Michelle, Amy, Mary and Erland

To start of our design proposal brief we began to boundary set anything associated with the UTS waste system that is in place now. From this we came up with three main areas that we felt as a group needed to be improved to create a better organics waste system at UTS.

The three areas were:

  • Education
  • Signage / Bins
  • Data Tools


Having two different disciplinary areas in our group we had two main methods of design research. Visual communication designers use their computers to do their research as well as data collection and statistics,  while fashion designers use process journals, observe, analyse and map what is around them. With this we used a combination of our methods and created an online survey which 52 people filled out and completed online research. We also did observations around the university and system mapping which we found to be a useful tool.


  • Other university recycling programs

From this research we discovered that not a lot of organics waste is done in Australia but over in American and Canada they have a tournament called Recycle Mania . This is an 8 week tournament that consists of universities and colleges across America and Canada and helps promote their university recycle and waste programs.

  • Bins

We researched into the types of bins that are around the world at the moment. The biggest piece of information received from was that bins with different shape openings are 34% more effective then other bins. (Heimbuch, J., 2016)

Bins that were colourful, neat, and clearly represented were more appealing to the eye. This research was done through observation and analysing the bin designs create form around the world.

  • Data Collection Process

Data collection tools were researched to inform us what is already around and what UTS could potentially implement in a new organics waste system


  • Observations around UTS

Part of our interdisciplinary research we incorporated observations, so we looked around the uni and observed the bins in placement and the signage. The bins were usually placed on walls or near pillars with a small signage around it, but the signage was never at eye level or clear and precise.


Our survey consisted of 10 questions, which 52 people answered.Link Below 

The survey results showed that  90% of people were not aware that UTS was trying to introduce food waste bins. This indicated to us that awareness was the first place to start introducing into the waste management system. If people are not aware of what is happening they cannot separate their waste and help the organics waste program.
Th survey provided solid feedback that we could work with.

Problem Statement 

With the introduction of on-site organic waste processing to UTS, we need a waste separation system and ongoing education campaign for the continuously changing student body, staff and visitors that results in a near-zero contamination organic waste stream.


(Map displaying the focus areas and sub sections associated with it )


What is – What could be 

We created a system  to map out what is present to us now and what the potential of the system could be. Example below.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 9.51.39 pm.png

From here we had to create the middle section of the system, the missing link. The solution to get us to where we wanted to be. We focused on Education, Bins and Data tools.

Below is our solutions for the areas of focus.


Awareness is the first key to organics waste management. Educating the students and teachers is the first step. As their is a continual over turn of new students every year and semesters we thought that an o week education session on organics waste was ideal. So students become aware of what UTS is trying to achieve. To have a stall during o week that demonstrates the bin usage, what should go in what bin, the dos and don’ts, the benefits of the environment and the negative impacts on contamination to the environment and atmosphere as well as why it is important to now mix the incorrect waste in the wrong bin.

Once informed in o week there will be an introduction of a competition the UTS Food Waste Race which will be between faculties. This is based on the highest percentage of food waste in bins with the least amount of contamination. The incentive at the end will be a free BBQ for the staff and students. Promotion poster is below.


Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 9.53.15 pm.png

Bin / Signage 

We have re designed the bins for UTS. A one unit bin with two sections. One for the food waste and the other co- mingled. The two different openings to hopefully have more efficient waste management by students and staff. Imagery used with clearly presented ticks and cross (dos and donts) for the bins.


Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 9.52.57 pmScreen Shot 2016-06-24 at 9.53.03 pm



Data collection will be streamed on the splash screens around the uni and show the count of waste saved. Example of a splash back below.

This keeps the students informed on what is going on and how it is helping the environment. A positive reinforcement statement for the students.



Final Presentation Link 


Heimbuch, J. (2016). Recycling Bins 34% More Effective When They Have…Holes!. [online] TreeHugger. Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2016].

National Recycling Week. (2016). Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2016]. (2016). About | Recyclemania. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2016].


Post B- Collecting Information

Data Methods 

  • Analysis
  • Photos
  • Observation
  • Secondary Research
  • Mapping

Above is a list of data methods I used in my waste audit and commonly use through out any research tasks. All of these methods would usually be used  when investigating organic waste like I have previously done in my ‘Post A- Wastage’ blog. Photos create a visualisation, something easy to see and clearly presented. Observation and Analysis is used after any form of research weather it is visual, written, informal or formal. To reflect on what has been found or been produced in another individuals work. Secondary research will create a base of ideas, and critucual information and mapping it a great way to present a clear visualisation of information.

Interviews is my favourite data methods. Getting primary information from numerous different individuals under different circumstances creates new insights for me.For example, I am from a small country town where we recycle everything we can, all we have to do is just put it in the bin outside. But I recently discussed this with a friend who lives in an apartment in Sydney and they mentioned the recycling bin for the apartment is on the stair case and is only small. So at least half of what they should be recycling goes in the bin. This opened up my mind to another circumstance and why they didn’t recycle so much.

National Food Waste Assessment 

While researching organic waste I found the National Food Waste Assessment. Through out this report they in-depth analysed the reliability of their secondary and primary sources and mapped it out in graphs. Example below.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 9.55.24 pm

(Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 2011)

While I am aware this doesn’t directly relate to design initiative, it is a good example to check reliability of sources for a project before creating ideas and solutions off unreliable information.

The National Food Waste Assessment seeks through organic waste,  starting in the production stage of organic matter. As shown in graph below.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 9.47.38 pm.png

(Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 2011)

I honestly never considered organic matter form the production before researching into organic waste. This graph indicates the excess waste in the brown sections at the top and bottom. All of this in which could be recycled and brought to the consumers attention when purchasing organic matter and food.

Back to the design initiative. UTS claims to recycle 80% of its waste product (UTS Green 2013) but what about its organics?

UTS:ISF is helping create a better environment and management system.




Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, National Food Waste Assessment, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

UTS Green 2013, Leadership in sustainability, viewed 13 June 2016, <>


Post C- Manage the waste

Why is Organic Management Important?

Organic waste management is very important to sustain the environment and should be acted upon by everyone.  “recycling of animal and urban organic waste for fertilisation of agricultural soils affects soil and plants by increasing nutrient levels, aggregation, biological activity and reducing bulk density” (Haynes & Naidu, 1998)  If organic matter is not recycled the earth does not benefit. Paul Sewell mentions in his TED talk that not managing organic matter leads to” loss of farm land, loss of soil” (Ted Talk 2013) If organics are recycled the nutrients can be used to create a better soil and farm land.  Sewell discusses his business Harvest Power. They take organic matter and turn it into bio gas and organic fertilisers which they sell on their website.  He mentions that the biogas can be formed into CMG which can be used for transport – bus, trucks and cars. A big improvement to lessen green house gases if started world wide. Organic management is important to overall improve and sustain our environment. A company called HomeBiogas has created a product, example below, that creates organic matter into waste in your home.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 10.32.12 pm.png(HomeBioGas 2015)


This is a domestic version of Sewells industry product. While it manages organic waste it also helps the household with saving energy which is saving money on bills has the biogas can be used for lighting, water heating and cooking. A great invention and keeps the organic management at a domestic level. To reuse in the one environment and cycle.

Government Examples:

Zero Waste, South Australia

South Australia has one of the best waste management in Australia “In 2010-11 79.9 per cent (4.3 million tonnes) of material was diverted from landfill in South Australia.” (Government of South Australia, n.d.) This is due to the new infrastructure, designs, time and programs put into their management systems, that clearly pays off. Their new organics infrastructure detects any non organics to dispose of before create compost. South Australia is the leading organics state in NSW.

Comparing a well established system to a rural NSW town, Bathurst. My home town of Bathurst  have only just implemented a organics waste bin to every household as of March 2016. With every green bin came a small compost bin for the household, as shown below.


(Compost bin for the household)

Bathurst has only received an organics waste bin this year, while other cities and towns have had them for over 5 years. This is proving that the NSW government is behind on organics management. As a town of 40,000 people and no organics bins until now. That is a lot of organics waste that could of been put towards something to benefit the environment.

Institutional Examples:

The Zoo of Victoria have implemented a well structured organics waste management scheme from recycling food to recycling enclosures. Their organic waste from food and animal dun is collected and created into soil that can be used around the zoo. This process is all done on site with a ‘hotrod’ machine as displayed in the video below.

They also have a worm farm and they recycle structures form their previous enclosures and resources around the zoo to create new enclosures. The zoo clearly has a good understand and approach to organic management. In relations to zoos I wanted to see how the comparison to Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

Taronga Zoo has a different tactic to organic waste. Their waste is processed offsite and not necessarily put back into the zoo but is still recycled. They work with SITA  to manage their organic waste. The video below goes through the process and outcomes.

Taronga Zoo also has a great organics management scheme. “The ongoing partnership (SITA) aims to implement strategies that maximise recycling and diversion of waste from landfill. During this period over 80% of general waste, 600 tonnes of animal waste, 100 tonnes of paper & cardboard and 100 tonnes of organic waste was successfully diverted from landfill at Taronga Zoo” (Annual Report 2014)


Annual Report 2013-2014, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

Bathurst Regional Council, food and garden waste, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

Government of South Australia, South Australia’s waste management capability, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

Haynes RJ & Naidu R (1998) Influence of lime, fertilizer and manure applications on soil organic matter content and soil physical conditions: a review. Nutr Cycl Agroecosys 51: 123–137.

Homebiogas 2015, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

NSW EPA, 2015, Organic Waste, Sydney South, Viewed 7th June 2016, <>


Taronga Conservation Society Australia, Waste Management, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

Victoria Zoo, waste management, viewed 2016, <>



Post A- Wastage

My waste in a day

I began the day with two eggs for breakfast. These eggs created the first matter of organic waste for the day.As the day proceeded I was making patterns and toiles at uni, this created fabric and paper waste which all went into the rubbish bins. Then ate a banana, the peel went into the rubbish. I never realised how much waste a day I had been creating until I started to track everything I was throwing out. As the day went on I had thrown out a tuna tin, a coffee take away cup and muesli bar wrappers to add to the beginning of the days waste. I usually recycle and thought my waste consumption was not too bad. But this made me think that I need to pick my game up. I honestly have never really considered food as a waste that contributes to landfill, carbon gases and pollution in general. I thought throwing food waste in the bin would just lead to it decomposing in the tip and going back into the earth. But in Paul Sellews TED Talk he discusses that organic matter with general rubbish in tips creates methane emissions that contributes to 20% of the methane emissions in the world today (Ted Talk 2013).  Keeping this in mind,  having organic matter in landfill means the earth is missing out on the healthy nutrients and benefits from the thrown out organic matter.

13461048_10154289842761204_953350316_o(Banana Peel-My Image)

(Egg Shells- My Image)

What is Organic Matter?

The definition of organic waste from the Victorian government is “Organic waste, or green waste, is organic material such as food, garden and lawn clippings. It can also include animal and plant based material and degradable carbon such as paper, cardboard and timber.” (Environment Victoria n.d.) This creates a large scale of waste that can be reduced, recycled and reused. Decreasing statistics of organic waste and benefiting the environment.


The Life  Cycle of Egg Shells 

I consume eggs almost everyday but I have never thought about the life cycle of the egg shell or the eggs production and organics matter wasted from the process. Eggs are consumed by a multitude of individuals every day and the egg shells are organic waste. But what about the organic waste from the production as well? Below is a diagram of egg production.


  • Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 4.04.57 pm

(Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 2008)

There is a lot to consider in egg production. All of these steps contribute to the environment pollution and green house gasses in the world.  The Australian government has created an Environmental Egg Production Guidelines to try and create a more sustainable production for Australian producers. In the report it outlines the amenity impact of egg farms; the smell, noise and insects that they create and attract and the pollution of ground water and the surface water. All subject matters I have never thought about when eating my eggs.

Looking at the egg production section, the guideline states when discussing broken eggs in production ” If allowed by the development approval/licence, consider composting these by- products with an appropriate co-composting agent (sawdust, wood shavings, paper, cardboard, etc). This will allow the nutrient and organic matter value of these products to be utilise” (Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 2008) This could allow for a lot of organic waste to be discarded into landfill if the license is not held with a production site. Should the Australian Government be pushing for majority of egg farms to have a license to use organics as compost? I would say yes. If you consider that there are 423 egg production farms in Australia that produce roughly 203 million eggs (Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 2008) then there is a lot of waste. Or potentially could be a lot of recycled organics and fresh nutritional soil.

Have you ever considered having your own chickens at home? Chickens help  ” your home’s ecosystem, performing useful services like pest control, food waste disposal, and compost turning” (Rastogi, N 2016, para 11) Numerous people have chicken hens and there are so many benefits form doing so. Besides fresh eggs, you can have a complete cycle of organic waste management and healthy soil from compost.


Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 2008, Environmental Guidelines for for the Australian Egg Industry,  June 2008, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

Environment Victoria n.d., organic waste, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

Rastogi, N 2016, Green Eggs vs Ham, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

Ted Talk, 2013, Compost king, viewed 13 June 2016, <>


Post D- Alternative System

Taronga Zoo/ SITA have began an effective organics waste foundation partnership with the offsite sorting and production levels. But what if it was to be done onsite?

The process of taking the organics which is transported in trucks further add to fossil fuels and green house gasses in the environment. This could be reduced by having an organics management onsite. The use of the Victorian Zoo organics waste management is onsite creates an easy access for the composted matter usage around the zoo and has a more controlled environment. As the employees get to see and understand the process.

While Taronga is well established in the organics waste management area, it can be improved. Using a machine to create organic matter into biogas and compost, as spoke about in Paul Sewells TED Talk,  in a zoo would be more beneficial then having an off site plant. Having this machine it would create biogas and be reused in the zoo for electricity and potentially using the bio gas to run the trucks and machinery at the zoo. While also create compost that can be used for fertiliser.

The effectiveness of organic waste management is outstanding and has improved significantly in the past few years, but if the management would also consider the production in organic waste management and create a better solution thats more economical, that would be incredible.


Taronga zoo, powered by bio gas which is generated onsite by the organic matter created from the visitors, animals, employees and production.

Biogas fuelling the machines onsite and the electricity on site. Organic matter used as soil for the gardens and enclosures. Example: Below is a graph of a bio gas digester based on a farm. A zoo can be seen as a farm. Animals live there and are looked after, they also create wastage which can we turned into a gas to fuel the zoo.

If Taronga zoo implemented this design which is underground, having no space taken up onsite the proposal could be efficient and work well.

Having a system that is under ground, not effecting and taking up space in the zoo is ideal. It eliminates the factor of taking up more space. As the zoo is in the city, it doesn’t have  a lot of room. So why not have it underground?

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.50.35 am

(Smile to the future)

Evidence of an effective use of bio gas is at Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex where they have saved thousands of dollars yearly due to bio gas. If this is only on one section of the zoo, a whole zoo could benefit even at a greater level. Not only will machines be fuelled by bio gas and save the zoo money, it saves the environment green house gases, which is also preventing the animals in close vicinity of breathing in the chemicals from machinery.w


Smile to the future, bio gas installation, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

RWL Water, Zoos Seek Sustainability With Biogas Projects, viewed 13 June 2016, <>

u.s department of energy, Alternative fuels data centre, viewed 13 June 2016,<>

Bio gas australia, digested bio mass, viewed 13 June 2016, <>