Waste Management, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 1381-1389.
Accinelli, C. Sacca, M. Mencarelli, M. Vicari, A. 2012, ‘Deterioration of bioplastic carrier bags in the environment and assessment of a new recycling alternative,’ Chemosphere, vol. 89, pp. 136-143.f