POST D

“Organic waste is a resource that is not fully utilised in Denmark today through composting or anaerobic digestion.”

The ‘Systems Analysis of Organic Waste Management in Denmark’ investigates the use of a computer-based model called ORWARE (ORganic WAste REsearch) to be used as a systems analysis for household organic waste by the Danish Environmental Protection Authority. The paper notes that in Denmark approximately 1.7 million tons of household waste is collected yearly, with 700 000 tons being organic waste.

The aim was to realise the “flows, emissions and environmental impacts of handling organic household waste to get a better understanding of the consequences when increasing biological treatment of organic household waste.” However, to gain this information there the difficult situation of how to quantify data across various areas, involving the flows of material, use of resources, energy, emissions to air, water and soil. ORWARE would calculate the different flows that can help to then design tailored waste management systems for each. The analysis was conducted nationally also using two scenarios sets then analyized by six different sensitivity sets. The results show that there is positive and negative environmental impacts that vary depending on which system and impact is being considered.

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The Accor hotel chain in Dubai recently piloted a reporting tool called Winnow that provides data on the timings and specific food types going into their bins, and the approximate food costs being wasted . With access to this data the kitchen management teams have the ability to adapt food production and preparation with higher levels of consciousness and knowledge to avoid food waste loses. Since using the Winnow system for a year, the Accor hotels in Dubai have seen a 50% reduction in food waste, diverting an estimated 5.6 tonnes from landfill.

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Both of the articles shown, while discussing different areas of intervene for waste systems, highlight the need for particular wastage calculations to better understand food waste management systems from local and national levels. With this knowledge there is then  opportunities to customise those management systems for lesser environmental impacts.  

 

References
Baky, A. & Eriksson, O. 2003, ‘Systems Analysis of Organic Waste Management in Denmark’, Danish Environmental Protection Agency, pp. 1-91

Hill, J.  2017, Dubai hotels take stock of food waste, The National UAE, viewed 17 June 2017 <http://www.thenational.ae/uae/transport/dubai-hotels-take-stock-of-food-waste&gt;

Winnow: Cook Smarter 2017, The food waste challenge: why Winnow exists, viewed 17 June 2017 <http://www.winnowsolutions.com/company&gt;

POST C

We the group, Level Three, proposed to a panel of organic food waste specialist on Wednesday 7th June 2017 to make organic food waste transparent at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) by looking at practices, education and promotion. We began our process by writing our own brief and deciding on the confines we wanted to stay within in the sense of our target market, geographic location, stakeholder and a point in the direction of what we wanted to design. This was all developed from a literature review, blackboard audit, survey, data collection and observations.

Brief

As a group you will have the opportunity to design and create a communication tool for students of The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and related demographics including staff and businesses in and around the UTS Campus. This communication tool needs to cater to practices, education and promotion by showing transparency surrounding the issues of food waste at UTS.

Research needs to be undertaken to inform and raise awareness regarding the current food waste situation at UTS. Using the UTS Sustainable Development Goals as an initial starting point will assist beginning your process for showing transparency surrounding the issues of food waste at UTS. Primary and secondary methods such as data collection, mind maps, surveys, observation, user testing and literature review need to be undertaken carefully with precision to provide accurate data.

Your presentation of your UTS food waste communication tool is due Wednesday 7th June 2017. You will need to have the food waste tool finalised by Friday 2nd June 2017.

You are to approach the food waste problem at UTS in four separate areas:

  • Food Waste Management
  • Food Waste Communication
  • Food Waste Education
  • Food Waste Systems

The communication tool needs to be presented neatly and in a cohesive manner. Remember you’re designing mainly for students but also for UTS staff and businesses around the UTS campus.

Above is our brief. Initially we struggled to place the right confines on our brief from attempting to come up with the final design solution before going through the design process. The brief hits a couple of key points we decided to align ourselves and the goals we wanted to achieve to the UTS Sustainable Develop Goals. Another key point was sharing and communicating to the UTS community, mainly students about the benefits of organic food waste and what can do to make it transparent.

Survey Analysis

We conducted a survey on organic food waste at UTS aimed at students to see what they knew about the system and whether they wanted to know more. The questions we asked on Survey Monkey, an Internet survey platform made it easier and faster to collect the data.

The results from the survey, identified students don’t know much about the organic food waste system at UTS referring to the 26 out of 39 people in question one. However 37 out of 39 people said they would change their behaviour referring to question four, if they were provided facts and figures. The other insight made was 27 out of 39 people were willing to be part of a broader scheme of organic food waste even with a chance their efforts could be wasted.

Literature Review

We’ve conducted a literature review to further ground our research regarding the current standings of food waste. Looking at this matter from a bigger picture, we’ve divided our research into three sub topics regarding our main focus on food waste (transparency); transparency in everyday practices, education, and promotion. Transparency in everyday practices focuses on the habits and behaviours of humans that shapes the current state of food waste our society is at now. We focused on diving in deeper on how big of an impact of humans can make regarding food waste, and how important it is to know beyond the existing rules of waste distribution, rather concrete their understandings on the current state of food waste. Transparency in education focuses on the precise definition of food waste by being transparent about food waste, as a lack of understanding can result to ignorance. Transparency in promotion is a big part of food waste – our take on this topic was to be completely transparent about the numbers and statistics of the state of food waste right now, as well as goals for the future. This way, we were hoping to stimulate interest from society to take part in improving this matter.

This literature review helped us develop a concrete definition of transparency and food waste itself to move forward with our design ideas. We understand that education was a key point of this topic – as a result, we chose to focus on integrating an educational advertisement through promoting the importance of transparency regarding food waste, and how big of an impact humans can contribute to make a change.

Designs

The first design we created was poster based. We believe posters are always a necessary element to any advertising campaign due to their ability to intrigue passerby’s, contain all relevant details and maintain a prominence across the campus. Containing a different type of food on each, the vector is depicted at a low transparency to reinforce our transparent theme.

The second design constructed was a design that we decided on when walking the sidewalks of the university. “Food Prints” were formed as a concept that can be applied to the ground of all walking spaces on campus. Naturally looking down when walking, students, staff and visitors can walk on our food prints and at a glance, be reminded of the message we are attempting to convey to to UTS as a whole.

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Conclusion

Our transparency communication tool has been developed from the results of the literature review, black board audit, organic food waste data collection, online survey and visual analysis. This has given us the evidence to design an appropriate answer to organic food waste not going to landfill but back into our gardens by means of compost from the machines in building 8 and 10.

Bibliography

POST B: Reflection

Caddie Bin Liner Design

In reflection, our group worked effectively together and our newspaper caddie design had a successful outcome. A group charter was created that begun with talking each members dislikes and likes from previous group works so we were all clear on boundaries and expectations. This was quite helpful as it designed a way of working on the project that worked for everyone.

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Our first stage of the project consisted of meeting together for a design workshop, bouncing ideas off one another and prototyping variations of newspaper caddie liners till deciding on the most successful design. While not each group member found it easy to design various options, having each person was highly beneficial, not only for being fully formed, supporting team, but in conducting user testing. This determined whether or not the designs were easy to understand and learn.

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Interdisciplinary Design

Design has the ability to impact how we live day to day. Designs often become seamless and overlooked once adjusted to. The voting ballot is a great example of system design that goes unnoticed until it is designed poorly impacting greatly. The “butterfly” ballot cards of the 2000 U.S. presidential election in Palm Beach County, Florida were changed, however, the new design was found to be so confusing by voters that it potentially had the impact of changing the election outcome. This proves the importance of design contribution and the possible implications of bad and/or undervalued design.

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In 2007 Annie Leonard, an environmentalist, and Jonah Sachs, a designer, came together to create a film called ‘The story of Stuff’ about the issue of our society’s waste culture. This film was praised for its interdisciplinary team, notably the impact of how bringing a designer into the project and valuing design enabled the issue to become engaging to a broad audience. We as a society have awareness to environmental and sustainability issues, however, with a lack of design inclusion there is less potential to effectively communicate and impact behavioural change (McMahon); design had the ability to give a voice of clarity and persuasion in a way that can inspire people to embrace a system better as a shareholder.

 

References

Persson, J.G. 1997, ‘TED – Experience from interdisciplinary design projects with students of industrial design, engineering design and economy/marketing’
Fred Dust, F. Prokopoff, I. 2009, Designing Systems at Scale, Rotman Magazine, 2009, pp. 52-59

Inside Politics, 2011, Newspaper: Butterfly ballot cost Gore White House, viewed 7 May 2017 <http://edition.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/03/11/palmbeach.recount/&gt;

McMahon, E. 2017, Pacific Standard: Designers can help save the planet, viewed 7 May 2017 <https://psmag.com/environment/climate-change-art-designers-can-help-save-planet-83874&gt;

 

POST A: 24 hour Organic Waste Audit

When conducting this audit it became quite clear that there was many areas of the waste process that were almost seamlessly invisible, potentially impacting how we approach our individual waste.

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I live in an apartment complex on the fifth level. In our complex there is a bin room on the garage basement level with 20 red regular bins, 15 yellow recycling bins and just 2 green bins. Sorting waste into the three categories is definitely a choice not always taken. At home I try my best to have all three bins, however, sometimes other members of the house don’t always follow the three bins or create them themselves or sometimes I don’t if I am tired and become more lazier. Once bins are full there then becomes the act of transporting them down to the basement bin room and sorting them into the different coloured bins. Once again, it would be easy for anyone to just put all their waste into one bin without sorting. Each unit pays strata fees and with this there is a person hired with the job of taking all the bins out to the street the day before the council garbage collection and bringing them back in and washing them down. The audit highlighted how the sorting of waste takes effort for the individual. We as humans naturally aspire for ease and much of the waste process is made easier through not categorising and having other people take care of it almost invisibly for our individual and community comfort.


After the reaching the act of the weekly council garbage pickup I felt as if I was guessing what comes next as i’ve never seen it. I can only speculate that the garbage transported away to some sort of sorting process, hopefully finding ways to recycle, reuse or minimize the waste, and/or then to landfill somewhere far far away. This unknowing is unsettling. We constantly hear  that our society and world has big issues with waste processes and landfills rising, however, without the visibility of the issue and direct daily impact there is definitely the easy, comforting stance of ‘“if I can’t see it then it’s not there.” I would love to better understand the post garbage collection and see if somehow the visibility of the process would change my own behaviours.

 

Book Launch Audit

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During our second Wealth to Waste class we attended the book launch and 20th Anniversary for the Institute of Sustainable Futures and were asked to audit the event. Undertaking the audit highlighted how there is a lot of work and factors that goes into creating an event such as this. Food and drink would appear from staff members, refilling frequently, attentive to the guests. Behind the bar, glass and plastic bottles were recycling into bins and half eaten food was taken away and refilled to a nicer aesthetic. It is very easy to just see and consume in the luxuries of the celebrating, however, as we audited we noticed the staff entering from and exiting to a door right at the back of the room in a corner. One can only assume that behind this door there was a complete work mode in place with food storage, kitchens, event managers, cleaning going on creating the beauty and harmonious flow of the event.

 

References

Singer. L, 2015, video recording, TEDxTeen, viewed 2 April 2017, <https://www.tedxteen.com/talks/why-i-live-a-zero-waste-life-lauren-singer&gt;

University of Technology Sydney, 2013, Waste Management Plan 2013-2015, Sydney, Viewed 2 April 2017 <https://www.uts.edu.au/sites/default/files/WASTE_MANAGEMENT_PLAN.140301.pdf&gt;

Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy 2010, Understanding Your Waste Stream: Food and Organics Best Practice Collection Mannual, Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra