Waste watchers Rubbish research revealed
Keeping a close eye on other people's rubbishLUCY TOWNEND
Two Massey Unversity researchers have been keeping a close eye on other people's rubbish.
Dr Trisia Farrelly and Dr Corrina Tucker have been tracking the trash of four Palmerston North families for the past seven months.
At a public seminar this week, they will present some preliminary findings from their work, as well as discuss other trash-related topics.
They embarked on the nine-month project earlier this year, enlisting people to have their household habits monitored.
Families' recycling and rubbish disposal methods were first noted and then they were asked to try to lessen their litter.
Dr Farrelly and Dr Tucker teamed with the Palmerston North City Council to run workshops, weekly waste audits and provide products, such as reusable produce bags, worm farms and shampoo bars, to help the families.
"Our households would self-describe as pretty environmentally aware and as good recyclers," Dr Farrelly said.
"But, despite that, there's still a lot of challenges around what can be recycled, and what can't, how to minimise your waste when purchasing items, plus how to manage your waste in the most sustainable and environmentally ethical way at the other end."
The families were signed up to fortnightly check-ins, as well as weblogs, in a bid to make changes.
Now, with only two months to go, the families are at it alone and the academics have taken a back seat to see if progress goes on without regular input.
"One thing that struck both of us was the role that surveillance has played," Dr Tucker said.
"It's one of the most powerful things to get them to minimise their waste, because they're being watched and they know someone is looking over their shoulder, as such."
The pair say they hope their research findings, due in December, will go beyond being published in an academic journal and will help shape policy change.
The public seminar Trash Talk: The Social Dimensions of Waste is on Thursday at 5.30pm at the Palmerston North City Library sound and vision room. Dr Tucker and Dr Farrelly will be joined by Australian academic Dr David Giles, who will talk about the dumpster-diving culture in Seattle, and Irish academic Dr Frances Fahy, who will talk about geographies of garbage and waste management in Ireland.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you agree with increased oil exploration?