A: Cup to Compost

In order to track the organic waste that I personally accumulated over a one-day period, I monitored what foods I consume on an average day. I recorded my food intake, where I generally consume food and the subsequent organic waste.

food intake.jpggjh.jpg

I noted that I generally consume food at home or at work. In both of these environments plastic, glass and paper waste is separated for recycling. However, organic waste is disposed as part of the general waste and therefore ends up in landfill, something that could be easily changed if recycling methods in any given environment were altered.

In analysing the created organic waste, I decided to further investigate the lifecycle of a tea bag that I always dispose of in general waste. I selected the tea bag, as with the small label, staple and string I wasn’t sure if the tea bag is a viable choice for composting. This point was contested widely on many recycling sites and blogs. I ultimately determined that the tea itself and a majority of tea bags are recyclable, the small staple, used in some tea varieties just needing to be removed.

Tea is the most consumed manufactured drink in the world (Chang, 2015). Therefore, despite being comparatively small in size, compared to other organic waste, when recycled correctly they could significantly reduce the amount of organic matter ending up in landfill annually.

In thinking about the tea bag that I created as organic waste, I began to consider its lifecycle:

–       Grown for multiple weeks in countries such as China and India with the appropriate climate.

–       The tea is then harvested and dried.

–       Tea is shipped to a manufacturing warehouse where it is packaged.

–       Tea is shipped 1000s of miles to Australia.

–       After its arrival it is transported to a warehouse.

–       From the warehouse it is transported to a supermarket.

–       Purchased in a supermarket and transported home.

–       Diffused in hot water for a few minutes.

–       Dispose of in the general waste.

Considering the resources expended for me to drink a single bag of tea, I determined that this is something I can easily recycle either by reducing the number of teabags I use and buying loose leaf tea or by recycling the teabags themselves.

 In researching current methods of tea recycling I came across an initiative put into place by Unilever, the world’s largest tea company to tackle the issue of 370,000 tonnes of tea bags being sent to landfill in the UK each year (Unilever, 2013).  Amongst a variety of initiatives to create public awareness, Unilever teamed up with Brentwood Borough and Chelmsford Councils to encourage residents to dispose of their teabags amongst other organic waste in council food waste collections rather than in their general waste (Recycling Guide UK, 2012).

Prior to conducting this campaign, Unilever researched consumer’s knowledge concerning the recycling of tea bags. It showed that “more than 4 in 10 consumers are not aware that it is possible to recycle tea bags, yet more than 8 in 10 might or would consider recycling them if they knew how to go about it” (Unilever, 2013). This indicates that it is often a lack of knowledge that prevents positive recycling habits and which any recycling initiative, education is of paramount importance.


Kaison Chang. 2015, ‘World Tea Production and Trade: Current and Future Development’, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States, viewed 10 June 2016, <http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4480e.pdf>

Recycling Guide UK. 2012, ‘Unilever Encouraging Tea Bag Recycling’, weblog, viewed 10 June 2016< http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/blog-unilever-encouraging-tea-bag-recycling.html>

Unilever 2013, From cup to compost: PG tips tackles the issue of tea bag waste with Recyclebank, viewed 10 June 2016 <https://www.unilever.co.uk/news/press-releases/2013/from-cup-to-compost-pg-tips-tackles-the-issue-of-tea-bag-waste-with-recyclebank.html>



Post A:My one day ORGANIC WASTE

People have organic waste everyday, at first, it is the environment to everyone, organic waste will be decomposite to greenhouse gases by bacterial, the volume of greenhouse gases can be 100kg by 1ton food, of course, greenhouse gases are the most important factor of global warming. The organic waste of Australian households has a substantial impact on the environment, although some organic wasted are unavoidable, a large part of this problem demanded avoidable or edible are being wasted, very little is being done in Australian households to recycle. In 2013, most organic waste generation New South Wales was set to landfill, organic waste also impact the environment the waste energy and resources that have been used to produce transport. All my life I’ve been concerned about wasting.

I conducted my one day waste audit of all the ‘waste’ that I produce is in the following graph and images. Basically, my daily waste is about the organic waste and non – recyclable waste, but what I am focus on is the organic waste. As we can see though the pie chart, almost half of waste is the organic waste.屏幕快照 2016-06-12 下午4.03.54

One of my element of the organic waste is the reed leaves, which is from the Chinese traditional food, Zongzi, a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of sticky rice and wrapped in reed leaves, will have pride of place on our dining tables in the days to come.

Lily, W. 2016, The One Studio, photography , Sydney, private collections

Life cycle of the reed:

Reed, the reed leaves, reed stems, all can be used as a medicine. Medicinal value for solid barrier to soil and plants. Reed stem can make paper and rayon, spun rayon material, also for woven seats, curtain, etc; Contain a large number of proteins and sugars when young, good for fodder; The buds are edible; In addition to that, if I don’t use the reed and just throw them to the garbage bin, the reed will just been wasted and valueless.

What changed and made me more extreme was the discovery that there’s all this food. I think that a lot of people will stop and pick up a lamp on the curbside, with the sign that says “Take me.” But it seems like a big step to go to taking food. And I never really believed it was possible to find good things in the garbage on a regular basis about organic waste.


Household Food Waste in Australia 2013,RBS University, viewed 05 June 2016<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4Us_TNyLZ&gt;

Barnard,  A., 2016, Diving into the Wealth of Food Waste in America ,  University of Minnesota Press, London

Jim, M. , 2005, An Unnatural Order: Why We Are Destroying the Planet and Each Other, Lantern Books, New York

Blog post C. Literature review and organic waste management

Literature review of organic waste management 

By researching organic waste for blog post A and B, I realized how important organic waste management is. However, in current, there are lots of organic waste management does not operate properly. I can give the example is based on my experience. My old unit and current apartment contain only two kinds of bins: general and recycling bin, and it is very common situation.


(I took the pictures of my current apartment garbage section.)

Therefore, people normally throw away paper, cardboard or plastic stuff in the recycling bin, and the rest of their garbage goes in the general bin. However, this basic management would have a negative impact on the environment. Even though the workers sort out organic waste from the general bin, they cannot ensure organic waste does not send to the landfill. It does not mean only we lose the resources. According to Environment Victoria (n.d.), buried organic waste in landfill undergoes anaerobic decomposition due to the lack of oxygen and produces methane. When it is released into the atmosphere, methane is 20 times more damaging as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. However, methane is still a significant resource. As I already mentioned about food waste to renewable energy in Post B, we can make better cases if we create wiser organic waste management. What is more, it is our duty that we follow the management properly to reduce organic waste. If people do not act what the management would like to, there will be no improvements at all. Therefore, before we set up right management, the initial step is that people should be aware of the importance of organic waste management.

Making app would be appropriate example that let especially the designer being conscious of the significance of organic waste management. Nike (2013) described that Making ranks materials used in apparel based on four environmental impact areas: water, chemistry, energy and waste. Therefore, the designers can compare the materials, and recognize which materials are more sustainable; so, the designer can make better materials choices in the initial stages to generate better cases for consumers and the planet. The app required the secondary sources to give exact data of the materials to the designer, In addition to, Nike tested Making app with the designers at London College of Fashion over a period of 18 months to release in real world (Pritchard 2013).

This application might not be relevant example completely to show what their waste management is. However, I think that this app shows what we need to do as designers for organic waste. People produce all of the waste, and it is totally up to them whether the waste changes to wealth or not. Hence, we as designers consider about the lifecycle of our design when we are in initial stage; thus, it would bring about the reduction of organic waste. We also have the responsibility to create better organic waste management, which makes people being aware of the organic waste problem and motivate them to take action for organic waste management.

Hyunjoung You (Lia), 11550656


Environment Victoria, n.d., Organic waste, viewed 11 June 2016, <http://environmentvictoria.org.au/content/organic-waste&gt;

Nike, 2014, Making app adds new features for sustainable design, viewed 09 June 2016, <http://news.nike.com/news/making-app-adds-new-features-for-sustainable-design&gt;

Nike Better World, 2013, MAKING Matters, YouTube, viewed 09 June 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXPuuwAhtQo&gt;

Pritchard, O., 2013, Does Nike’s new Making app place sustainability at the forefront of design, viewed 09 June 2016, <http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/nike-making-app-sustainability-design&gt;


With waste management highlighted as one of the major environment problems, local authorities have embarked on an intensive process of evaluating and identifying the most effective techniques and technologies available to curb the menace. Arguably, a drastic increase in volumes of waste and lack waste management awareness can be blamed for financial, and resource constraint witnessed in the overall waste management. The common problems for the local authorities are to identify and select an appropriate technology in waste management. Far from the conventional composting, landfilling and incineration, the authorities in collaboration with waste disposal organisations can fully implement the Anaerobic Digestion (AD), integrated bio-digester, Mechanical-Biological Treatment for unsorted organic waste and Biofuel Gasification as alternative systems in organic waste management.

Anaerobic Digestion has been in operation for a while but on a small scale by institutions such as SUEZ and Darling Ingredients. The proposed plan would entail large-scale disposal process that would see massive digestion tanks constructed where the large scale anaerobic fermentation will be taking place (Visvanathan, 2011). The methane collected from the process would be used to produce electricity that would be added to the national grid. Shea et al. (2011) argue that the central institution could set up digestion facilities to be used in transforming the organic waste into energy and organic fertiliser.

According to Korres, O’Kiely, Benzie and West (2013), Pyrolysis is another technique that could greatly help in disposing off organic waste from the city. Under this process, decomposition of the organic materials is quickened under intense heating in the absence of oxygen to produce hydrocarbon gasses. Further, these hydrocarbon gasses are heated to produce liquid fuel which can be used for industrial purposes. The solid byproducts of Pyrolysis process could then be sent back for recycling or to the landfills.

Mechanical-Biological Treatment is another approach that is widely recommended for unsorted waste disposal. The approach is invaluable in dealing with oversize waste items before subjecting them to the normal composting. The process involves manual sorting of the oversize organic materials before homogenising them into small elements (Organic Waste Program Planning & Logistics- Organic Waste Solutions, 2016). These materials are subjected to biological degradation by providing the favorable condition for their fast decomposition. The end products are high-end organic fertilisers that are sold to the farmers while the remaining small portions of waste are sent to the landfills (Mohan et al., 2006). Therefore, Mechanical-Biological Treatment in a way, would help in reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfills while developing a cheap source of organic fertiliser and mulch for farming (Korres, O’Kiely, Benzie and West, 2013). However, this approach needs an insightful examination to prevent the use of contaminated organic fertiliser that could eventually end up in food.

Biofuel gasification and production is another method utilisable as an alternative waste disposal system. It is an approach entailing biomass gasification to produce a gas similar to the LPG specifically as a transport fuel. During the process, the biomass being fed to a reactor and subjected to thermal chemical decomposition. The decomposition process yields a high-quality biome-thane which is combinable with the natural gas or used solely as fuel. This approach in highly recommended given the alarming rate at which the fossil fuels are destroying our environment or even at worse running out. For a sustainable and efficient waste management solution, the city should resort to this approach not only for cheap fossil-free fuel but also for environment protection.





Reference list

Global Reach Internet Productions, I. 2016, Fast Pyrolysis Process – Avello Bioenergy, Avellobioenergy.com. Viewed 8 June 2016, <http://www.avellobioenergy.com/en/technology/fast_pyrolysis/&gt;.

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

Mohan, D., Pittman, C.U. and Steele, P.H., 2006, Pyrolysis of wood/biomass for bio-oil: a critical review. Energy & Fuels, 20(3), pp.848-889.

Shea T, Briggs J, Bharambe G, Clancy B, Gough D, 2011, Sydney Water’s New Biosolids Management Strategy Builds on strategic process modeling capacity. Proceedings of WEFTEC

Organic Waste Program Planning & Logistics- Organic Waste Solutions 2016, Organicwastesolutions.com. Viewed 8 June 2016, <http://organicwastesolutions.com/organic-waste-management-strategies.html&gt;.

Visvanathan, C. 2011, Decentralized approach to treating the organic fraction of municipal solid waste with energy recovery by using inclined dry anaerobic digestion, Knovel.


aacee128735203-55cf885ebb6a0Organic waste being the greatest contributor of the pollution need proper management to subvert the pollution trend. Environment pollution and numerous human ailments can be attributed to poor waste disposal mechanism employed by the individual or various institutions (Lim and Lim, 2014). From land damaging, greenhouse gas emission to release the toxic liquids, organic waste leads to the destruction of the environment. The most common way of disposing of the organic waste is sending waste to landfill. Evidently, 30% of the waste sent to the landfill represents organic waste (Visvanathan, 2011). By managing the organic waste, we can reduce the amount sent to the overburdened landfills hence saving land space. Proper management of the organic waste come in handy in reducing greenhouse gas emission. Organic waste buried in the landfills breaks down releasing the methane gas, one the main greenhouse gasses produced to the environment. Also, the breakdown process releases toxic liquid such as leachate that leads to soil and water pollution (Arvanitoyannis, 2008).

Organic waste management helps in reducing the overall cost of farming and disposing of the waste. Composting the biological waste reduces the need for chemical fertilisers and pesticides as it offers the cheap alternative. Obviously, finished compost is a rich natural fertiliser invaluable in returning nutrient to the soils hence promoting plant growth. Proper waste management lowers the cost of disposal (Visvanathan, 2011). The disposal process involved the collection and transported which can be managed getting rid of the waste as individual household or to engage a localised waste disposal approach (Arvanitoyannis, 2008).

Arguably, SUEZ (formerly SITA) is the leading institutions in the collection and disposing of the organic waste not only in Sydney but also in the large Australia. Other players include Organic Recycling Group (ORG), Covanta Holding Corp, Darling Ingredients and SMT Waste Brokers. Probably, composting is the commonest and cheapest way of getting rid of the organic waste. Edwards et al. (1998) states that materials that are organic in nature such as food scraps, plant material, and paper products are recoverable through composting and decomposing. The resulting organic material could then be reused as manure or mulch for agricultural and landscaping purposes.

The landfill is another approach used to dispose of organic waste in Sydney. However, due to large volumes of waste and scarcity of the landfills, the city has resorted to incineration as a solution for solid organic waste. The combustion involves in the consumption of solid organic waste by converting them into heat, gas and steam, and ash. In Sydney incineration is carried out in large scale by industry by companies Darling Ingredients, Organic Recycling Group (ORG), and SUEZ (Lim and Lim, 2014).

The city could use pyrolysis, integrated bio-digester and Mechanical-Biological Treatment for unsorted organic waste and biofuel gasification in the decomposition of the organic materials. Notably, these approaches involve the use of thermal and chemicals in the decomposition of the organic waste to give more valuable products. The end products of this process include feedstock, charcoal and liquid fuel, manure and heat which can be used by humans.




Reference list

Arvanitoyannis, I. 2008, Waste management for the food industries, Academic Press, Amsterdam.

Edwards, C.A., Dominguez, J. and Neuhauser, E.F., 1998, Growth and reproduction of Perionyx excavations (Perr.)(Megascolecidae) as factors in organic waste management. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 27(2), pp.155-161.

Golueke, C.G., 1977. Biological reclamation of solid wastes.

InTech – Open Science Open Minds | InTechOpen 2016, Intechopen.com. Viewed 8 June 2016, <http://www.intechopen.com&gt;.

Lim, N., and Lim, N. 2014, 3 Companies Making It Big From Garbage – Australian Ethical – Super and Managed Funds, Australian Ethical – Super and Managed Funds. Viewed 8 June 2016, <https://www.australianethical.com.au/news/trash-treasure-3-companies-making-it-big-garbage/&gt;.

Visvanathan, C. 2011, Decentralized approach to treating the organic fraction of municipal solid waste with energy recovery by using inclined dry anaerobic digestion, Knovel.




Post D: Alternative System for Hospitals


Hospitals is a complex and fascinating entity, housing entire ecosystem of people within, and therefore makes waste management a challenge. As an example, the Royal Adelaide Hospital has now become a model for green programming in South Australia as well as nationally after showing that sustainability is an achievable goal even in the most challenging work environments.

Some of the existing waste management program includes:

  • Separating Food waste from other recyclable waste to ensure minimal contamination
  • Tagged bins for different categories of recyclables
  • Pro-actively educating staff on the importance of responsible waste management

While these are effective ways of managing waste, there can still be better ways to improve. For example, since waste are treated off-site, it would make sense to develop on-site treatment facilities to reduce economic costs to the organisation. Flammable wastes could be burnt on site as fuel, facilitating energy use. However, this also creates the problem of emission and processing of the waste after burning, so corresponding facility must be in place to counter this.

The high volume of organic waste can also be taken into account in energy production. All food waste can be fed into a biogas plant to create fuel for cooking, and the slurry can also act as fertiliser. Currently the RAH has a special vacuum system in place to filter food waste, and contracting its collection to a garden facility company to turn into compost. To facilitate 100% recycling, the RAH can process the remaining waste into a biogas plant, producing fuel for cooking within the hospital.

While education is a big part of the zero waste initiative within the RAH, and there is a system in place to ensure the right message gets across (Categorised and Tagged Bins), their current solution to educate staff by posting on notice boards might not be effective in conveying the message across to everyone. To facilitate this, we can propose incentives (monetary or otherwise) to encourage staff to correctly recycle. Monthly competitions and community activities can also be used to further create a sense of community and responsibility within the cohort.

Furthermore, RAH can set up local education programs, to convey the importance of proper waste management. The hospital’s stance as a contained ecosystem is the perfect model to showcase this, as well as showing how important individuals are to ensuring an effective waste management.

The RAH already has a good head-start in creating a zero waste environment, with the main obstacle being money. Implementing an effective system requires enough funding from sponsors and local government to contribute the initial capital, on top of normal running cost of the hospital, makes it not worth the short-term impact financially. While Zero Waste SA, a government entity, supports the efforts of RAH, the amount of space and funding available to the hospital remains restrictive on their ability to make drastic change.

It is prudent for other hospitals in the country to follow in RAH’s example, to take initiative in managing waste responsibly by educating the public and its staff and putting crucial infrastructure in place to facilitate the initiative.

Zero Waste SA Industry Program, ‘Case Study: Up Close’ <http://www.zerowaste.sa.gov.au/upload/REAP/91392%20ZWSA%20UpClose%20RAH%20WEB.pdf> Accessed 7th June 2016

Post D: Waste Management at Home

From what I investigated on post C, I believe I can draw a nice picture for our future with waste management at home. A natural hill of composting in the backyard has long been a signifier of an eco-cognizant way of life—and all things considered. It is a cheap, simple and normal approach to occupy natural waste from a landfill where it would some way or another in fester and discharge greenhouse gasses, including uber-potent methane and nitrous oxide. Additionally, compost results in a dirt alteration that can be utilized to balance out soils: overflow is decreased, dampness is held, and trim yields are expanded, all of which are ever more important as global population surpasses 7 billion. It is a rich shut circle.

Compost is plant food. It is light, nutrient-rich soil putting in the garden or potted plants to make them grow better. So why don’t we accomplish a greater amount of it? According to a 2014 report on U.S. composting practices produced by the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, “almost half the materials Americans discard—food scraps, yard trimming, and soiled paper—is compostable.”

Step 1: Before I get to the actual steps of fertilizing the soil, we will need to choose where and how to gather our materials. There are three conceivable ways to gather your material:

  • Make a bin
  • Purchase a bin
  • Pile it freely with no container

The choice is completely up to you contingent upon your yard surroundings and your own preference. If you have a lot of space outside and don’t have any desire to contain your fertilizer, basically assign an area where you will gather your materials. If you need to contain it, in any case, you can either purchase a canister or make your own.

Step 2: Purchasing a compost bins and make your own fertilizer bin: If you need to make your own fertilizer container, here’s the way. Essentially nail together four slips and you have an immaculate 64 cubic foot bin. You can construct one out of simple to shape wire. Chicken wire is a bit excessively flimsy, yet whatever else will work fine. Simply nail the wire to four posts and you have a bin.

(Earthsfriends, 2015)

Step 3: Make Your Compost Pile Directly on the Ground: It is best to make your compost bin straightforwardly on the ground.

(Earthsfriends, 2015)

Step 4: Making Homemade Compost

  • Begin with Yard Scraps: When you cut your grass or rake up the leaves, place them in your fertilizer heap. Hurl twigs in there and also this gives ventilation.
  • Include Table Scraps: Things you can compost: collecting table scraps in a basin and when it is full, essentially dump it over the yard scraps after the meals.
  • The Composting Rule of Ratio: Keep it sipmle! Regardless of the fact that your ratios are not correct, you can create incredible compost by sticking to a general composting principle of proportion: 4 parts brown to 1 part green. The brown stuff: sticks, twigs, dried leaves – is carbon; the green stuff: wet green leaves, kitchen scraps – is nitrogen. This proportion is significant, however don’t give that a chance to consume you with stress. Basically just eyeball the measure of the mass you put into your pile and attempt to keep it to the 4 – 1 ratio.
  • Stab and Stir: You will presumably be anxious to tend to your compost bin, so consistently simply go out and cut at it with your shovel. Each 2 – 3 weeks you can dig down and blend it. This is essential as it keeps the pile ventilated and maintains a strategic distance from the development of buildup

That is it! This time one year later from now, you will have a lot of complete fertilizer to use in your greenery garden. You’ll be happy at how glad your plants, vegetables, herbs, and so on are to have such rich and solid soil. Additionally, you can make your home greener and recovery the earth.


Schenker M.2015, 3 reasons homemade compost is awesome, earthsfriends, viewed 10 June 2016, <http://www.earthsfriends.com/homemade-composting/&gt;

EPA 2015, Recycling Organic Waste, The NSW Environment Protection Authority, viewed 10 June 2016, <http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/recycle-org-home.htm&gt;

Mulvihill A.2015, The tricky business of composting, livable future blog, viewed 10 June 2016, <http://www.livablefutureblog.com/2015/11/the-tricky-business-of-composting&gt;