Bin-go. The design and research process.

Our brief

As a group and with the guidance of our tutors, we constructed our own brief that would seek to identify a problem within UTS’s waste management and offer a solution. A problem we identified throughout our classes and research was that students, especially international, were not knowledgeable in practices surrounding waste segregation in NSW. Our Aim then was to educate UTS students in better waste management practices.

During our project we used ;Mind Maps, boundary mapping, stakeholder mapping, interviews, surveys, literature reviews, STEEP analysis, review of existing products and waste audits.


Mind maps

Mind maps were used at almost every stage of our projects. The creativity and productivity blog ‘Focus’ outlines many of the benefits of mind mapping, such as they present information clearly, they are visually driven and they enable a free flow of ideas (Richard 2015)

Personally it is a tool I use very often instead of listing dot points as I find it faster and easier to add new ideas later. To begin we used mind maps to explore our boundaries and the stakeholders. Later in the project mind maps were used to brainstorm solutions to our derived problems.

Boundary and stakeholder Mapping

We started mapping the boundaries and stakeholder by using a mind map to explore the categories and the contents of those categories that would be relevant to our brief. Our goal was to identify who was relevant and important for us to consider when conducting research and designing. We needed to identify boundaries so we would stick to what is relevant to our stakeholders. By doing this it would also help us to constrict our research and design to what we have time to conduct.

Boundary Map

Boundary Mapping of Project


Stakeholder map



Conducting Research

Literature reviews

To see what practices and insights already exist we searched academic databases to find the relevant and applicable literature.

Waste Education and Awareness Strategy: Towards Solid Waste Management (SWM) Program at UKM

The paper is about the introduction of waste minimisation practices at UKM (what is it). It aimed to assess waste management amongst first year students. The paper assessed a very similar demographic to ours as it focused on first year students. The paper showed that most student, around 60%, had a positive attitude towards the implemented program. It notes that that there is still a need for the university to encourage awareness through education.

Empowering education

The book by Ira Shor is about Shor’s 20 years of experimentation into learning methods. Shor mentions the importance of international education (through university) and external education (at home) to create social reform. It states that the education institution has the responsibility to embed good social practices into education to change social trends into the future.

STEEP analysis

The university of Pittsburgh defines a STEEP analysis as :

A tool for structuring thinking and key categories to make sure you do not overlook any is the well-known STEEP analysis. The STEEP analysis is a logical and effective way to begin.” (University of Pittsburgh 2017)


Our STEEP analysis was:


Multi-cultural environment, wide ranging food waste practices.
Varied levels of engagement in food waste practices.
University practice and student engagement and awareness not aligned.


UTS largely invested in waste management strategies utilising new technology.
Developing solutions for organic food and general waste will become increasingly important


Waste generated on campus from various sources.
Access to a consistent waste disposal practice is not defined. Various systems used as home and at university.


Potential engagement with Sydney council, kickbacks/ returns for proper waste management.


Bureaucratic nature of organisation complicates the implementation process.
Constancy will require changes to existing systems.
Lack of student representation surround food was management.

Our Design

From the research we had conducted before commencing our design we believed an effective solution with benefit from the use of ‘Fun Theory’. Similar to gamification  “the process of making activities more game-like” as defined by academic Kevin Werbach (Werbach 2014). Fun Theory aims to teach social practices by making the learning process fun.

Existing products

We investigated existing products that have used fun theory to teach or persuade people about healthy lifestyles and disposing of waste. Fun Theory has been pioneered by Volkswagen.  The website created by VW displays many examples of the theory in practice.

The following youtube video using bins is quite relevant to our design.

Waste audit

Before we delved into learning about waste management a couple of weeks ago we had created a waste audit. To learn how own waste management practices had changed we conducted a new audit following our education and research.

I saw a slight improvement of my waste management such as improved accuracy of waste types. We learnt the importance and benefits of composting but not how to compost or what kind of compost is appropriate for apartments. So although my waste audit has not yet improved dramatically I believe it will continue to improve as I have the ambition to start composting.


We believe that there is a lack of focus of education towards waste management and that lead to problems with students’ attitude towards waste management at UTS. Our research indicated that a gap needs to be bridged between UTS’s sustainability goals and student attitudes to encourage more engagement in UTS students in correct waste management. By doing this we believe students will be more concerned with how they dispose of waste at university and home.

I am proud and impressed with UTS’s sustainability goals but I believe that UTS has the power to expand its impact by better teaching its students proper waste management. By doing this students will take home those good practices and sustain them in life after university. The problem that I see is that university will not be credited for practices performed outside of university and therefore would not be interested.

Reference list

Richard 2015, Mind Mapping Benefits – Who Needs Mind Maps?, Mind Meister, Viewed 18 June 2017,< >

University of Pittsburgh 2017, Marketing, Planning and Strategy – Oakland Campus: S.T.E.E.P., Viewed 18 June 2017, < >

Volkswagen 2009, The Fun Theory, VW, Viewed 18 June 2017,< >

Werbach K 2014, (Re)Defining Gamification: A Process Approach, Persuasive Technology, vol 8462, pp 266-272


Preventing food waste. A comparison of Japan and the UK.

The paper The article ‘Preventing Food Waste: CASE STUDIES OF JAPAN AND THE UNITED KINGDOM’ by Andrew Parry, Paul Bleazard, Koki Okawa compares how Japan and the UK measure and attend organic waste (Parry et al 2015). Food waste policies were prepared in Japan by the Japanese government and in the UK by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). The information has been prepared for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for its ongoing work in trade impacts of food loss and and waste reduction.

The OECD was created in 1960 to stimulate economic growth and world trade. It comprises of 35 countries of which include Japan, the UK and Australia (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2017).

In 2000 Japan introduced policies to control and recycle food loss and waste (Parry et al. 2015). Japan motors the effectiveness of its policies by collecting data from manufacturing, wholesaling, retail and catering industries. The Japanese food industry has created a working group that examines business customs. The aim of the group is to reduce food waste and to review delivery deadlines and labelling methods such as best-before dates.


(Parry et al. 2015 p.20)


The articles states that the degree of freshness is the most cited reason to discard organic waste. Also common is expiration of use-by date and best-before date. The article claims that through recent advances in technology products now have a much longer lifespan. The problem it says is that expiration dates to not necessarily reflect these advancements. A problem in Japan as explained by this paper is the business custom between food manufacturers, wholesaler and retailer called the ‘one third rule’. The rule is defined as:

“retailers divide the period from the date of manufacture to the best before date into roughly three equal parts, and apply them as the period for the products to be delivered from manufacturers or wholesalers and as the period for the products to be sold to consumers.” (Parry et al. 2015 p.23)

Other countries have similar practices but are not as strict. For Example in U.S. the deadline for product delivery is half of the best-before date and in Europe it is two-thirds of the best-before date. This results in less food making it to the consumer market in Japan. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry aim to extend the delivery deadline to retailers from one-third to half of the best-before date.

In the UK WRAP has initiated the Courtauld Commitment (CC) and Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA) which act as the primary mechanisms for facilitation of food waste.

WRAP define food waste as:

“Food waste is any food that had the potential to be eaten, together with any unavoidable waste, which is lost from the human food supply chain, at any point along that chain”. (Parry et al. 2015 p.27)

Avoidable food is food that is edible where as unavoidable food is inedible such as banana peels.


(Parry et al. 2015 p.34)


(Parry et al. 2015 p.35)

From the graph one can see that 40% of all food waste are ‘carbohydrates’. Even more surprising is that potatoes alone make up the largest group at 21%. Significant reduction in waste could be made just by targeting the waste of potatoes.

The article ‘Preventing Food Waste: CASE STUDIES OF JAPAN AND THE UNITED KINGDOM’ by Andrew Parry, Paul Bleazard, Koki Okawa was provided by the OECD and is available for anyone to download for free from their iLibrary –

In 2007 WRAP launched ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ (Love Food Hate Waste 2017). lfhw-footer-logo

Since the release of this campaign it has spread world wide. The NSW EPA created their own LFHW website (NSW EPA 2017). This website is great as it takes the concepts of LFHW and revolves it around what’s relevant to NSW. It contain solutions to reduce food waste as well as food waste research that has been conducted in NSW.

It is noted that in Japan the increase in product lifespan has evolved faster than the labeling (Parry et al. 2015). I don’t know if that’s the case in Australia. It is worth mentioning that the use-by date is there for safety reasons where as the best-before label is there as a suggestion and can be consumed after that date. If you are not sure about the difference here is a website that can explain in more detail as well as provide many other tips.

Also in Australia we have a label for baked-on which informs the consumer when the item was backed and lets them decide themselves when is the appropriate date to discard the item. More information about labeling can be found on the Food Standards in Australia and New Zealand’s ‘Overview and Application of Food Labelling and Information Requirements’ user guide on page 15 (Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2011).


Reference list

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2011, Overview and Application of Food Labelling and Information Requirements, Viewed 18 June 2017, <>

Love Food Hate Waste 2017, LFHW, Viewed 18 June 2017, <>

NSW EPA 2017, Love Food Hate Waste, Viewed 18 June 2017, <>

Parry, A. Bleazard, P. Okawa, K. 2015, Preventing Food Waste CASE STUDIES OF JAPAN AND THE UNITED KINGDOM, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 76, Viewed 18 June 2017, <>

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2017, About, OECD, Viewed 18 June 2017, <>



Bin-go caddy liner

As a group we were tasked to help the NSW EPA design a bin liner made of newspaper that would be placed inside a small benchtop organics bin. To me the design I thought had to be extremely simple. Maybe pessimistic but I felt that even just a couple of folds is too much for many people to bother to attempt. I believe the solution lied not in constructing an origami construction but in the manor of how the paper is placed within the bin. However I was alone with these thoughts in my group so we continued with the origami solution. I do think the origami solution is more effective and still very easy but I didn’t feel very confident in being able to communicate that to the public and motivate them to try and use this solution.

As a group of different specialised designers I believe we were able to use what we knew as designers to envision a user based solution to the problem given. In the early stages of the project we designed our mission statement. Which was helpful to provide clarity and guidance for each decision (Bader & Jaeger 2014). Our main concerns for the project were; clarity, Simplicity, affordability and practicality.

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 4.37.13 pm

The brief of designing an origami paper bin liner was very direct in its objectives. In designing the liner we took great concern over the user experience. This meant not just considering what we think would be awesome or what the client wants but instead how the users will interact with our design (Gube 2010). So we needed a design simple and easy enough that people would actually be motivated enough to make it. Also we had to be able to communicate how simple this design was. We considered whole experience, from making the liner, to placing waste in the liner, to removing and discarding the liner. We made changes to the liner so that it would be strong enough to hold as much waste as what could fit in the caddy. This was a balance as if it was too complicated people would not make it in the first place but if it was not strong enough it would break on people and then they would not make it again.


By Understanding the user experience through observation and interviewing and reworking the findings into our design we would be able to impel the user to correctly dispose of organic waste. As our target users are almost everyone in NSW this meant interpreting the different reasons why different demographics don’t dispose of organic waste properly. Conducting practices of design thinking as described by Tim Brown from Harvard Business Review became a big part of this project (Brown, 2008).

Our final design fulfilled the brief outlines and was an effective design, however I do question how prevalent newspapers are these days and how this trend will continue. With more time for this project I would have liked to explored this question more thoroughly and if appropriate considered alternatives to a newspaper based liner.


Reference List

Bader C. & Jaeger M. 2004, What Makes an Interdisciplinary Team Work? A Collection of Informed Ideas, Discussion Prompts, and Other Materials to Promote an Atmosphere of Collaboration, Trust, and Respect, Pacific University, viewed 12th June 2017, < >

Brown, T. 2008, Design Thinking, Hardvard Business Review, viewed 12th June 2017, < >

Gube, J. 2010, What is User Experience Design? Overview, Tools and Resources, Smashing Magazine, viewed 12th June 2017, < >

Post A: One Day Waste Audit

My audit of a semi-typical Monday. All of the day was recorded except dinner which was eaten out, making it hard to record. I have no compost and my local government does not provide organic waste bins.


By conducting this audit I can start to consider where I can cut down on waste.

I can use loose leaf tea instead of teabags. Whether or not tea bags can be placed in organic waste or used in a compost is something I’ve never been sure about. The website ‘Gardening Know How’ claims that tea bags can be placed in organic waste unless the bags contain polypropylene which can’t be composted. In this case the website recommends opening the bags and composting the tea leaves as they increase the composting speed.

Replacing the pod coffee with ground beans. Means less plastic waste and the used coffee is much easier to be composted or placed in the organic waste bin.

Replacing plastic bags with canvas bags. After the days shopping I needed three plastic bags to carry my groceries. I have about a dozen canvas bags but as always I forgot them. I keep the plastic bags to be used as bin liners but my preference would be to not use them in the first place. To facilitate the use of canvas bag I will be keeping them in different and convenient location, such as in my backpack and in the car.

Recycling soft plastics. Unfortunately there is still the plastic from the chips, cheese and Muesli bar which cannot be recycled in the yellow bin. This does not mean those plastics cannot be recycled although it will require more effort. Coles provides in 500 of it’s stores an in-store recycling bin for soft plastics.



Grant, A. ‘Composting Tea Bags: Can I Put Tea Bags In The Garden?‘, Gardening Know How, viewed 5 April 2017,< >

Coles, ‘Waste‘, viewed 5 April 2017, < >