POST D : Literature Review

UC Davis university is amongst one of the top green universities in the world. Following is a literature review of their food waste management system and practices. Lastly, the specific factors that were addressed by this university to achieve results.

The UC Davis university consists of dining services just like our “underground cafe” at UTS. They aim to achieve zero-waste by 2020 by leading the campus community in reducing land-fill bound waste by composting,recycling and reusing while reducing and reusing consumption of water,energy,fuel and natural resources.

Food Recovery Hierarchy

The above image is a tool to address issues within food waste management. The top levels of the hierarchy are the best ways to prevent and divert wasted food, as they create the maximum benefits for the the eco-system.

This tool is being implemented not only by United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but multiple Agencies around the world, including Sydney.

Actions taken by UC University


Food Recovery Hiearchy,, viewed 1 June 2017

Just Ask

The following program provides the guests, the option of customisation of their meals, students are encouraged to request alterations from chef as well as signage is posted to remind the students that they can ask for a dish without sides, in half proportion or without a bun. This also encourages the students to request their dish in the same manner as to how they would prefer to be served at home.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 12.34.26 pm
Just Ask,, viewed 1 June 2017

The program above provides an opportunity for students dining common areas to sample a plated entree or soup before taking an entire serving of food. Try-a-taste helped to reduce 40% food waste reduction when it initially started. Surveys confirmed that students really enjoyed try-a-taste and it has led to greater satisfaction amongst students

“Love Food, Don’t Waste” Audits

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 12.34.16 pm

Food Waste Audit Winter 2017,, viewed 1 June 2017

Each quarter, the university dining services holds a waste audit in which a team of UC Davis students and Dining Services’ employees work together to collect, sort and weigh dining guests meals at each of the three dining facilities. As the guests come to return their dishes, they are asked to sort their waste into categories such as 

  1. 1.Edible food waste (coleslaw or a bread stick”,
  2. Inedible food waste (corn cob or banana peel)
  3. Liquid Waste ( any liquids)
  4. Napkin Waste

Research audits reveleaed that food waste average decreased by 30%, from 2.31 oz/person in Fall 2012 to 1.6oz/person in Spring 2015.

The following program establishes a network that collects and donates dining commons over-produced food to local community members in need.  This program was started in collaboration with dining service chefs, sous chefs, cooks and others. UC Davis Dining Services changed around 1262.flbs of food waste to food recovery via this service.


Sustainability Goals UCDAVID,, viewed 1 June 2017

Audit Winter Report 2017,, viewed 1 June 2017


POST C : Research Data Methods

Our group project explored possibilities to close gaps of food waste management within UTS. We focused on the platform of education supported by fun theory. This idea developed from the education that was provided within this subject from the start till the end of the semester; it helped our group to change our own personal practices regarding food waste thus we felt that there was a need for spreading this valuable information.

We gained knowledge on this topic by conducting a series of research processes that included defining a boundary for the research, personal interviews, surveys, literature review, auditing and bodies within UTS that were successful at educating students about serious issues.

In order to address the problem we first started with mapping our our boundary and the factors that contributed to food waste within UTS.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.41.23 PM

Using the boundaries mapping exercise, we were able to narrow down onto our research question and it helped us focus on the specific platform we wanted to choose to educate the student body. We realised education starts on the first day of university itself at orientation day where students from different cultures and values come together to share experiences. It seemed like a great opportunity to make them aware about food waste practices and Sustainability Goals at UTS as well as set common targets to eliminate food waste.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.51.29 PM

We further did a STEEP Analysis which stated factors that would influence our campaign. Through the combination of STEEP analysis, mapping and literature reviews we recognised the importance of a collaborative approach that was required within different stakeholders in order to make this campaign successful.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.41.13 PM

We created a structural chart of the stakeholders and their impact on the process of our campaign. This identified that one stakeholder may have more importance over another. We noticed that UTS:Greens was an existing body that was working towards similar goals as set by our group. So we further interviewed Seb Crawford (UTS Green, Sustainability Coordinator) and learnt about the efforts/strategies that were already implemented to address the issue of food waste management and education. He mentioned that, “most of the education happened only during the rollout of the food waste stream under branding of “UTS Cleans up”, this initiative was introduced in 2015 that focussed on waste segregation in order to pilot the composting machine on campus, Building 10”.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 7.19.51 PM

We wanted to know the existing knowledge of these systems and campaigns amongst Students so we conducted Surveys to analyse the percentage that was unaware

After getting the survey results, it was clear that there was a lack of interaction between the existing systems and the stakeholders of food waste at UTS, thus closing the gap through education supported visual communication and campaigns seemed like a good idea.

We conducted another Interview with Simone Sorters (Batyr@UTS); Batyr has been successful at educating students about mental health awareness at UTS through campaigns and events. Through a (Impact Report 2016) report we discovered that 80% of the responders were satisfied with their program and felt that their idea was successfully communicated and understood by the target audience (students).


Overview | University of Technology Sydney. 2017. Overview | University of Technology Sydney.:

UTS Green Policies & Strategies, University of Technology Sydney , viewed on June 10 2017

UTS Sustainability Strategy 2020,, viewed on June 10 2017


UTS Evenets,, viewed on June 10 201

Food Waste on Campus University,, viewed on June 10 2017

Post B : Group Caddie Design

As part of our assessment 2a, we were given a brief to design an organic bin liner using newspaper for the caddie waste bin. Our group consisted of 6 designers from different design disciplines like fashion, product, visual communication. In order to begin the task, it was very important to understand the strengths of each person in the group so we created a group charter that underlined personal characteristics and values that each person could offer to the group. The group charter also stated the ground rules and timelines while breaking up the project into different parts in order to complete it successfully by the deadline.

At this point, it was clear that with different skill sets we had different perspectives to approach the brief. Some of the ideas were analytical and problem solving based while others focussed on how information could be simplified in order to target maximum amount of people.Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 4.37.13 pm

Each group member contributed their past individual experiences and ideas related to organic waste management. These ideas varied from each other as we all approached the brief through the perspective of our respective disciplines. As for my input as a visual communication student, I live in student housing and previously conducted a food waste audit that helped me understand how my waste was being managed. I learnt through surveying food disposal habits of students living within UTS housing and realised that there was lack of knowledge about the process from purchasing to disposing waste. In order to change the behaviour of people, I believed that information needed to be prominent everywhere (for example:- signage) and laid out in the simplest form so everyone could understand it.

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 4.36.53 pm

Key elements of collaboration of design disciplines

  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Diversity
  • Sharing
  • Support
  • Problem Solving & Design thinking

It is important to include designers in the management of organic waste since designers create a mode of interaction and user experience within the system and the people in order to successfully make it function.  Designers help in the unification of multiple pieces of information through research and understanding. They further, package and simplify this information in order to make it easily accessible.

Systems and Design complement one another. A system aims at being holistic by following a method whereby the understanding of a system starts from the apparent issue and widens the system’s boundary by expanding the circle to include other factors that may not be so apparent but have an influence on, and are connected to it. This way, the “whole” system and the relationships are identified prior to modelling the system and finding ways of improving the system to and moving  towards a more desired outcome. 

Design on the other hand, is more empathetic and human centered and requires the modeler to be inside the problem and design the solution after having walked in the shoes of the affected as opposed to being an expert who is invited to come in and help identify  and improve on the problematic situation.

Therefore, Combining System thinking and Design thinking has the potential of improving on the holistic understanding of the current system as stakeholders have the opportunity to view the system from different angles. This has the potential to generate more informed ideas to transform the system with a more holistic view. An approach that combines the two would therefore be more holistic, empathetic and innovative.



Collopy F (2009)
Szulanski, F. (2010). Synergies Between Design thinking and Systems Thinking. 


Food Waste Audit : POST A


Image 3.jpgPhotos taken in my kitchen, 4 April 2017

Food waste is a very serious problem in today’s society and as human population continues to increase, the amount of food production and waste significantly increases simultaneously. In 2013, a research was conducted by the Australian Environmental Department and it was estimated that food waste cost Australian households more than $8 billion each year.  This waste causes environmental damage as it produces large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions..

In order to effectively understand food waste, I conducted a waste audit for one day of my own daily meals. I chose Sunday for this waste audit as I have a busy lifestyle on the weekdays and do not have the time to cook anything other than my breakfast. The following is a breakup of my meal plan for Sunday:- 


  1. 10:00 AM – Protein Power, Milk, Bananas, Frozen Berries, Peanut Butter and Honey
  1. 11:00 AM – Eggs, Coriander & Butter Toast
  2. 12:00 PM – Juice – Beetroot, Celery, Apple, Watermelon, Mint


  1. 1:30 PM – Beans, Rice, Tomatoes, Onions, Cumin Seeds, Bay leaves, Lebanese Bread
  2. 4:00 PM – Pasta, Chicken Breast, Cream, Pesto Sauce, Tomatoes, Onions, Mushrooms
  3. 5:30 PM – Coffee, Sugar, Milk, Paper Cup


  1. 8:30 PM – Pasta, Bolognese Sauce, Chicken Breasts
  2. 10:30 PM –  Ice popsicles

Waste Produced – Waste- Banana peels, Small bits of Berries stuck to blender, Honey & Peanut butter bits at the bottom, thin coating of milk on the sides, Egg shells, Egg Yellow base, Some stale coriander leaves, juice pulp leftover, little rice, onion peels, cumin seeds stuck to rice, bay leaves are thrown since they are just added for flavour, tomato juice while cutting, Pesto sauce stuck to plate, Coffee cup, Plastic from Ice popsicles and other packaging.

Solution for Waste  – Most of the waste produced by me is organic and cannot be reused. The scraps of a sum of all my meals are mainly shells, peels and vegetable leftovers. I cannot further use these leftovers so I usually create two different bins:- organics & packing/plastics. As a resident of UTS:HOUSING, we have two chutes for waste disposal, one consists of recyclables and the other of Organic Garbage (Green Bins) and I just have to put each of my garbage bags into their respective chutes. Another alternate to prevent wastage of stale vegetables, is buying fresh and calculated amounts of vegetables for each day itself since the Woolworths ie. open till 12 AM is only a 300m walk from my residence.

Image 2

UTS Food Waste System – Each morning, the green bins are collected and loaded into such a machine known as ‘the dehydrator’ located in the basement of building 10. The machine heats to about 85 degrees and dehydrates the food scraps, reducing their volume and weight by around 80 per cent.Dehydrator turns the waste into a clean, dry, soil-like material that is used by EarthPower in Western Sydney as a fuel for generating renewable energy.

Canape Event was an awareness event organised by UTS and a part of “Wealth from Waste”. The event focussed on educating the guests about the efforts being made by UTS in terms of sustainability, it also outlined the benefits from composting and growing organic food, all the food that was being served at the event was organically produced using recycled soil. It demonstrated the loop from starting to finish, having zero waste.

There were professional caterers had prepared these organic dishes such as rice paper rolls, small organic food pots/gardens through long-term planning, while serving, the caterers had a list of ingredients that was used to prepare a specific dish to educate and take these useful practices back home. 

As for the food waste audit within the event, I feel that there was still a lot of food wasted as there might have not been a strict calculation of guests attending thus over production of food items could have been avoided.

Image 1, viewed 4 Apri 2017



UTS:Sustainable Futures, Processing Food Waste, Sydney, Viewed 4 April 2017

Food Waste Statistics, National Waste Policy, Australia, Viewed 4 April 2017

UTS 2013, WASTE MANAGE PLAN 2013-2015, Sydney, Viewed 4 April 2017,