Blog Post D – Organic Waste Management Proposal

Through research for the previous posts, there is a clear realisation that there are a lot of organic waste management campaigns existing in Australia but are not promoted and/or regulated enough to make a habit out of our daily lives. My proposal, rather than targeting the promotion of campaigns, is to focus on the idea of habits. It is said that every habit has a 3 step pattern known as the 3 R’s: Reminder, Routine and Reward. (James Clear, 2013)


My proposal is to design an interactive and/or responsive garbage bin that is very similar to the ‘Wai Shower’ (which is an interactive shower system that manages shower efficiency) (James Dyson Foundation, 2016) and the ‘Envirobank Reverse Vending Machine’ (which rewards for recycling) (Envirobank, 2011) This bin will use the average general waste and organic waste ratios and household family members to give specific responses to the users. The bin could have weight sensors to determine what is being put in, and through this responsive lights and vocal reply can be made to give the user small information about organic waste and how much landfill and money they have saved. Of course such responses shouldn’t be made at a regular basis but when a certain target weight or time is met as to not cause too much annoyance or discomfort to the user. So how does this relate to habits?



Firstly, this design proposal is constantly giving routinely reminders to the user for what they are wasting and recycling which will give them a good understanding of and make a habit out of the way they throw their waste. Such reminders will be good for adults to mend their old habits but also to help children raise good habits for waste disposal.



Placing these bins in various locations will give everyone a routine to follow that does not just involve the home so that wherever you go, your habit will follow. Basically putting these bins in places that produce more organic waste than most and some of these locations include university workplaces, restaurants, parks and beach. Having made habits through that, we start to do the same thing for places with these interactive bins such as gyms, toilets and libraries. In the case of children, they should start obtaining the concept of organic waste management during preschool as it is the time that most of their habits are formed, e.g.; learning to communicate in certain ways, developing friendships, understanding when to speak and understanding patience. Developing a new habit is always easier than mending an old habit thus we should always know to start young.



With the responses given, there should be a balance between good and bad commentary to give the user a sense of satisfaction when specific targets are met. This balance will encourage users to be more cooperative and initiative even outside the household which will eventually turn into a lasting sub-conscious habit.



Envirobank. 2011, What Is an Envirobank Reverse Vending Machine?, viewed 14 June 2016,


James Clear. 2013, The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How to Start New Habits That Actually Stick, viewed 14 June 2016,  <>


James Dyson Foundation, Wai: interactive Shower System, viewed 14 June 2016,<>



Blog Post C – Literature Review

Why is organic waste management important?

DO SOMETHING! is a non-profit organisation that runs the Foodwise Campaign and this campaign showcases just how important organic waste management is and what effects it has on us. (Foodwise, 2016)


Sustainable Restaurants

Through the Foodwise Campaign website and AGL Energy Website, a few sustainable restaurants were introduced and they were named as such because of of the way they deal with not only food but other products such as furniture (e.g. chairs and tables) and energy consumption (solar panels). The 2 most frequently mentioned and top rated restaurants would be ‘Love.Fish’ and ‘Three Blue Ducks’ as they both are very much committed to and aware of the idea of organic waste management.

sydneys-top-sustainable-eats-INSET1-700x360.jpg Love.Fish, prides themselves for their environmentally friendly philosophy as they provide not only biodegradable takeaway containers but also pays Earth Power (a company who transform organic waste into high-powered compost and fertilisers) to collect their food scraps. The best part about Love.Fish is that they stick to the notion of ‘sustainable seafood’ which not many are able to follow, using line-caught fish where possible and also farmed fish from land-based facilities. (Foodwise, 2016)

header_threeblueducks.jpg Blue Ducks integrates local community produce into their menus, not only that but they also include a rooftop solar power system for
the energy supply. Much like Love.Fish, this restaurant uses biodegradable materials and also they separate their food waste to provide it to the local community gardens (supporting the ‘Grow It Local’ initiative). (AGL Energy, 2016)



In the first half of 2015, Woolworths was moving towards a zero food waste to landfill policy which they wished to accomplish by the end of the year. This notion was a collaboration between Woolworths and several charities around Australia who provided food for the poor/homeless, and whatever was leftover were pushed to be used as fertilizers or animal feed. (O’Donoghue, 2015)
One of the greater achievements by Woolworths would be their ’Odd Bunch’ produce line. In the past, crops that were a little less appealing usually led to them being discarded and thrown out as waste by supermarkets due to the crops less likeliness of being purchased. However, the Odd Bunch produce line cleverly eliminates this problem by providing a discounted price which entices many customers and minimises the waste produced drastically.
In the second half of 2015, it was revealed that Woolworths failed to hit the mark to eliminate food waste sent to landfill (Han, 2015), however I believe that ‘this story’s not about eliminating it, it’s about minimizing it.’ (Dawson, 2010) Woolworths successfully reduced the total waste to landfill by 25% and increase the divergence of food waste to landfill by 815%.



AGL Energy. 2016, Sydney’s Top Sustainable Eats, viewed 14 June 2016,<>

Dawson A.P. 2010, A Vision for Sustainable Restaurants, video podcast, TED, TEDGLobal 2010, viewed 14 June 2016,<>

Foodwise. 2016, Fast Facts on Food Waste, viewed 14 June 2016, <>

Foodwise. 2016, Dish the Fish, viewed 14 June 2016,

Han, E. 2015, ‘Woolworths misses food waste target but sets new goal with OzHarvest partnership’, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 September, viewed 14 June 2016, <>

O’Donoghue, J. 2015, ‘Woolworths moves towards zero food waste’, Food Magazine, 28 May, viewed 14 June 2016,


Blog Post B – Research Methods

What is Design Research?

Let’s start from the basics: what is research? Well, research is ‘the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016) Design research is a little more complicated than just ‘concerns with what exists but more of what ought to be’. (Milton & Rodgers, 2013) It is a combination of the past and present, using it has a reference to produce better design that suits the needs of the present and future.9781780673028_500X500

Design Research Methods

In my previous projects, various methods of primary and secondary research are used to broaden my perspective of design possibilities and appropriateness. In the book ‘Research Methods for Product Design’ which was a recommended read during first year of university, gave a lot of insight in the vast types of research methods and categorised them into three main sectors: Asking, Learning and Looking.


This sector revolves around questioning and includes: questionnaires, surveys, interviews, market/retail analyses and hands-on analysis. These methods are one of the more popular ones that designers tend to lean toward; it’s easy and straightforward. During my research for my projects, interviews over-ride written surveys and this is because interviews are more details and more interactive. We are able to provoke the interviewee to elaborate more on their thoughts and answers, not only that but we are also able to observe their facial expressions and actions which will either further justify or contradict their answers.


This sectors relates more to the past and current state of mind, for example: competitor product analysis, literature reviews, internet sources and try it yourself. Most of my research revolves around competitor product analysis and this is because; in order for you to do better, you must know what exists and what is lacking. A great ‘try it yourself’ example would be the design of the ‘Flow Hive’ (Good Design, 2016), although the designer is a farmer himself, it is obvious that to make good design you must understand the design and it’s environment. Both Cedar Anderson and Stuart Anderson lived and breathed honey thus they were always in contact with the environment; understanding the behaviours of bees and certain situations that could irritate them (e.g. pests). Therefore, by understanding and interacting with the actual source, a designer is able to provide a higher quality design and become more aware of what is appropriate.Flow-Hive-1-2-1200x858.jpg


Although most of my research revolves around ‘Learning’, I find that the Looking sectors of research is the most effective and this involves: video and photo diaries, a day in a life, personal belongings, scenarios and trend spotting. We as designers cannot always get a hands on experience when it engages with more professional personnel and requires more skills. Thus we choose the alternate and observe the likes of how a professional works and acts during a span of a period of time. By observing, we start to see sub-conscious behaviours that occur which might be bypassed when the personnel are interviewed or when we do it ourselves as we are not there on a daily basis to create such subtle habits. During the one-day waste audit, I realised I was integrating both Learning and Looking; I was consciously trying it myself but also living a day in a life of my family. While acting on my own waste management, I started to observe my family and how they hand their waste and how much waste they were producing. This is where we realise that we must integrate a number of different design research methods in order for us, as designers, to get a better understanding of our target.



Good Design Awards. 2016, Flow Hive, viewed 14 June 2016,

Milton, A. & Rodgers, P. 2013, Research Methods for Product Design, Laurence King Publishing Ltd, London.

Oxford Dictionaries. 2016, viewed 14 June 2016, <>


Blog Post A – A Day in the Life

Defining Organic Waste

According to Australian Government’s Department of the Environment, ‘Organic waste is a component of the waste stream from plant or animal sources that is readily biodegradable, e.g. paper and cardboard, food waste, bio-solids, green waste and timber.’ (Australian Government, 2011) Organic waste can be used as compost and utilized to generate energy, however through research it is discovered that approximately 50% of waste that is classified as ‘general waste’ in a household is actually organic. Not only that but 30% of overall general waste being taken to landfills are also organic as well. (NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), 2015)


1-Day Waste Audit

A waste audit is a record of waste produced and generated during a certain period of time which allows a more in-depth understanding of the situation in front of us. (Waste Audit, 2013)


The waste audit shown above is mainly on my food consumption in one day’s time and this is because my dietary needs and timetable is different from the rest of my household so I tend to have most of my meals separate from them. Although most of the waste is either recyclable and/or are organic, all of the organic waste in our household tend to be placed into the general waste section but all of the recyclables go to its rightful place. Cardboard boxes, containers and other recyclable products tend to be easier to manage by just washing them thoroughly and throwing them into the recycling bin. However, organic wastes such as food scraps are harder to deal with in a big household and it tends to create a heavier smell which our household isn’t very fond of thus it is mostly thrown into a plastic bag and taken to the general waste bin.


Cycle of an Avocado

Avocados are a much loved healthier alternative to using butter/margarine and sauces, so how do they end up in our fridge? Firstly, the crops must be planted and grown into orchards, sounds simple but it really needs a lot of attention to detail to maintain high standards with the involvement of: pest control, environment conditioning and chemical usages.
Next is harvesting, New South Wales and Queensland (the two largest producing states) harvest approximately 90% of the avocados produced in Australia and altogether in Australia a total of 55,000 tonnes of avocados were grown. (Queensland Government, 2014) These harvested avocadoes are then distributed to domestic and international markets with 60% of the produce sold through supermarkets (e.g. Coles and Woolworths) and only around 10% is exported overseas.
We as consumers buy the avocadoes off the shelf and use it for our dietary needs, and leftover scraps are dealt with in 3 ways: either in the trash (ending in landfills), used as compost and regrowth, or taken to the compost bin for larger organic waste management plans to take place.
Through this we understand that producing and selling an avocado is not just one man’s job but involves several industries together to provide the best.



Australian Government – Department of the Environment. 2013, National Organic Waste Profile, viewed 11 June 2016,

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). 2015, Organic Waste, viewed 11 June 2016,<>

Queensland Government – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. 2014, Avocados, viewed 11 June 2016,

Waste Audit. 2013, What is a Waste Audit?, viewed 11 June 2016, <>