Fish production, processing and consumption are one of the major contributors of organic wastes. Fish is processed into fillets, chips, protein products, canned foods, and fish oils. A big proportion of fish products is meant for human consumption. As the demand for fish products continues increasing, the production of fish also increases, and so does the waste produced during processing and after. Some of these wastes from fish include fish bones, leftovers, and dried fish. The increased rate of fish waste generation has become of due concern following its environmental impact which involves bad odour. This article shall briefly describe the lifecycle of fish waste and how it is improvised to become useful

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), about 50% of the caught fish is used for human consumption, and the rest of it is wasted (Fao, n.d.). Thus, significant amounts of waste products or the rest of the raw materials are discarded, thereby creating undesirable impacts on the environment. Often, fresh fish products among other aquatic products are highly perishable and require refrigerated storage to maintain their shelf life and prevent damage to them. If not well stored, these products end up either being disposed or recycled as waste products (Disposal of fish waste, 2016).

Most of us will think that fish waste is the fish bones left over after a meal. However, surprisingly, fish waste includes the organic waste such as the fecal material and from the fish farms and other fish rearing points. Often, these wastes contaminate the water that often find its way into the natural environment. As a result, waters from the surrounding will experience accelerated, and uncontrolled growth of algae, that could be deadly for some marine life and indirectly be a danger to human beings (Lê, 2011).

Despite its adverse environment effect, fish waste could be utilised in various ways to be of economic and environmental benefit. There exist three most common ways of this utilisation, and that include the manufacture of fish oil/meal, manufacture of fertiliser, and production of silage (Gálvez and Bergé, 2013). For long, fish waste has been refined using commination and heating to separate oil. The remaining solid material is then used as a fish meal, a common agricultural feed ingredient. However, even though these methods could be deemed traditional, other modern methods have been implemented successfully while others are being tested (Yahyaee, Ghobadian and Najafi, 2013). For instance, the production of biodiesel has been shown to be catalysed by fish bone products. Other uses include the manufacture of fine chemicals used in human health and nutrition, animal feed and health, and industrial enzymes. Thus, fish waste, if well utilised could be beneficial environmentally, economically, and physiologically (Korres, O’Kiely, Benzie and West, 2013).

While the world increasingly consumes more and more fish, so has the amount of fish waste continued increasing? As discussed in this blog, if not well disposed of, fish waste could impact the environment negatively. However, through the available methods of utilisation, fish waste could be turned into useful products. Fish waste has for long been processed into fish oils and meals. Additionally, modern methods have seen newer uses of the wastes such as biodiesel and chemical production.



Reference list

Disposal of fish waste 2016, viewed 9 June 2016, <;.

Fao n.d., Waste from processing aquatic animals and animal products – 3. Aquatic waste treatment and utilization. viewed 9 June 2016, <;.

Fish wastes – Fish oil products – Fish production 2009, viewed 9 June 2016, <;.

Gálvez, R. and Bergé, J. 2013, Utilization of fish wastes, CRC Press, London.

Korres, N., O’Kiely, P., Benzie, J. and West, J. 2013, Bioenergy production by anaerobic digestion : using agricultural biomass and organic wastes,.

Lê, M. 2011, Nutrition, Food Science, and Dietetics Faculty Have Information Needs Similar to Basic and Medical Sciences Faculty – Online Access to Electronic Journals, PubMed/Medline, and Google, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, vol 6, no 4, p.155,.

Yahyaee, R., Ghobadian, B. and Najafi, G. 2013, Waste fish oil biodiesel as a source of renewable fuel in Iran, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol 17, pp.312-319,




Blog Post A – A Day in the Life

Defining Organic Waste

According to Australian Government’s Department of the Environment, ‘Organic waste is a component of the waste stream from plant or animal sources that is readily biodegradable, e.g. paper and cardboard, food waste, bio-solids, green waste and timber.’ (Australian Government, 2011) Organic waste can be used as compost and utilized to generate energy, however through research it is discovered that approximately 50% of waste that is classified as ‘general waste’ in a household is actually organic. Not only that but 30% of overall general waste being taken to landfills are also organic as well. (NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), 2015)


1-Day Waste Audit

A waste audit is a record of waste produced and generated during a certain period of time which allows a more in-depth understanding of the situation in front of us. (Waste Audit, 2013)


The waste audit shown above is mainly on my food consumption in one day’s time and this is because my dietary needs and timetable is different from the rest of my household so I tend to have most of my meals separate from them. Although most of the waste is either recyclable and/or are organic, all of the organic waste in our household tend to be placed into the general waste section but all of the recyclables go to its rightful place. Cardboard boxes, containers and other recyclable products tend to be easier to manage by just washing them thoroughly and throwing them into the recycling bin. However, organic wastes such as food scraps are harder to deal with in a big household and it tends to create a heavier smell which our household isn’t very fond of thus it is mostly thrown into a plastic bag and taken to the general waste bin.


Cycle of an Avocado

Avocados are a much loved healthier alternative to using butter/margarine and sauces, so how do they end up in our fridge? Firstly, the crops must be planted and grown into orchards, sounds simple but it really needs a lot of attention to detail to maintain high standards with the involvement of: pest control, environment conditioning and chemical usages.
Next is harvesting, New South Wales and Queensland (the two largest producing states) harvest approximately 90% of the avocados produced in Australia and altogether in Australia a total of 55,000 tonnes of avocados were grown. (Queensland Government, 2014) These harvested avocadoes are then distributed to domestic and international markets with 60% of the produce sold through supermarkets (e.g. Coles and Woolworths) and only around 10% is exported overseas.
We as consumers buy the avocadoes off the shelf and use it for our dietary needs, and leftover scraps are dealt with in 3 ways: either in the trash (ending in landfills), used as compost and regrowth, or taken to the compost bin for larger organic waste management plans to take place.
Through this we understand that producing and selling an avocado is not just one man’s job but involves several industries together to provide the best.



Australian Government – Department of the Environment. 2013, National Organic Waste Profile, viewed 11 June 2016,

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). 2015, Organic Waste, viewed 11 June 2016,<>

Queensland Government – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. 2014, Avocados, viewed 11 June 2016,

Waste Audit. 2013, What is a Waste Audit?, viewed 11 June 2016, <>

Post A — A waste audit

I have just overturned my kitchen bin. What a sight. I did so to conduct an audit of my daily waste.

So a little about the bin; this bin fills up once a day, needing emptying in the late evening. The bin is located in the kitchen, to which all members of the house have access. Given its location, the bin is used by all 4 members of the household — all of which are in their early 20s, with similar lifestyles, interests, and daily routines to my own. I have also included a milk crate that the household uses for recyclables within the audit. It has been considered that by auditing a small group of people of a similar age group and demographic, I am able achieve some sort of a standard, or mean, that perhaps allows a broader scope than monitoring only my own, personal waste. Below are some images of the overturned bin and the milk crate of recyclables investigated:

Waste Audit
Image: General waste collected within my household
Image: Crate of recyclables collected within my household

In overturning the bin, I found that much of the waste was organic matter — at least 50%. Much of the waste within the general waste bin was also recyclable — which was quite disturbing — with a number of plastic containers, tins and cardboards that could have been easily rinsed and recycled.

I found quite a number of eggshells within the waste — which I thought could have quite an interesting lifecycle. I found the mapping techniques used by Lucas Ihlein in his project titled ‘Environmental audit’, particularly useful for investigating this life cycle of the eggshells. Some of these mind-mapping techniques are offered on the Environmental audit website and also in the book from the Museum of Contemporary art titled ‘In the balance: Art for a changing world’ (Kent 2010).

I began using these mapping techniques adopted by Ihlein in my own work, allowing for a visual representation of an eggshell’s life cycle:

Image: Organic eggshells found in the general waste of my household
Mapping audit
Image: My visual life cycle assessment of the eggshells found in personal waste

I was able to dissect the visual map and separate the eggshells’s life cycle into inputs and outpts/outcomes — that is, I was able to determine what is required to create and facilitate for the eggs — and then, what the outcomes or end results of that egg are. This was particularly useful for identifying ways in which the organic matter locates itself physically, socially, economically and even temporally. This sort of scope could certainly allow a platform for implementing change.

As I figured that most of my own eggshells were destined for landfill, I decided to do some brief research on eggshells in soil. I soon found that when added to composts, eggshells increase the calcium content of the soil. This calcium-rich soil promotes plant growth.  JF Loneragan and K Snowball published a journal article in 1969 which tested the yield of a range of plant matter in relation to soil calcium content. One such section of their findings states that “Increasing solution calcium concentrations from 0.3 to 2.5um increased the yield (plant matter growth) greatly” (Loneragan & Snowball 1969). 

This is certainly relevant for the Wealth for waste initiative, as it suggests that we are able to facilitate additional outcomes or products of organic materials by seeking alternative disposal methods. The lifeline and mapping techniques explored, offer a means of identifying and targeting specific areas for action.


Ihlien, L. 2010 – Environmental audit, Sydney, viewed 6 June 2016,  <;.

Kent, R. 2010, In the balance: Art for a changing world, Museum of Contemporary Art.

Loneragan, J. & Snowball, K. 1969, “Calcium requirements of plants”, Crop and Pasture Science, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 465-478.