Post D: Literature Review

The UTS Waste Management Plan (n.d.) was introduced as a required reading of the Wealth from Waste subject. This document is relevant as it outlined the history of waste management at UTS, the current progress and statistics of the amount of waste that is rescued or sent to landfill, the systems and facilities in place to sort and process waste on and off site, and the goals that UTS aimed to achieve into the future. This document, and other information about the UTS waste management system such as information by UTS Green (2017) and the Institute for Sustainable Futures (2017), was particularly useful to our group project as it provided information and guidance on our designs and helped frame our brief. It brought a non-governmental and small scale perspective to the organic waste problem.

The Highgrove Royal Gardens in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, is a residence of the Prince of Wales which incorporates organic farming practices with sustainability concepts (The Prince of Wales, 2017). I was aware of Highgrove for many years through an introduction by my partner to a video on the gardens (The British Monarchy, 2011) as I had always had a keen interest in sustainability practices. The management practices of Highgrove show how the organic waste life cycle can be treated locally, within 15 acres, in a residential setting. I found it particularly interesting that they treat their own wastewater through a reed filtration system (The British Monarchy, 2011). In tandem with the gardens, Prince Charles has also established an International Sustainability Unit (2011) which has published articles addressing sustainable urbanisation (International Sustainability Unit, 2015) and research on the sustainability and resilience of food systems on a global level (International Sustainability Unit, 2011).

Technical Document on Municipal Organics Waste Processing

The “Technical Document on Municipal Organics Waste Processing” (Environment Canada, 2013) was a very valuable document in helping me understand the was organic was could be processed on a large scale and relates directly with the issues discussed in class in regards to how multiple systems and stakeholders may be able to work together to achieve a complete and efficient system. This document was found while I was searching for information about caddy liner design and organic waste statistics.

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 5.38.51 PM
Temperature variations and microbial populations during the composting process (Environment Canada, 2013, pp. 31)

It was highly relevant to our subject as it describes, in depth, statistics of amounts of organic waste produced and processed in municipal areas in Canada, the challenges and benefits to recycling organic waste, the processes local councils may use to treat organic waste, the scientific and biological process of breaking down organics, the available technologies that can be harnessed for organic waste recycling, how the resulting by-products are used and the structure of the compost market system. It is an end to end understanding of the organic waste process which mentioned how bin caddies can be used in the household (Environment Canada, 2013, pp. 31) to which system combination could councils implement (Environment Canada, 2013, pp. 193). The information provided is educational and serves as a guide weighing the pros and cons of each method that is mentioned in the document to help local councils make decisions about their own waste management systems. The way the document was formed showed at least an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the full waste stream as it combined many industries and skill sets. Environment Canada also presented the information in a comprehensive yet concise manner which seemed ideal for making informed bureaucratic decisions.

References

The British Monarchy, 2011, “Highgroves: Discover its sustainable secrets”, Youtube video, England, viewed 10th June 2017, <https://youtu.be/OAbeYk_vSaI >

Environment Canada, 2013, “Technical Document on Municipal Solid Waste Organics Process”, Canada, viewed 17th April 2017, <http://www.compost.org/English/PDF/Technical_Document_MSW_Organics_Processing_2013.pdf >

International Sustainability Unit, 2011, “What Price Resilience? Towards sustainable and secure food systems“, UK, viewed 10th June 2017, <http://pcfisu.org/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/TPC0632_Resilience_report_WEB11_07_SMALLER.pdf >

International Sustainability Unit, 2015, “Food in an urbanised world“, UK, viewed 10th June 2017, <http://www.pcfisu.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/CRFS-7-April-10-.zip >

Prince of Wales, 2017, “The Royal Gardens“, Clarence House, England, viewed 10th June 2017, <https://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/features/the-royal-gardens >

UTS, n.d., “UTS Waste Management Plan“, UTS, Sydney, viewed 18th March 2017, <https://www.uts.edu.au/sites/default/files/WASTE_MANAGEMENT_PLAN.140301.pdf >

UTS Green, 2017, “Waste and recycling | University of Technology Sydney“, UTS, Sydney, viewed 17th April 2017, <https://www.uts.edu.au/partners-and-community/initiatives/uts-green/campus-operations/waste-and-recycling >

UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures, 2017, “Food scraps to soil conditioner: Processing food waste onsite at UTS | University of Technology Sydney“, UTS, Sydney, viewed 17th April 2017, <https://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/institute-sustainable-futures/our-research/food-futures/food >

Post A:The Journey of a humble Soup

Though I no longer live with my parents, I am occasionally handed the by-products of their garden. As part of my One Day Waste Audit, I will mainly examine the waste associated with the life cycle of a Chinese gourd from my mum’s garden.

IMG_4659_01
Peels from the gourd

The four kilogram gourd was made into a soup with several ingredients. Waste within the house consisted mainly of peels from the vegetables and the plastic packaging of the noodles. Four parts of the gourd were considered inedible due to the texture or the difficulties in digesting it, so were disposed of in general waste or fed to my pet galah, Bitey. All of these parts were fully degradable, however the local council does not permit organic kitchen waste to be disposed of in their green waste bins (The Hills Shire Council 2014; The Hills Shire Council 2016) and a composting system is not practical as I have no garden.

Water was an integral part of the gourd’s journey. The gourd was grown with water; to wash it took water; the soup needed water as an ingredient; after eating, dishes were washed with water; and through the excretion process, water is used again, going back into the sewerage system.

gourd assessment 1 post a_02
My One Day Waste Audit featuring the gourd

Before water enters the home, it has to be treated in a number of ways including a filtering process consisting of a mesh filter, sand and charcoal beds, and flocculent; and chemical treatment by adding chlorine, fluoride and a pH balancer (Sydney Water n.d.-b). Wastewater is also treated whereby biosolids, used in agriculture and mining, is extracted, while other waste materials are sent to landfill, then the remaining water is either recycled or discharged into the waterways (Sydney Water n.d.-a).

“Wasted” water has been a longstanding issue in Sydney marked by the implementation of Level 3 Water Restrictions in 2005 due to falling dam levels (Sydney Water n.d.-c; Sydney Water, n.d.-d), and ‘Water Wise Rules’ in 2009 which have remained in place (Sydney Water, n.d.-d). Governments have implemented a variety of laws to address water wastage issues such as mandatory water efficient design on new properties (NSW Legislation 2014), and mandatory water saving devices in rental properties to bill tenants for water (Fair Trading, n.d.), while residents have changed their water use habits due to legislation and campaigning (Dolnicar, S. & Hurlimann, A. 2010; Randolph, B. & Troy, P. 2007).

Conclusion

My One Day Organic Waste Audit highlights problems concerning the highly urbanised lifestyle of myself and many Sydneysiders. It may be worth exploring how we can use certain aspects of Sydney’s water restriction campaign in order to affect the behaviours and attitudes of individuals, and look at how changes in rules and regulations or services at a local government level can give individuals more choice and autonomy with how they deal with waste.

Canapé Audit

At the UTS book launch, there was emphasis placed on the use of Australian ingredients in the canapés which potentially reduced the environmental cost of making of the canapés such as decreased energy used in transport due to shorter distances. However not all the ingredients were accounted for on the menus or the caterer’s website (European Catering n.d.). A major point of waste was the terrarium dish where a disproportionate amount of dip was used compared to the amount of vegetables.

gourd assessment 1 post a 1i_01
Canapé audit

References:

Dolnicar, S. & Hurlimann, A. 2010, ‘Australians’ Water Conservation Behaviours and Attitudes’, Australian Journal of Water Resources, 14 (1), p.g. 43-53, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1756&context=commpapers&gt;

European Catering n.d., Cocktail Menu, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2014, <http://www.europeancatering.com.au/index.php/menus/cocktail&gt;

Fair Trading n.d., Passing on water charges, NSW, Australia, viewed 1st April 2017, < http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Being_a_landlord/During_a_tenancy/Passing_on_water_charges.page&gt;

The Hills Shire Council 2014, Garden Organics – Green Lid, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://www.thehills.nsw.gov.au/Services/For-Residents/Waste-Recycling/About-Your-Waste-Service/Garden-Organics-Service&gt;

The Hills Shire Council 2016, The Hills Shire Council – What goes in your green lidded bin, video, YouTube, viewed 1st April 2017 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAdtKnuQ-NQ&gt;

NSW Legislation 2014, State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index: Basix) 2004, Parliamentary Counsel’s Office, NSW, Australia, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/inforce/f50e4649-3662-4c1f-8a92-c0dae7d041b1/2004-396.pdf&gt;

Randolph, B. & Troy, P. 2007, Water Restrictions as a way of Moderating Demand, State of Australian Cities Research Network, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://apo.org.au/node/60261&gt;

Sydney Water n.d.-a, Wastewater Network, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <https://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/how-we-manage-sydney-s-water/wastewater-network/index.htm&gt;

Sydney Water n.d.-b, Water Quality and Filtration, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/education/drinking-water/Water-quality-filtration/index.htm&gt;

Sydney Water n.d.-c, Water Restrictions, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/what-we-re-doing/water-restrictions/&gt;

Sydney Water, n.d.-d, What were the previous water restriction levels?, Sydney, viewed 1st April 2017, <http://sydneywater.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/397&gt;