Degree Name

Human Geography (Honours)




Professor Gordon Waitt


Although the sustainability benefits of household composting have been widely publicised, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that approximately half of the waste produced by the average Australian household is compostable organic material (ABS 2012). Scientists warn that in an anaerobic landfill environment, decomposing food waste omits harmful greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. The uniqueness of this thesis is that it addresses people who compost informed by feminist scholars and emotional geographies of household sustainability. The thesis aim is to discuss what emotions do to mobilise or inhibit composting, triggered by proximity to (i) invertebrates (ii) vertebrates (iii) and materials. This project uses a mixed-methods approach that combined a life narrative of composting through semi-structured interviews with a participant sketch, show and tell, solicited photo or video diary and a follow-up interview. It used a combination of thematic and sensory analysis, underpinned by a visceral interpretive framework to guide the analysis. This thesis advances composting literature and household sustainability by illustrating how love, disgust, shame, pride, anxiety, awe and hate work as different kinds of orientations to consider when advocating for composting practices.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.