Post D: What we can do

Improvements for UTS organic waste management:

In order to successfully divert organics from landfills we need to stop them from entering the co-mingled bins at UTS. Hear I propose a new bin separation system and bin signage. Along side co-mingle bins at UTS an organics bin will be placed to encourage staff and students to place organics in these specific bin. Post implementation a analysis of where these bins will be most beneficial could help in ensuring organic waste is reaching the right bins. Such places would definitely include bars, cafes, food court, covering food consumption areas at UTS, (UTS Green, 2013).

As mentioned above a key element of this is educating staff and students as to change bin habits and therefore lead to a successful implementation where organics are separated from the co-mingled bin system. An element of notifying staff and students of the changes initially could be the use of posts, similar to a marketing campaign with a clear message about recycling organics separately from compost to stop them ending up in landfill such as ‘give to the garden NOT landfill’. This is a crucial element as people are more likely to change their habits if they understand the reasoning and benefit behind the alternative action of organics separation and where it is going. An incorporated element to making this bin implementation successful is the designing of the bins. By extending the design of the bin from just being a bin to something more interesting or potentially interactive you are able to make people present. This is an important aspect as throwing out your rubbish has defiantly become an automated task; where throw it away and someone else takes care of it. But causing a person to become present you are able to engage and inform them in the action of recycling properly and know why they are recycling. By informing this person you stop them from mixing up the bins, they can also pass this information on to others and also make more conscious organic recycling choices in other aspects of their life such as at home. Elements of this design would be highly visual, simply clear messages, may include relevant statistics to communicate a strong action changing message to UTS staff and students (Institute for Sustainable Futures, 2012).

Bin board Brainstorm:

All these bins have elements from above that make them a successful bin. In the first section the use of universal colouring and simple integrative design of the different bins. In the second column these bin work at using clear labelling and colour separation for clear use for the consumer. In the third column these bins are more eye catching and interactive. I included these bins as the grab our attention make you ask questions and become inquisitive which is part f that break the subconscious process of throwing away waste. All these bins bring important elements which should be considered when designing a bin separation system.

bins.jpg

A future proposal for UTS organic waste management once up and running and successful has the potential to expand into the local community. Encouraging local businesses to give us their organics waste as well by inserting our UTS organic bins within their business. From here creating a significant amount of organic waste UTS could move towards investing in an anaerobic digestion system to create biogas renewable energy to power UTS if left with the problem of having excess composting. This could help contribute to making UTS a more fully green energy organization. To see more on the potential for UTS organic waste watch Paul Sellew exploring everything composting potential Click Here. (Sellew, 2013).

Other ideas for UTS organic and overall waste management:

  • Signage and education on recycling paper only through specific paper bins. Currently “almost the same volume of paper is currently thrown into UTS garbage bins as is put into paper recycling bins”. When placed in co-mingled bins the paper becomes spoiled and can only be used in lower grade recycling. By educating staff and students you can hopefully change these bin habits as well.
  • In order minimize organic waste has UTS moved up the hierarchy and evaluated cafes and food court menus to examine weather alternative recipes could be less wasteful or waste reduce. Further within food audits look at their ordering and preparation to see if knew skills can be used the minimize waste in the kitchen.
  • At the Bluebird Brekkie Bar could this be incorporating wasted food e.g. left overs into its food offering? They could source this from current UTS cafes and local businesses such as Woolworths.
  • When investigating waste management UTS could benefit from a more in-depth analysis into the general waste being sent to landfill at Wastefree Recycling. This would aloud UTS to see ration of waste elements and what types of soft plastics are being sent to landfill. This could then lead to further investigation of how these products can be managed and divert from landfill as well.
  • Investigation into food wastage in both over ordering and in preparation.(Institute for Sustainable Futures, 2012).

 

Bibliography

UTS Green. (2013). Leadership in sustainability. Retrieved 6 8, 2016, from Waste and Recycling: http://www.uts.edu.au/partners-and-community/initiatives/uts-green/campus-operations/waste-and-recycling

Institute for Sustainable Futures. (2012). 2013-2015 Waste Management Plan. UTS. Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.

Sellew, P. (2013, 7 12). Composting King: Paul Sellew at TEDxBoston. Ted X . Boston, USA: Ted X.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post C: Tackling the issue, Organic Waste Management.

Investigation into organic waste in Australian: problems, potential solutions and the facts

Organic waste management is a crucial function society should actively be working together to reuse in a productive method. As the means of reusing organic waste is readily available to us to reuse in a variety of different ways that are highly beneficial for the environment and have great benefits for ourselves as well, I feel everyone should be making a conscious effort to reduce their impact.

Our current environmental status both on a global scale and as a country is under threat. With the world producing 2.12 billion ton of waste per year this is have a significant impact on the world’s environment. This figure is even more unsettling when we know “99% of the stuff we buy is trashed within 6 months” (Esben Larsen, 2016). With an ever growing population and consequently desire for resources to sustain this population the amount of waste being produce will be increasing exponentially. With many proven waste management tools in place to already minimize and divert waste from landfills and give waste a knew life it is important we invest in these schemes to hopefully reduce our environmental impact.

The main environmental problem being encountered due to poor waste management is greenhouse gas emissions rising due to the production of methane and carbon dioxide. It is when our organic waste end up in landfills that they start producing methane, which is contributing to climate change, this contribution is around 20% (Sellew, 2013). It is through such schemes as composting and using biogas for electricity that we are able to redirect waste to be used in a productive manner for the environment instead of a negative impact. This compost could therefore be redirect to a large agriculture industry providing a higher quality nutrient rich soil instead of ending up in landfills. Other landfill related environmental problems include air, ground and water pollution and contamination (Australian Government Aid Program, 2011), (Sellew, 2013).

With the wasting of organic wastes true potential we are creating costs for ourselves from lost productivity. As the transportation and landfill costs of storing organic waste in landfills  creates lost revenue for operations and lost potential for the environment and lost potential for economic growth. This is evident as we look at the economic potential of our organic waste. We also must consider that as landfills reach capacity and our populations grows and experiences urban sprawl the ability to have accessible landfill sites in close proximity will become another challenge (Sellew, 2013).

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 5.45.38 pm

(Australian Government Department of the Environment, 2013)

In Australia in 2010/11 47% (6.63 Mt) of organic waste ended up in landfills. If we look at the break down of the organics in the figure above we see that this is a large portion of waste being produced with only 9% going into energy recovery and 44% being recycled (Australian Government Department of the Environment, 2013). This is still a extremely large portion considering some places such as states in the US have banned organic waste from landfills, and from production to plate we create $180 billion of waste. This over consumption is further seen as $5.2 billion was spent on food that was never consumer in 2004 (Institute for Sustainable Futures UTS, 2011). In terms of creating an economy from waste if this 6.63 Mt of waste was recycled into compost it has the potential to generate $5.22m for the economy based on the rate of $85/ton (Australian Government Aid Program, 2011). Not only is this of significant economic value but also is of significant environmental value as we reduce methane production effecting green house gases, reduce landfill which also becomes a space problem with an increasing populations and reduce air ground and water pollution (Australian Government Aid Program, 2011).

Another problem, which could easily be fixed by the direct use of composting, is land degradation in agriculture and specifically loss of farmland and loss of soil. Due to the use of land for a singular crop or type of agriculture current agriculture is becoming more unsustainable as soil is not getting any nutrients as nutrition is not being returned to this land. Furthermore the land is being hit with chemicals to protect against pests making the soil poorer quality. By simply composting organic waste and returning this back to farming sites. This highly rich nutrient soil improves the physical chemical and biological properties of soil. It also ads beneficial microorganism that can fight disease and reduce the use of chemicals both helping the environment and cutting agriculture cost. Other factors include increased water retention inducing irrigation demand.

Another problem, which is affecting Australia’s ability to fully grasp the problem and make real change, is our poor current management of organic waste. Organic food waste has not been properly investigated in a holistic and consistent way across the different points of wastage from farm to plate as well as across different industries and nationally. There are also no consistent definitions and gathering methods making current data inconsistent and fragmented. More importantly organic waste is still considered part of general waste, which is seen as to have no value. This is a major problem as “Without a more comprehensive understanding of the food waste being generated, it is very difficult to improve the environmental performance of our waste management systems, or improve our ability to make the most use of increasingly scarce resources” (Institute for Sustainable Futures UTS, 2011).

As you can see the outlined problems associated with organic waste show us the importance of its management and harnessing it for its full potential, instead of the unsustainable methods we are currently using.

Below we see the potential cycle of organic waste if managed properly. Starting with organic waste we move to innovative technologies such as anaerobic digestion technology and composting. Here the organic matter can turn into bio gas or compost. From compost we can grow plants and ultimately food from this organic waste. This sums up the overall potential of organic waste and its potential to be apart of a sustainable system.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.37.11 pm.png

(Sellew, 2013)

Practicing Waste Management:

In this video you can see how UTS contractor off site facility, Wastefree Recycling separate and recycle our rubbish from co-mingled bins around UTS. Click Here.

UTS is already an organization working towards overall better waste management and with the goal of eventually becoming zero waste (Institute for Sustainable Futures, 2013). A key element of this plan is organic waste. From analyzing the UTS waste management plan of 2013-15 as an organization that already recycles 83.3% of its waste (2013) and from this 16.7% that is not recycled is made up of organics and low-density plastics. That means there is room for improvement. As discussed above there are many options that organic waste can be reused for. The main viable option for an organization such as UTS with vegetable and plant gardens is composting. In order to successfully allow for composting at UTS, UTS needs to create a bin separating system for organics separate from the co-mingled bins.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 2.41.35 pm.png(Institute for Sustainable Futures, 2012)

Such as in the image above we already see UTS successfully prioritizes the management of waste with this hierarchy system. So we will focus upon the current stage of disposal minimization through redirection. In the UTS action plan they have already outlined other specific separation systems for kitchens and the UTS food court. These include:

  • “UTS union food court organic waste collection trial” to be used.
  • “Empty all kitchen waste into a food waste stream separate from general waste/recycling stream”. See the video below to see how a chef is turning his restaurant kitchens an industry with some of the highest producers of organic waste in zero waste exemplars.
  • “Onsite composting system (similar to he hungry giant food waste machines) could be installed to reduce the quantity of food waste sent offsite”. (Institute for Sustainable Futures, 2012)

These are part of the potential action plan for UTS waste management. In order to successfully move towards zero waste and reduce this 16.7% of general waste we must redirect organics into a composting system. These actions will need to be enforced within these UTS business kitchens and food court. This is important as these businesses produce the largest quantities of organic waste at UTS. Another point made on the action plan is “further education measures to inform staff and students of the benefits of separating clean paper and cardboard into the correct bins”. This is an important point but an additional point should be added to educate staff and students through signage about the importance of separating organics from co-mingled waste bins in order to ensure recycling and future zero-waste goals by changing current bin habits. From educating staff and students implementing organic waste bins around campus and along side co-mingled bins will allow for comprehensive separation of organic waste around UTS campus (Institute for Sustainable Futures, 2012).

This video is an insightful look at a Chef creating zero waste restaurants. This could be a exemplar for UTS to follow his successful restaurants in reusing all our organic waste, Click here (Dawson, 2010).

 

Overall UTS need to implement the potential action plan points outlined. Furthermore they need to focus on adding an organic bin separation along side co-mingled bins. Most importantly the use of educational signage and considered design need to be explored to lead to successful implementation and changing of bin habits. These ideas will be elaborated upon in post D.

 

Bibliography

Australian Government Aid Program. (2011). Toward sustainable municipal organic waste management in south asia. Mandaluyong, Philippines: Asian Development Bank.

Australian Government Department of the Environment. (2013). National Waste Reporting 2013. Canberra: Australian Government.

Esben Larsen, K. B. (2016, 6 13). The World Counts. Retrieved 6 13, 2016, from World waste facts: http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/shocking_environmental_facts_and_statistics/world_waste_facts

Dawson, A. P. (2010, 7). A vision for sustainable restaurants. TedGlobal . UK: Ted X.

Institute for Sustainable Futures UTS. (2011). National Food Waste Data Assessment: Final Report. Australian Government, Department of Sustainability, Evironment, Water, Population and Communities. Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.

Institute for Sustainable Futures. (2012). 2013-2015 Waste Management Plan. UTS. Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.

Institute for Sustainable Futures. (2013). 2013-2015 Waste Management Plan. UTS. Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.

Institute for Sustainable Futures. (2013). 2013-2015 Waste Management Plan. UTS. Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.

Sellew, P. (2013, 7 12). Composting King: Paul Sellew at TEDxBoston. Ted X . Boston, USA: Ted X.

 

 

 

Blog Post B: Interviewing

images

An interview is a useful data collection method, which can be applied to many different tasks for gaining insightful information about a topic (Kumar, 2014). In particular an interview is a helpful tool for:

  • Helping to define a problem
  • Nut out the specific layers of a problem
  • Receive feedback through peoples interactions and experiences
  • Gain specific insight into a topic, usually from an industry expert
  • Find out attitudes and opinions towards your specific enquiry (University, 2012).

 

Figure 1:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 3.22.39 pm

(Kumar, 2014)

 

This tree diagram displays a break down of the interview as part of a data collection method. As you can see there are many ways you can conduct an interview to gain different kinds of information. This gives you a large amount of flexibility in helping research many facets. In terms of covering a system and asking about its effectiveness at UTS, a survey based personal interview, which can be distributed to a wide range of people directly, associated to the issue would be most effective (Kumar, 2014).

In terms finding out more specific information, using a qualitative interview such as an in-depth interview with an industry expert with allow you more scope for gaining specific for complex information. These are just two ways in which the interview process could be implement among many others (University, 2012) (Kumar, 2014).

 

Reflection of interviewing data method in personal research

I have used the interview process personally throughout many research tasks as a means of gaining information. During a task in 2014 when exploring ethics within the workplace, I interviewed three UTS students about their personal views of ethics relating to specific scenarios. From this interview process I was able to compare and contrast varying views of peoples ethical stance. Through the interview process it furthermore gives you more flexibility as you are in the moment to probe into areas that are discovered through the interview process. This process aloud me to gain insight that without the interview process of exploring people’s opinions first hand I would not have even considered or came to a conclusion about in my ethical findings.

 

Potential interviewing application at UTS

While researching a specific issue of organic waste interviewing could be used to source information from relevant industry professionals. This list could include UTS professionals related to the specific project or operation of UTS waste. Also interviewing experts related to organic waste in means of successful methods currently being used or developed to manage waste (UTS, 2016).

This process could furthermore be used to gain valuable insight in a current or implemented system to find problems. By interviewing the people that the process of waste consumption and disposal effects we can gain insight into attitudes and opinions surrounding waste disposable attitudes or problems people have experienced or observed with a system that could be improved upon.

This diagram represents the different players within this project that could be interviewed in gaining insight into the issue. This covers a broad range of different people, as we do not know our specific problem yet, although all these groups of people are directly related to the chain of the issue or have an extensive knowledge base on the issue. These groups could provide large insight based around their area of knowledge.

Figure 2:

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 11.50.47 pm.png

(UTS, 2016)

As a broad overview of the different players related to this topic of organic waste at UTS if we where to select an issues we could then use this chart of a means of knowing which key players would give us the information we need regarding our specific topic. For example if we decide to tackle organic waste from the position of sorting waste from the first stage of a person having waste and needing to dispose of it at UTS. We could look at the waste makers in a focus group interview such as student, staff and UTS food employees (including Food Co Op and Activate UTS). From here we could directly interview UTS facilities management and see what implementation is already taking place. We could also interview key players UTS green and Sustainable future in understanding the problem more deeply and how to make it more effective from an organic waste management perspective UTS, 2016).

 

Overall this primary data collection method has the power and flexibility to give one vast amount of insight into a project.

 

Bibliography

UNIVERSITY, A. M. (2012, 4 4). Interview as data collection tool. Retrieved 6 10, 2016, from Slide Share: http://www.slideshare.net/vivekgaurmba/presentation1-intervies-as-data-collection-tool

UTS. (2016, 5 12). Research and Teaching. Retrieved 6 10, 2016, from Research and Teaching: http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching

Kumar, V. (2014, 1 24). Interview method in research. Retrieved 6 10, 2016, from Slide Share: http://www.slideshare.net/VinayKumar49/interview-method-in-research?next_slideshow=1

Sites used for Figure 2:

Uts.edu.au. (2016). A long-awaited container deposit scheme for NSW | University of Technology Sydney. [online] Available at: http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/institute-sustainable-futures/news/long-awaited-container-deposit [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Uts.edu.au. (2016). Dena Fam | University of Technology Sydney. [online] Available at: https://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/future-researchers/staff-profiles/dena-fam [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Uts.edu.au. (2016). Institute for Sustainable Futures | University of Technology Sydney. [online] Available at: http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/institute-sustainable-futures [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Uts.edu.au. (2016). Research | University of Technology Sydney. [online] Available at: http://www.uts.edu.au/partners-and-community/initiatives/uts-green/research [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Uts.edu.au. (2016). Special projects | University of Technology Sydney. [online] Available at: http://www.uts.edu.au/partners-and-community/initiatives/uts-green/campus-operations/special-projects [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Uts.edu.au. (2016). Sustainable Supply Network Initiative | University of Technology Sydney. [online] Available at: http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/centre-management-organisation-studies/research-areas/sustainable [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Uts.edu.au. (2016). Technology in Water and Wastewater | University of Technology Sydney. [online] Available at: http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/technology-water-and-wastewater [Accessed 13 Jun. 2016].

 

 

 

Blog Post A: Talking about Bananas…

In this blog I will look at the my own wastage in a typical day based off of my food consumption. From here I will extend the journey of one of the organic waste products to look at it’s full life cycle and where there is potential for it to benefit the environment past the point of consumption.

banana journey, food audit2.jpg

Food Audit:

From looking through my food audit all waste was able to be redirected from the general waste bin and be reused in a productive manner. Within this day I did not create any unavoidable waste such as non-recyclable soft plastics. In this particular case if my family did not have a compost system all organic waste would have ended in the general waste and eventually in landfills. This unfortunately is the case within most households with in 2010-2011 47% of organic waste ended up in landfill this was the majority with only 9% being reused for energy recovery and 44% being recycled (Australian Government, Department of the environment, 2011). If Australia was to ban organic waste to landfills as being successfully done by other countries such as states in the US this would have a on flow of positive reproductions including reducing methane gas emissions which are affecting climate change, reduce landfill demand, create both economic wealth and bring about knew economy opportunities, which is among a number of other benefits (Asian Development Bank, 2011).

banana journey, food audit

Benefits to the environment:

My banana journey is an example of how organic food waste can be beneficial to the environment. As it was used in compost to break down into a nutrient rich soil to be then used on a vegetable garden bringing nutrients to knew growing vegetables. This system also creates a cycle as our food scraps from our own vegetable garden then go back into the garden to start the process again.

 

Bibliography:

Woolworths. (2010, 1). Woolworths National Transport. Retrieved 6 9, 2016, from wowlink: https://www.wowlink.com.au/cmgt/wcm/connect/f14fa380433d474fbbbabba521a80a40/National+Transport+Newsletter-+4th+Edition+Jan+10.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Woolworths limited. (2008, April). The facts about grocery retailing at Woolworths. Retrieved 6 10, 2016, from Woolworths: http://library.corporate-ir.net/library/14/144/144044/items/287977/FactsAboutGroceRetailingatWoolworths.pdf

Australian Government, Department of the environment. (2011). Environmental Protection. Retrieved 6 9, 2016, from National organic waste profile: http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/environment-protection/nwp/reporting/organic-waste

abgc. (2016). Banana Industry. Retrieved 6 9, 2016, from Australian Banana Growers Council: http://abgc.org.au/banana-industry-2/our-industry/key-facts/

Asian Development Bank. (2011). Toward Sustainable Municipal Organic Waste Management in South Asia (1). Asian Bank Development.

Drucker, G. (n.d.). Austrailian Bananas Media Kit. Retrieved 6 9, 2016, from Backyard bananas: http://www.backyardbananas.com.au/images/media_kit.pdf