Blog Post D: Improving Waste management in the School

A lot of issues have been touched on in my Blog post C and a few simple changes could be made today to make the process a lot more efficient and make it a learning step for the students, to teach them the importance of waste disposal. I have devised a 5 Step plan.

Step 1:

As they already have different coloured bins, make each bin specific for the different kinds of Waste;

Red Bin – Recyclable goods.

Green Bin – Organic and food waste.

Black Bin – All other waste.

As well as have a recyclable bin in each classroom
As this practice should really be in place already

I have touched on the issue on putting the right rubbish in the right bin in my other blog posts. (A &B)

Step 2:

To use as much of the organic waste in the school – to create compost bins.

The green bins as they are full of organic waste they can be use to create worm farms or even act as fertilizer for the school grounds. As this is a first hand engagement with the students, they will see how their scrapes can be further used and lessen the amount of rubbish that overflows the skip bin as then the waste never actually leaves the school grounds.

Step 3:

As for the Recyclable components, such as scrap paper and cardboard;

Personally I would really like to see the cardboard turned into some sort of art,
Cardboard cutouts and usable feature pieces that are decorated by the students. So many cardboard boxes are thrown out each day and to see this as an art form would be a very different approach towards recycling. It can be a piece in every classroom as presenting as there “mascot” so to speak .That would be something the students create as a class that would be a very interesting twist on the way we recycle in my opinion. Again teaching the kids the possibilities of recycling , it may not be the most useful to an extent but something you can create out of what would be rubbish in their eyes.

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Step 5:

Finally as those previous 4 steps are in place the only things that should reach that big skip bin at the end of the day should be unusable waste that can be disposed of properly. If the school cuts down this much waste we will only have to get it emptied once a week halving the disposing costs in the school.

All the steps and outcomes are benefiting the school and ultimately the students, as they learn how to dispose of waste properly for a sustainable future and saving and making money off the waste that previously was just disregarded and thrown out.

 

Blog Post C: Waste Management in School

Working for Two years now at a primary school as a Cleaner, which consists of cleaning classrooms – vacuuming, dusting – and cleaning the playgrounds of all rubbish every afternoon 5 days a week.

In my experience the waste disposal process the school has in place is pretty straight forward, I Have created a flow chart of what I see happen.

 

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All kinds of rubbish end up in the skip bin from Banana peels to building supplies. It hasn’t changed since the first day I have worked there and was in place long before. This is not the best practice to dispose of waste effectively with no sorting process at all to separate the recyclables, organic waste and general rubbish. This is definitely something the school should act towards especially in a primary school, where it is the opportunity to teach the younger generations about the importance of organic waste and recycling as it is the first step to a sustainable future.

With over 600 Students the amount of waste that is accumulated and the amount of food that is wasted is unbelievable, the bins are always packed and overflowing.

At the end of everyday

Fill on average 18 -240L bins – General Classroom and Food waste

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Every 3 days

Fill a  4 cubic meter skip bin gets emptied – Includes all waste and gardening waste – branches and grass trimmings

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This is a substantial amount of waste that could be put to good use even within the school, and to save money. The company Remondis collects the Skip bin and gets Disposed of in landfill, but they do also provide “expertise to identify alternative options for waste, decrease environmental impacts and reduce general waste disposal costs for customers”. (Remondis, 2016.) Operating all over Australia for small businesses.

As a comparison I Looked at how other schools manage waste: East Maitland Public School “The school’s strong environmental commitment has not only helped to save precious resources going to landfill and being wasted, but it has also been able to save the school money. It is estimated that since the introduction of the recycling service an estimated $1200 has been saved in waste disposal costs!” (Hunter Resource, n.d.)

Simply by using separate bins and teaching the students to start compost worm farms and recycling cardboard/ paper they were able to achieve this.

The school I am working at is in need of a lot of improvement in this area to make them a sustainable and environmentally friendly school.

 

References:

Hunter Resource, n.d. School case study, Viewed 12 June 2016.
<http://hrr.com.au/education-resources/school-case-study-waste-management/&gt;

NSW Government, 2016. Sustainable Schools NSW, Viewed 12 June 2016
<http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/sustainableschools/index.htm&gt;

Remondis, 2016. Raw Materials and energy, Viewed 12 June 2016
<http://www.remondis.com.au/en/reau/sonderseiten/home/&gt;

 

 

Blog Post B: “Get it right on Bin Night”

“Australia is one of the highest waste producers in the world, recently ranked in the top five waste producing nations, on a per person basis” (Living Smart, 2011.)

In my Research i have been using suitable data Methods to obtain findings and expose trends. I have been doing so by observing and looking at previous case studies to find the data trends of the usage of bins.

As touched on in my Blog post A there is a sense of automation when we dispose of our waste. When two bins are next to each other; a recycling and a normal waste bin. Which one do we use more? Do we put the right waste in the right bin?.

As Sean Duffy an associate Professor of psychology at Rutgers explains in this article “People fail to recycle for a number of reasons, including misinformation and forgetfulness; however, it is also a design problem” (Heimbuch .J, 2009.)  

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Design plays a massive part in getting people to recycle, using big bold signs and bright colours to exclaim the positives of recycling and reusing organic waste in a fit to give us the satisfaction of doing the right thing for the environment, as seen in the above picture “Recycle for your community” giving us a sense of making a difference to the environment but as Katharine argues:

“Recycling can be a cop-out for consumers, making us feel justified about buying stuff in excessive packaging. The sad reality is that many of the things we toss in the recycling never get recycled because they disappear from the recycling stream and are never accounted for. And plastic is never recycled; it’s always downcycled into a lesser form, until eventually it ends up in landfills.”(Martinko .K, 2014.)

As recycling and sorting out organic waste has not yet become Mainstream, nor do many people stop to think about the amount of trash they generate daily.

On the total flipside and other side of the world where recycling is considered mainstream.

If you think sorting recycling from trash is a hassle, then try sorting all of that recycling into 34 separate categories. People of Kamikatsu Japan have a demanding waste management program that recycles or composts 80% of waste that is produced by the 1700 residents. The remaining percentage goes onto landfill, although Kamikatsu hopes to eliminate that amount entirely by 2020.(Martinko .K, 2016.)

Resident Hatsue Katayama describes the experience:

“If you get used to it, it becomes normal. Now I don’t think about it. It’s become natural to separate the trash correctly.”

Will we ever get to this stage in waste management? or will it be too late. When will this model reach major cities? When will it become mainstream to dispose of waste correctly?

 

A lighthearted short comical take on what this blog is about.
(City of Sydney, 2016.)

 

 

References:

City of Sydney, 2016. Recycling, Viewed 11 June 2016.
<http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/live/waste-and-recycling/recycling&gt;

Martinko .K, 2014.  The pains and joys of recycling. Viewed 11 June 2016<http://www.treehugger.com/green-home/pains-and-joys-recycling.htm&gt;

Living Smart, 2011. Australian Waste Stats. Viewed 11 June 2016.
<http://www.livingsmartqld.com.au/modules/waste/Australian-Waste-Stats&gt;

Heimbuch .J, 2009.  Recycling Bins 34% More Effective When They Have… Holes!. Viewed 11 June 2016.
<http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/recycling-bins-34-more-effective-when-they-haveholes.html&gt;

Martinko .K, 2016. This Japanese Town Aims to Produce no Trash by 2020. Viewed 11 June 2016
<http://www.treehugger.com/green-home/japanese-town-aims-produce-no-trash-2020.html&gt;

Blog Post A: Household Waste

As I have been researching Organic waste and the potential it has, I decided to see just how much waste is accumulated in my home and what the attitudes are towards the waste. Looking through the rubbish in my household, which I have never really had a good hard look at, I actually found it quite interesting.

We have a main bin in the kitchen, which we (family of 5) use for everything.

It gets emptied about 2 – 3 times a day and has a mixed variety of rubbish in it. The only things that are separated are big recyclables like bottles, cartons and cardboard boxes.

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In the bin there is mixed fruit skins, aluminium cans, plastic and food scraps

Each bin load ranges from 500g – 1.2Kgs.

About 10-15 of these bags fills up our Green 240L bin that goes out on the street every week of an average of 12-15Kgs of waste a week plus our recycled waste.

While taking these photos Mum had a look at it and said – “It is not sorted yet just wait”.  I found that quite humorous and ironic because 1: She never says that. 2; She knows these photos are going to be used for something. This bought to my attention she is conscious of what she is doing, and what she is not doing, as all of us are. When we see a recycling bin and a normal bin next too each other in public, we just throw everything in the general rubbish instead of sorting out what is in our hands and what could be recycled. It is just an unconscious decision we make, is it convenience? Or we just don’t care? We are all playing apart in this.

Moving onto organic elements in the bin – One thing that gets eaten a lot in the household are mandarins. As you can see our fruit bowl is predominantly Mandarins (As seen below). They are in season at the moment (April – October) and are available in many different types; these mandarins are imperials as they are also the most common. They are mainly grown in the Queensland region.(Citrus Australia n.d)

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Some fun facts about mandarins

  • Prevents Cancer
  • Provides Vitamin C
  • Reduces Cholesterol Problems
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Promotes Weight loss
  • Healthier Immune System
  • Skin Health
    (Akruti 2015)

As it is very beneficial to us, it is beneficial to the environment – mostly our own veggie patches and composts. As some allegations say citrus peelings are bad for composting because they take a long time for the peels to break down and act as poison to our plants, but you can slice the peels into smaller pieces speeding up this process providing nutrients and nitrogen to the soil. Chemicals in the citrus peels are generally used in pesticides, but the odour that they give off can be used to keep pests away from your compost pile or garden. Attaching the peel around plants or creating a tear in the  peel and attaching it directly to the stem of the plant protects the plant at the same time as giving it nutrients it needs. So instead of throwing the Mandarin peels in the bin, throw them into your garden and put them to good use.(Rhoades, H. 2015)5

 

References:

Citrus Australia n.d, Whats in Season? ,Viewed 10 June 2016 <http://www.citrusaustralia.com.au/consumer-information/whats-in-season.htm&gt;

Akruti 2015. 14 Amazing Benefits of Mandarin Oranges, Viewed 10 June 2016 <http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-mandarin-oranges-for-skin-hair-and-health/&gt;

Rhoades, H. 2015. Citrus peels in Compost, Viewed 10 June 2016

Citrus Peels In Compost – Tips For Composting Citrus Peels