B. Working Interdisciplinary

The interdisciplinary nature of this subject allows designers with varying skills and interests to unite and utilise their specialised skills towards a common goal. This applies to the literal sense of designing, whereby physical skills are broadened within the group and designed outcomes can be more collaborative and extensive in order to “uncover a newer, more powerful solution (Pagés 2013). This may, however, also be seen as a detriment to the group dynamic, as students often have contrasting opinions upon approaching a brief, as a result of their individual experiences within other disciplines.

The caddie design project challenged our group significantly as it forced us to look beyond the foundational elements of design and consider strategy as a designed element. It also, however, presented opportunities to tailor an outcome which would play to the strengths of the group. Visual Communications students were able to apply knowledge of layout and visual hierarchy as well as technical skills within design programs, whilst product designers were able to apply their methods of prototyping and product testing to our caddie design.

This task ultimately allowed us to observe the role of designers within the wider community such as within organic waste systems. Our processes consider numerous influencing factors such as varying audiences, environments and visual desires, as well as practical skills such as aesthetics, production and promotion. Designers are highly skilled individuals with interest beyond the expanse of aesthetics. We are often highly concerned about the needs of consumers and use this knowledge in the conceptual stages of the design process. As a result, designers are highly useful in approaching “wicked problems” (Buchanan 1992) such as the management of waste, as we understand that the needs of such issues go beyond a simple solution.

System design must consider a multitude of influencing factors ranging from user demographics to financial constraints within production. For this reason, design can be seen as an instrumental elements to the formation of systems as we are required to respond to the actions of consumers and consider the process of using such product or system. This ultimately results in a “systematic and rigorous approach to design” that is “user-centred.” (Dubberly 2006)

Establishing a group charter is of high importance as it “clarifies team direction” (Life Cycle Engineering 2015) whilst beginning to educate members about the interests, strengths, weaknesses and experiences of their collaborators. This was no exception to our own group as we were able to recognise each others’ capabilities whilst establishing foundational beliefs for the group and our goals within the subject. The charter ultimately acts as a reminder for members to collaborate effectively in order to succeed.

References:

Life Cycle Engineering 2015, Team Charters: What are they and what’s their purpose?, Charleston SC, viewed 7 May 2017, <https://www.lce.com/Team-Charters-What-are-they-and-whats-their-purpose-1219.html>.

How Design 2013, The Interdisciplinary Design Approach, Florida, viewed 7 May 2017, <http://www.howdesign.com/design-firm/the-interdisciplinary-design-approach/>.

Dubberly Design Office 2006, What is Systems Design, San Francisco, viewed 8 May 2017, <http://www.dubberly.com/articles/what-is-systems-design.html>.

Buchanan, R. 1992, ‘Wicked Problems in Design Thinking.’ Design Issues, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 14-15.

A. The Audit

Waste Audit
• Conduct and draw a 1 day organic waste audit of all the ‘organic waste’ you produce over a 24 hour period

Step 1: Record Info:
– Container from leftover food
– Mac & Cheese Wrapper
– Hungry Jacks Bag
– Corn Kernels Tin
– Tuna Can
– Tea Bags x2
– Pizza Boxes x2
– Beer Bottle
– Empty Tissue Box
– Apple Core x2
– Banana peels
– Carrot Peel
– Wilted Lettuce
– Empty Water Bottle
– Tissues/ Paper Towels
– Used Baking Paper

Step 2: Organise Findings

General Waste Recyclables Organic Waste
Container from leftover food hungry jacks bag tea bags
mac & cheese wrapper corn kernels tin apple core
pizza boxes tuna can banana peels
tissues/ paper towel beer bottle carrot peels
used baking paper empty tissue box wilted lettuce
empty water bottle

Step 3: Review Results

After collecting this data, I thought it would be best to categorise my findings into sub-groups bases on their environmental compatibility. I chose the titles: General Waste, Recyclables and Organic Waste. I then made various google searches in order to validate my separation of items into each category:
Are Tea Bags organic waste?
Can pizza boxes be recycled?
Do Tin cans have to be washed before recycled?

Here’s what I found:
Tea Bags are classified as organic waste
Pizza boxes can only be recalled if they have not be soiled by oil from its’ contents
Tin cans, containers and other recycling material doesn’t have to be washed but it’s best to give it a quick rinse prior to recycling.

Step 4: Reflect

Within a standard 24-hour weekday period, a maximum of 2 meals would have been shared at home. Typically a home cooked dinner prepared by my mum – anything from a hearty bowl of soup, pasta, meat or fish with sides. Considering our Italian heritage, pasta makes a consistent appearance on our menu, complimented by meats and home-grown tomato salads. The day on which this data was collected, however, was a quiet one at home. My parents are overseas for a month and therefore, there has been a substantial increase of take-away and microwave meals. My family consists of Father, Mother, Two brothers and myself. 3 uni students juggling work, assignments, sports and social lives leaves little to no time at home. For this reason, very little organic waste was collected on this day.

Canapé Food Audit

On Wednesday the 22nd of March, Ali’s Lab B ‘Wealth From Waste’ Class was invited to attend the 20th Anniversary and Book Launch celebrations for the Institute of Sustainable Futures. We were asked to audit the catering services of the event, including the bar and canapé provisions. Upon entrance, we noticed that staff members were carrying trays of food and drinks around the event. Food was also placed on 3 tall bar tables located in the centre of the function room. Each table contained a big bowl of hummus, olive tapenade and mini vegetables made to look like a garden bed, as well as a menu and serviettes. From this point, we were able to notice the staff members entering the room from a back entrance where we suspected food was being stored. We also noticed that the bowls were being taken off the tables once most of the vegetables were taken, despite the copious amount of hummus left in the bottom. At the bar, drinks were being poured in advanced and left to be taken by the wait staff. Glass and plastic bottles were being put into recycling bins located behind the bar.

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References

Government of South Australia, GREEN ORGANICS BIN – Some simple tips on how to Recycle Right, South Australia, viewed 1st April 2017, < http://www.zerowaste.sa.gov.au/upload/facts-sheets/recycleright-factsheet.pdf>.

Stanford University, Frequently Asked Questions: Contamination, Palo Alto CA, viewed 1st April 2017, <https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-contamination>.

Government of Victoria, Frequently Asked Questions, Victoria, viewed 3rd April 2017, <http://www.getitrightbinnight.vic.gov.au/how-to-get-it-right/faq/>.

Environment Australia 1999, Organics Market Development Strategy, Canberra, viewed 3rd April 2017, <http://www.environment.gov.au/archive/settlements/publications/waste/organics/strategy/>.

Waste Net 2016, Organic Waste, Western Australia, viewed 3rd April 2017, <http://www.wastenet.net.au/organic-waste.aspx>.