Improving Dairy Productivity and Profitability

Farm Wastes Management

Farm Wastes Management Module for School Groups

The module aims to teach students about the kinds of wastes generated on farms and how they can be either utilised on farm, recycled or disposed of responsibly.

Materials:

Farm wastes cards (can be printed 2 or 4 pages per sheet)
Utilisation and disposal methods for farm wastes (can be printed 2 pages per sheet)
Waste hierarchy

Session run sheet:

1. Start by asking the students what kind of wastes are generated on a dairy farm. Rural students should be able to come up with a long list, urban students will generate a much shorter list and will need help.

As the waste types are identified, lay out the matching pictures on the table. When the students can come up with no more waste types, run through those items left in the pile of resources and explain what they are and how they are generated.

2. Show the students the waste hierarchy, show them how options closer to the top of the hierarchy are preferred over options at the bottom. Use an example of a common household waste that everyone will be familiar with. Ask the students how we could avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, recover or dispose of that waste.

As an example: waste food

Avoid/Reduce:
o buy only what you need and no excess
o purchase regularly and use food soon after purchase so it doesn’t go off
Reuse:
o Have some chickens that can eat the food scraps
• Recycle:
o Compost the waste food and use it in the garden
Recover:
o Use a bio-digester to generate methane from the food waste
Disposal:
o Send it to landfill, but with all the other options available you shouldn’t really need to do that.

3. On a whiteboard write Avoid/Reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, disposal down the left hand side of the board. Choose a waste from the selection available and ask the students for ways that the waste could be reduced, reused etc. The facilitator/teacher can use the reference sheets for guidance and ideas. When the students run out of ideas you can guide them to come up with more and/or explain the other options.

Discuss the practicalities of some of the ideas and which ones or combinations of ideas might work in the real world. You could even have a discussion about new technologies that might help in the future.

The time available will determine how many farm wastes are examined in detail. This exercise could lead on to a project where the students work in groups and complete an assignment on one waste type and how best to manage it.

Additional useful resources:

• EPA farm waste management fact sheet:
http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/publications/iwrg641.pdf
• DrumMuster: http://drummuster.com.au/
• ChemClear: http://chemclear.com.au/
• Plasback: http://www.plasback.com.au/

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