Post A: Food Waste Audit

Conducting a Food Waste Audit for a family explores
i.) both an open and closed system
because it is dependent on the commitments and activities of the individuals within the household, as well as their personal choices particularly in food and waste consumption. Furthermore, within this small case study,
ii.) we encounter dynamic movements in the life cycle of the food,
allowing us to further understand the complexity involved in the process of food waste and consumption.

In this post, we will explore a very typical Saturday morning for food waste consumption in my family. Having first attempted to conduct an audit at a book lunch at university (*see picture at end of blog); this particular audit focuses towards the routine that each individual member of the family usually undertakes on this day. This also means that  the ‘One-day Saturday Audit’ will provide similar results for the general Saturdays (although the types of food consumed will be very different), of the family.

Audit: A survey of each family member’s food intake during their own personal activities on Saturday

From the diagram, we notice the complexity of food consumption within the household.  It is generally likely that as a family, individuals would likely consume the same types of meals (and thus we can simply audit in terms of the quantity consumed). However, with different commitments and habits of the individual, there can also be variations in choices (as seen in the diagram for example, both parents consuming lunch at home, but it was a ‘takeaway,’ and then Child #1 decided to have ‘Brunch’ instead of having breakfast or lunch).

The home is subjected to Penrith City Council that makes use of the Organic Bin System (or ‘Green Bin’) which encourage a process “that organic waste is recycled into high-grade compost, recyclables are remade into new products and the small amount of waste leftover is buried in landfill” (Penrith City Council Bin Services). Thus, to continue the story of food consumption, a further audit was initiated, from the ‘food diary’ of each individual (via survey of each person), to an actual closer inspection of the wastes inside the Green Bin for that Saturday. With this, we can focus on the food process at a more specific direction.

Audit of Saturday food waste found inside the ‘Organic Waste Caddie’ at home, which is to be emptied in the Green Bin daily.

The results shown above enables us to notice that most of the scraps are from the family dinner since every single member of the family was at home to have a sit-down meal together. However, there is also evidence (though scarce) of food scraps from other meals throughout the day, even if they were not homemade.

This further leads to the realisation of the different lifecycles present inside the Organics Bin. It also allows us to discover a complex flow of the food wastes, which converge towards a singular direction towards the Organic Bin. As the Bin is collected and moves towards the recycling sites, the wastes are then segregated into different systems; thus splitting the life cycle and again, diverging them into different processes and systems- a great example of the dynamics and complexity of the food waste process.

Sketch Diagram of dynamic movements in the lifecycle of food waste conducted in the audit
Coffs Coast Waste Services
Coffs Coast Waste Services in NSW that also implements the Organics Bin System which is a structure that is similar to all other Councils that implement this System (Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, Coffs Coast Waste Services)


UTS Book Launch Audit
* UTS Book Launch – Initial attempt at Food Audit
* UTS Book Launch – Initial attempt at Food Audit



Coffs Coast Waste Services, Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. Online PDF, Coffs Harbour City Council, Coffs Harbour, viewed 2 April 2017 <;

Penrith City Council, Bin Services. Penrith City, viewed 31 March 2017, <;


Assessments 2017


40% (Individual)

4 x blog posts, 400 words each + 2 comments on the posts of other students. These blog posts don’t have to be submitted in order, but you do need to tag them appropriately CATEGORY “PostA” “PostB” “PostC” or “PostD”.

Tag your article with as many appropriate and relevant keywords, such as “compost”, “service design”, “plastic”, “bacteria”, “stakeholders” etc. as you see fit.

All references and images must be hyperlinked to the source (if online) using in text referencing and also listed in full at the bottom of the post (as per standard academic practice).

Since your articles will be visible to the public upon submission, it would be best to write your post in a Word document first and have somebody proofread your writing before uploading. If you use a pseudonym, please let us know so we can find your work. Do NOT publish your student number.

Use of images:

  • Each post must have at least one accompanying image, which may be an illustration or drawing, collage or compilation of images, a single image from a referenced source, or a text quote graphic in jpeg format.
  • Keep image quality in mind – images should be a minimum of 600px wide, since the main column width is 656, except in the full-width template, where it’s 937.

Due: Completed posts are due June 19th at 9am. There are also interim due dates during session.

POST A: Conduct and draw a 1 day organic waste audit of all the ‘organic waste’ you produce over a 24 hour period – You may use images, text, photos etc. but you must use drawing of some kind. Also include your first attempt at an food waste audit – the canapé audit at the UTS book launch.

POST B: Reflection on your group’s caddie design and group charter for assessment 2a. How can different design disciplines contribute to organic waste solutions? Why is it important to include designers in the management of organic waste? What contribution does design make to thinking about systems? to changing systems? to inventing systems?

POST C: Reflect on data methods you have investigated and how they contribute to addressing your project brief.

POST D: Conduct a literature review of systems of organic waste management. What institutions and/or organisations are managing their organic waste locally/internationally? Include web links, how you found this information, why is it relevant? and include reports and good quality data. Include at least one more in-depth research on one of these systems.


A blog post has a title, an introduction, a structure, high quality images (credited and attributed), and references. It is well organized and visually appealing.

Each post needs to include 3 references. The quality of your references will be assessed.

See subject outline for assessment CRITERIA.


GROUP DESIGN: Waste Caddie (brief from EPA in week 2): 10% (Group Work)

This will be your first go at working in your interdisciplinary group. You will present a design. It could be a mock up, a video, a poster etc. Each group has 5-7 minutes to present.

You will present your design in class with your Group Charter in class. Include in your presentations:

  • a reflection on your group process
  • what each of you contributed
  • what you would do differently next time
  • an explanation of how your design fits into a broader system of waste management.


Design Project: 40% (Group Work)

For this project you will work in teams. Each team will consist of 4-5 UTS students.

You will generate your own brief in consultation with your teachers and address the brief with a collaborative design. There are 3 submission points:

  • To a panel of experts on Friday June 7th, 8 minute presentations.
  • You will also need to post your project to the class blog (1 post per group). This should be an abbreviated form of your presentation (600 words maximum), and posted under the category label “PROJECT”.

Your project will involve extensive research. Your research may include:

  • Observing, drawing, mapping, photographing, sound recording, inhabiting or any other method of discovering
  • Interviews with people, including students and staff
  • Investigation of original sources (such as design documentation, reviews, plans, oral histories, this may involve investigation in the library, archives or museums)
  • Investigation of secondary sources including websites, books, reports, catalogues and scholarly articles.
  • You should develop a strong and persuasive rationale for your design which will form part of your final verbal presentation.

ASSESSMENT 3: DUE JUNE 21, 2017 by email

Reflection 10% (Individual)

600 words

Write a cover letter for a job you REALLY want as a designer at the Environmental Protection Agency. Address it correctly.

Include the skills and competencies gained though your involvement in the Wealth From Waste studio. Include an anecdote about how you developed these (i.e. Where did it happen? who was involved? and what changed for you (if anything)?)

You might to want to refer to ‘transdisciplinary practice’,
‘interdisciplinary design’, ‘design research’, ‘systems thinking’ and
‘mapping’, ‘collaboration’, ‘planning and management of group process’ etc.
Give specific examples. Be professional. Email your letter to your studio leaders.


Week by Week Schedule

We meet on Wednesdays 3pm-6pm.

WK 1 (Mar 15)

1. Introduction to the studio.
2. Using the Class Blog.
4. Introduction to teams.

WK 2 (Mar 22)

1. Being in the canapé system – Book launch and food waste exercise
2. Defining ‘Organics’
3. Introduction to EPA competition (assessment 2a)


WK 3 (Mar 29)

1. How to Conduct a Waste Audit as a designer: Guest lecture by Lucas Ilhein
2. Feminist approaches to Ecology, Technology, Labour and Ecology (Alexandra Crosby)


WK 4 (Apr 5)

1. Expert Panel Discussion (New Room for this class: CB1.18.030)
2. Walk through UTS Organics system
3. Post A Due: One Day Waste Audit


WK 5 (Apr 12)

1. Systems thinking lecture and exercise (Dena Fam) (New Room : CB10.04.460)
2. Studio work


WK 6 (Apr 19) New Room:CB07.03.010D (Health Bld)

1. Caddie design and group charter presentation (assessment 2a)
2. Using critical thinking to write a design brief


  • Read Ulrich, W. (2000). Reflective practice in the civil society: the contribution of critically systemic thinking. Reflective Practice 1, no. 2: 247-268. Available at UTS library 
  • Browse Critical Thinking Heuristics

WK 7 (May 3) CB07.03.010D (Health Bld)

1. Lecture: Research Methods (Alexandra Crosby & Dena Fam)
2. The ‘Mapping Organics’ research methodology


  • Make a list of every research method you have used in your degree so far
  • Consider all your course subjects as well as Design Thinking, Researching Design History, Interdisciplinary Lab A
  • Start with
  • Bring a draft of your groups design brief to class to check with Dena and Ali

WK 8 (May 9) CB07.03.010D (Health Bld)

Group presentations on Research methods and Post B is due today

  • Reflect on the research methods and how they will contribute to developing your design
  • Think about why you’ve chosen these research methods, why and how you’ve used them.


WK 9 (May 17) CB07.03.010D (Health Bld)

Framing the Organics project: Introduction to Planetary Boundaries & the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Katie Ross)





WK 10 (May 24)

Field Trip – Veolia tour


WK 11 (May 31) CB11.04.102 (Engineering Bld)

Studio week/consultations

WK 12 (Jun 7) CB07.03.010D (Health Bld)

Group Design presentations (assessment 2b)

WK A1 (Jun 19)

Research Portfolio/Blogposts due (assessment 1)

FINAL ASSESSMENT 3, reflection: DUE JUNE 21, 2017