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.

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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 C: Project

We the group, Level Three, proposed to a panel of organic food waste specialist on Wednesday 7th June 2017 to make organic food waste transparent at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) by looking at practices, education and promotion. We began our process by writing our own brief and deciding on the confines we wanted to stay within in the sense of our target market, geographic location, stakeholder and a point in the direction of what we wanted to design. This was all developed from a literature review, blackboard audit, survey, data collection and observations.

Brief

As a group you will have the opportunity to design and create a communication tool for students of The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and related demographics including staff and businesses in and around the UTS Campus. This communication tool needs to cater to practices, education and promotion by showing transparency surrounding the issues of food waste at UTS.

Research needs to be undertaken to inform and raise awareness regarding the current food waste situation at UTS. Using the UTS Sustainable Development Goals as an initial starting point will assist beginning your process for showing transparency surrounding the issues of food waste at UTS. Primary and secondary methods such as data collection, mind maps, surveys, observation, user testing and literature review need to be undertaken carefully with precision to provide accurate data.

Your presentation of your UTS food waste communication tool is due Wednesday 7th June 2017. You will need to have the food waste tool finalised by Friday 2nd June 2017.

You are to approach the food waste problem at UTS in four separate areas:

  • Food Waste Management
  • Food Waste Communication
  • Food Waste Education
  • Food Waste Systems

The communication tool needs to be presented neatly and in a cohesive manner. Remember you’re designing mainly for students but also for UTS staff and businesses around the UTS campus.

Above is our brief. Initially we struggled to place the right confines on our brief from attempting to come up with the final design solution before going through the design process. The brief hits a couple of key points we decided to align ourselves and the goals we wanted to achieve to the UTS Sustainable Develop Goals. Another key point was sharing and communicating to the UTS community, mainly students about the benefits of organic food waste and what can do to make it transparent.

Survey Analysis

We conducted a survey on organic food waste at UTS aimed at students to see what they knew about the system and whether they wanted to know more. The questions we asked on Survey Monkey, an Internet survey platform made it easier and faster to collect the data.

The results from the survey, identified students don’t know much about the organic food waste system at UTS referring to the 26 out of 39 people in question one. However 37 out of 39 people said they would change their behaviour referring to question four, if they were provided facts and figures. The other insight made was 27 out of 39 people were willing to be part of a broader scheme of organic food waste even with a chance their efforts could be wasted.

Literature Review

We’ve conducted a literature review to further ground our research regarding the current standings of food waste. Looking at this matter from a bigger picture, we’ve divided our research into three sub topics regarding our main focus on food waste (transparency); transparency in everyday practices, education, and promotion. Transparency in everyday practices focuses on the habits and behaviours of humans that shapes the current state of food waste our society is at now. We focused on diving in deeper on how big of an impact of humans can make regarding food waste, and how important it is to know beyond the existing rules of waste distribution, rather concrete their understandings on the current state of food waste. Transparency in education focuses on the precise definition of food waste by being transparent about food waste, as a lack of understanding can result to ignorance. Transparency in promotion is a big part of food waste – our take on this topic was to be completely transparent about the numbers and statistics of the state of food waste right now, as well as goals for the future. This way, we were hoping to stimulate interest from society to take part in improving this matter.

This literature review helped us develop a concrete definition of transparency and food waste itself to move forward with our design ideas. We understand that education was a key point of this topic – as a result, we chose to focus on integrating an educational advertisement through promoting the importance of transparency regarding food waste, and how big of an impact humans can contribute to make a change.

Designs

The first design we created was poster based. We believe posters are always a necessary element to any advertising campaign due to their ability to intrigue passerby’s, contain all relevant details and maintain a prominence across the campus. Containing a different type of food on each, the vector is depicted at a low transparency to reinforce our transparent theme.

The second design constructed was a design that we decided on when walking the sidewalks of the university. “Food Prints” were formed as a concept that can be applied to the ground of all walking spaces on campus. Naturally looking down when walking, students, staff and visitors can walk on our food prints and at a glance, be reminded of the message we are attempting to convey to to UTS as a whole.

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Conclusion

Our transparency communication tool has been developed from the results of the literature review, black board audit, organic food waste data collection, online survey and visual analysis. This has given us the evidence to design an appropriate answer to organic food waste not going to landfill but back into our gardens by means of compost from the machines in building 8 and 10.

Bibliography

POST C

We the group, Level Three, proposed to a panel of organic food waste specialist on Wednesday 7th June 2017 to make organic food waste transparent at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) by looking at practices, education and promotion. We began our process by writing our own brief and deciding on the confines we wanted to stay within in the sense of our target market, geographic location, stakeholder and a point in the direction of what we wanted to design. This was all developed from a literature review, blackboard audit, survey, data collection and observations.

Brief

As a group you will have the opportunity to design and create a communication tool for students of The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and related demographics including staff and businesses in and around the UTS Campus. This communication tool needs to cater to practices, education and promotion by showing transparency surrounding the issues of food waste at UTS.

Research needs to be undertaken to inform and raise awareness regarding the current food waste situation at UTS. Using the UTS Sustainable Development Goals as an initial starting point will assist beginning your process for showing transparency surrounding the issues of food waste at UTS. Primary and secondary methods such as data collection, mind maps, surveys, observation, user testing and literature review need to be undertaken carefully with precision to provide accurate data.

Your presentation of your UTS food waste communication tool is due Wednesday 7th June 2017. You will need to have the food waste tool finalised by Friday 2nd June 2017.

You are to approach the food waste problem at UTS in four separate areas:

  • Food Waste Management
  • Food Waste Communication
  • Food Waste Education
  • Food Waste Systems

The communication tool needs to be presented neatly and in a cohesive manner. Remember you’re designing mainly for students but also for UTS staff and businesses around the UTS campus.

Above is our brief. Initially we struggled to place the right confines on our brief from attempting to come up with the final design solution before going through the design process. The brief hits a couple of key points we decided to align ourselves and the goals we wanted to achieve to the UTS Sustainable Develop Goals. Another key point was sharing and communicating to the UTS community, mainly students about the benefits of organic food waste and what can do to make it transparent.

Survey Analysis

We conducted a survey on organic food waste at UTS aimed at students to see what they knew about the system and whether they wanted to know more. The questions we asked on Survey Monkey, an Internet survey platform made it easier and faster to collect the data.

The results from the survey, identified students don’t know much about the organic food waste system at UTS referring to the 26 out of 39 people in question one. However 37 out of 39 people said they would change their behaviour referring to question four, if they were provided facts and figures. The other insight made was 27 out of 39 people were willing to be part of a broader scheme of organic food waste even with a chance their efforts could be wasted.

Literature Review

We’ve conducted a literature review to further ground our research regarding the current standings of food waste. Looking at this matter from a bigger picture, we’ve divided our research into three sub topics regarding our main focus on food waste (transparency); transparency in everyday practices, education, and promotion. Transparency in everyday practices focuses on the habits and behaviours of humans that shapes the current state of food waste our society is at now. We focused on diving in deeper on how big of an impact of humans can make regarding food waste, and how important it is to know beyond the existing rules of waste distribution, rather concrete their understandings on the current state of food waste. Transparency in education focuses on the precise definition of food waste by being transparent about food waste, as a lack of understanding can result to ignorance. Transparency in promotion is a big part of food waste – our take on this topic was to be completely transparent about the numbers and statistics of the state of food waste right now, as well as goals for the future. This way, we were hoping to stimulate interest from society to take part in improving this matter.

This literature review helped us develop a concrete definition of transparency and food waste itself to move forward with our design ideas. We understand that education was a key point of this topic – as a result, we chose to focus on integrating an educational advertisement through promoting the importance of transparency regarding food waste, and how big of an impact humans can contribute to make a change.

Designs

The first design we created was poster based. We believe posters are always a necessary element to any advertising campaign due to their ability to intrigue passerby’s, contain all relevant details and maintain a prominence across the campus. Containing a different type of food on each, the vector is depicted at a low transparency to reinforce our transparent theme.

The second design constructed was a design that we decided on when walking the sidewalks of the university. “Food Prints” were formed as a concept that can be applied to the ground of all walking spaces on campus. Naturally looking down when walking, students, staff and visitors can walk on our food prints and at a glance, be reminded of the message we are attempting to convey to to UTS as a whole.

20170619_00525120170619_00522120170619_005139

Conclusion

Our transparency communication tool has been developed from the results of the literature review, black board audit, organic food waste data collection, online survey and visual analysis. This has given us the evidence to design an appropriate answer to organic food waste not going to landfill but back into our gardens by means of compost from the machines in building 8 and 10.

Bibliography

Project: Green Tea Leaves

Green Tea Leaves’ design brief aimed to improve the UTS Underground (Tower Building) waste management system by educating users about the waste stream and waste separation at UTS and creating facilities that are intuitive and easily understood. This has been achieved by streamlined style of signage in line with UTS’ rebranding, bin redesign and incorporating multiple educational and interactive medias.

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Research

Primary research was crucial as it underpinned and informed our design brief. Firstly, a literature review was conducted to understand what design approaches were utilised in the past to address the organic waste problem, as well as identify information about the behaviours of the primary users of UTS: students in the 18 to 25 year old age range. We found that this cohort was one of the most food wasting age groups, were more aware of the food waste problem but lacked skills and strategies for dealing with food waste (Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW, 2011). Restricting our brief to the Underground, our group then designed conducted methodologies including a semi-structured interview with a member of cleaning staff, video ethnography and mapping of the Underground, a survey of current UTS students and staff to collect quantitative data examining users’ behaviour and education about waste management at UTS, and marketing analysis.

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The semi-structured interview revealed a lack of understanding of how to use the waste management system at UTS among users of the Underground with signage and bin labelling identified as areas to further develop. This finding was further corroborated in video ethnography, showing confusion and frequent pausing among users as they approached the bins with their waste, and in our survey where over 40% of respondents said that they had trouble deciding which bin was the right one for their rubbish.

In consideration of UTS’ recent rebranding, marketing analysis was performed to inform our design approach. In the document ‘UTS Brand Guidelines April 2017’ (UTS, 2017a) and ‘UTS MCU Tone of Voice Guide’ (UTS, 2017b), we identified a comprehensive set of rules dictating the use of specific sans-serif fonts, primary and monochrome colour schemes, and the use of iconography.

Development of Ideas

After examining the Underground space, we identified decorative walls that could be instead used as a platform for education. Wallpapers were designed in the UTS branding aesthetic communicating the impact of food waste and an explanation of the waste management system at UTS accompanied by links for further information.

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Existing screens in the Underground will display bright colour coded digital panels using UTS stylised iconography to inform consumers on which bin is the correct bin for each waste item as well as stream informational videos about waste reduction.

Using existing and well patronised social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, we can engage and educate students easily, providing strategies for dealing with food waste, educating on the impacts of waste on the environment and UTS’ waste management procedures, and notifying students of related UTS events.

Green_Tea_Leaves_14

Bin areas have been redesigned to facilitate in ease of use and reduce contamination issues by influencing user behaviour. The mouth of the bin enclosures reduces the visibility of rubbish inside to prevent users from informing their waste separation by following the behaviour of contaminating users. A bin has been added for liquid waste to encourage users to separate liquids from their recyclables. A waste flowchart has been added above the bin space to guide users in the waste separation process.

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References

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW, 2011, “Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study“, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW, Sydney, viewed 16th May 2017, <http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au/portals/0/docs/11339FWABenchmarkstudy.pdf >

UTS, 2017a, “UTS Brand Guidelines April 2017“, UTS, Sydney, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://staff.uts.edu.au/topichub/MCU/Overview%20Page/UTS_Brand-Guidelines_2017.pdf >

UTS, 2017b, “UTS MCU Tone of Voice Guide“, UTS, Sydney, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://staff.uts.edu.au/topichub/MCU/Overview%20Page/UTS_Tone-of-Voice_2017.pdf >

B. Working Interdisciplinary

The interdisciplinary nature of this subject allows designers with varying skills and interests to unite and utilise their specialised skills towards a common goal. This applies to the literal sense of designing, whereby physical skills are broadened within the group and designed outcomes can be more collaborative and extensive in order to “uncover a newer, more powerful solution (Pagés 2013). This may, however, also be seen as a detriment to the group dynamic, as students often have contrasting opinions upon approaching a brief, as a result of their individual experiences within other disciplines.

The caddie design project challenged our group significantly as it forced us to look beyond the foundational elements of design and consider strategy as a designed element. It also, however, presented opportunities to tailor an outcome which would play to the strengths of the group. Visual Communications students were able to apply knowledge of layout and visual hierarchy as well as technical skills within design programs, whilst product designers were able to apply their methods of prototyping and product testing to our caddie design.

This task ultimately allowed us to observe the role of designers within the wider community such as within organic waste systems. Our processes consider numerous influencing factors such as varying audiences, environments and visual desires, as well as practical skills such as aesthetics, production and promotion. Designers are highly skilled individuals with interest beyond the expanse of aesthetics. We are often highly concerned about the needs of consumers and use this knowledge in the conceptual stages of the design process. As a result, designers are highly useful in approaching “wicked problems” (Buchanan 1992) such as the management of waste, as we understand that the needs of such issues go beyond a simple solution.

System design must consider a multitude of influencing factors ranging from user demographics to financial constraints within production. For this reason, design can be seen as an instrumental elements to the formation of systems as we are required to respond to the actions of consumers and consider the process of using such product or system. This ultimately results in a “systematic and rigorous approach to design” that is “user-centred.” (Dubberly 2006)

Establishing a group charter is of high importance as it “clarifies team direction” (Life Cycle Engineering 2015) whilst beginning to educate members about the interests, strengths, weaknesses and experiences of their collaborators. This was no exception to our own group as we were able to recognise each others’ capabilities whilst establishing foundational beliefs for the group and our goals within the subject. The charter ultimately acts as a reminder for members to collaborate effectively in order to succeed.

References:

Life Cycle Engineering 2015, Team Charters: What are they and what’s their purpose?, Charleston SC, viewed 7 May 2017, <https://www.lce.com/Team-Charters-What-are-they-and-whats-their-purpose-1219.html>.

How Design 2013, The Interdisciplinary Design Approach, Florida, viewed 7 May 2017, <http://www.howdesign.com/design-firm/the-interdisciplinary-design-approach/>.

Dubberly Design Office 2006, What is Systems Design, San Francisco, viewed 8 May 2017, <http://www.dubberly.com/articles/what-is-systems-design.html>.

Buchanan, R. 1992, ‘Wicked Problems in Design Thinking.’ Design Issues, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 14-15.

Blog Post B: Reflection and Systems

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Green Tea Leaves, 2017,  Kitchen Caddy Liner Flyer, Lab B: Wealth from Waste, University of Technology Sydney.

We all rely and belong to multitudes of complex systems in our day to day lives. As a designer it is in our nature to approach problems within these systems in a more diverse and broad way, therefore creating innovating solutions. To do this our design solutions are to be effective on more than just a component level, they are required to be formed from a group of interacting, interrelated and interdepended components that form a complex and unified solution’ (Pegasus Communications, 2012)

Case Study:

Sian from EPA approached our team with a problem within the waste management system. Focusing our scope to organic waste, as a means to improve this system, we were given the brief to design a successful kitchen caddy liner that numerous demographics could use and construct on their own.

If done successfully these kitchen caddy liners would encourage residences to divide their organic waste from general waste so it does not arrive in landfill, resulting in the release of toxic greenhouse gasses and further pollution into our water ways.

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Green Tea Leaves, 2017, Collaborative Group Dynamics, Lab B Wealth From Waste, University of Technology Sydney.

Our group the Green Tea Leaves was able to successfully meet this brief. A large part of our designs success was due to our teams compatibility and multidisciplinary backgrounds: integrated product Design (IPD), Visual Communication and Fashion and Textiles design.

Various collaborative approaches like these are encouraged in design thinking and problem solving because some issues are simply too complex for an individual to comprehend and resolve completely (Whyte and Bessant 2007). Our group found after complying with our charter that ‘Exercising collaborative skills and playing to one another’s strengths’ successful as it opened up new approaches and perspectives.

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Green Tea Leaves, 2017, Group Charter, Lab B Wealth to Waste, University Technology Sydney.

Each of us had different assets and characteristics to contribute to make our design work, enabling our successful impact within the organic waste system:

IPD- Timo and Tanya: Questioned the true origins of the problem within the overall system, conducted research and made sure our findings were compatible through concise recording methods.
Visual communication- Gladys: Validated the success of our design, the construction methods needed to be easily and concisely communicated to an array of demographics while also remaining aesthetically pleasing.
Fashion and textiles- Tegan: Tested the products functionality and aesthetics, utilising there connections with various people and making suitable adjustments when necessary.

Before Sian approached us, the Shoalhaven local council unsuccessfully designed their own Kitchen caddie liner and Flyer. This is a good example of why designers are an important assets within the management of organic waste. We firstly rely on professionals within this fields to understand the system, then we as designers are able to utilise our skillsets (like the ones listed above) to make improvements to the efficiency of already existing or implement new ideas, that people within this field do not have the knowledge about currently. (Checkland,P. & Paulter, J. 2006)

References:

Checkland, P. & Poulter, J. 2006, Learning For Action: A Short Definitive Account of Soft Systems Methodology and Its Use For Practitioner,teachers and students, JohnWiley&Sons, Hoboken.

Whyte, J. & Bessant, J. 2007, Making the Most of UK Design Excellence: Equipping UK designers to succeed in the global economy, Innovation Studies Centre, London.

Pegasus Communications, 2012, What is systems thinking?, Systems thinker, viewed 10th May 2017.