Research

With over sixteen years of project experience, a diversity of available services and wide-ranging staff capabilities, EnviroCom can provide clients with specialised services in Environmental Education, Training and Research.

Review of Food Waste Processing Options for Sunshine Coast Council Facilities

Client:
Sunshine Coast Council
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In 2017 EnviroCom undertook a research project to investigate options for the recycling of food waste produced at Sunshine Coast Council facilities and events.

The project aimed to provide Council with recommendations for methods to process food waste to reduce emissions, waste to landfill and to create a product that could be reused on Council owned parks and gardens.

Multiple technologies for organics processing were identified and compared against various criteria specific to Council’s requirements. These criteria included spatial and infrastructure requirements, environmental considerations, capital/ongoing costs, ease of use and legislative requirements.

EnviroCom was able to determine the processing requirements based on data collected in previous assessments of Council facility and event waste and recycling streams.   From this data, potential implementation sites were highlighted and an appropriate processing option recommended.

The research project provided Council with an opportunity to reduce both waste to landfill and the carbon footprint while turning the food waste into an organic resource that could be utilised locally.

Sunshine Coast Council Office and Depot Reassessment Waste Audit

Client:
Sunshine Coast Council
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In April 2016, EnviroCom undertook a waste audit of the Sunshine Coast Council’s Offices and Depots. The purpose of this audit was to reassess the waste management at selected Council facilities and track changes from 2015 baseline data. The reassessment focused on the rates of waste generation and the waste stream composition from these sites to assist in providing comparative data to assess progress within the Council’s Internal Waste Reduction Action Plan (iWRAP) and the planning for environmental improvements and other sustainability outcomes.

In conjunction with the reassessment ‘back of house’ waste audit, an internal ‘walk through’ waste audit was also undertaken at one of Council’s Administration Precincts.

The internal waste audit provided information on:

  • the amount and types of waste generation that occurs on each floor
  • if the current infrastructure was adequate according to the number of staff located in the area.
  • identified barriers and limitations to improve resource recovery diversion
  • identified opportunities to minimise recycling contamination and maximising resource recovery.

Ongoing monitoring and assessment of three key elements of effective waste management – behaviour and knowledge, infrastructure and services, and policies and procedures is imperative to ensuring sustainable outcomes.

Orange Waste Diary 12/1/2016

Is a fortnightly waste collection service feasible? Can it be done? What do residents think?

Those were just some of the questions posed by a Orange City Council in 2015. So, in partnership with Council, EnvrioCom set about finding out – through the ‘Fortnightly Waste Collection Trial’ program.

A pilot study was designed and undertaken with around 140 residents volunteering to complete an online weekly ‘Waste Diary’; with a further 20 selected to be ‘audited’ twice during the 12-week trial period. This involved hand sorting the contents of residents’ bins right in front of their eyes!

Supported by educational materials and direct discussion with our consultants, the trial was a success, with the conclusion that the majority of residents could comfortably function on a fortnightly waste collection – with little or no change to current behaviours or practices.

The data gathered was then collated into a final, detailed report which Council can now utilise as they consider whether to go ahead with the implementation of a fortnightly waste collection service.

Nambour Show Public Place Recycling Audit

Client:
Sunshine Coast Council
Keywords:
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In June 2015, EnviroCom undertook a Public Place Recycling Audit of material received at the 2015 Nambour Show. The purpose of this audit was to determine whether recycling receptacles provided at the Show were being used appropriately.

Understanding the recycling behaviour of attendees will assist event mangers to plan for future waste management procedures at this and other events. This assessment was also able to identify what types of contaminant materials were presented. These materials can then be incorporated into vendor agreements to minimise the use of non-recyclable food packaging. 

Waste management of events on all scales is crucial to ensuring sustainable environmental outcomes. EnviroCom has the expertise to deliver tailored waste management advice to ensure your event can achieve these outcomes through by minimising recycling contamination and maximising resource recovery. 

Understanding Waste Disposal in Multi-Unit Dwellings

Client: City of Logan

Between October 2014 and June 2015, EnviroCom Australia undertook a pilot program to assess and improve recycling practices in Multi-Unit Dwellings within Logan City, Queensland.

This study was the first of its kind for Logan City, its aim being to better understand the performance and behaviour of residents accessing shared waste services within Multi-Unit developments.

This project effectively mapped the change in residents’ disposal behaviours, through time in response to targeted education programs aimed at reducing recycling contamination and resource loss.

As the construction of high density developments continues to rapidly increase nationwide, studies such as this can provide Councils and businesses with valuable insights into the system performance, role of education and policy as well as planning requirements for these shared residential waste service arrangements.

National Litter Education Audit

Client: Healthy Waterways

EnviroCom Australia, in partnership with Healthy Waterways, undertook a desktop audit of litter education resources and programs in circulation throughout Australia. The audit was the first phase in the development of a coordinated litter education strategy for Queensland schools, issued by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

An online survey tool, web research and resource review processes were used to identify and map the resources and programs, determine their alignment with the Australian Curriculum and identify the predominant litter messages and topics addressed. A total of 92 litter education items were identified from various national, state and local agency/organisational levels.

Five key recommendations arose from the audit findings and formed the basis of a quality criteria framework that will inform the future development of resources and initiatives to support litter and illegal dumping education in Queensland schools.

Holding an event? Want to avoid garbage, maximise recycling and reduce litter?

EnviroCom recently produced a tailored Waste Management Plan (WMP) for a Melbourne Metropolitan Council outdoor event.  Although experienced in developing WMPs for schools, offices and property developments, taking this knowledge into the event arena was a new challenge.

To ensure the best possible outcomes, the WMP drew from years of practical experience at similar events (where EnviroCom regularly provides bin monitoring, vendor audits and public engagement and education); as well as researching best practice in Victoria and interstate.

The WMP covered a number of key areas to assist in addressing Council’s waste goals for the event – which were:

–          Minimise waste left behind

–          Maximise recycling / minimum contamination

–          Minimise littering

The WMP covered strategic waste management planning, including contractor and stallholder engagement, bin placement, messaging and signage.   The plan encompassed the three stages of the event cycle, with EnviroCom assisting Council at all stages of the event from initial planning and preparation, through vendor engagement, during the event and immediately after.  All outcomes of the plan were reported to Council including potential improvements for future events.

EnviroCom can review your upcoming Council event and deliver a tailored WMP to suit the specific event and waste minimisation goals.

Cleaning Up at Christmas Carols!

EnviroCom and Bayside City Council increased the Christmas cheer this year by assisting to the annual Bayside Christmas Carols a Waste Wise event! Following Sustainability Victoria’s Waste Wise Program guidelines, EnviroCom applied litter and waste prevention strategies both during the planning process and through on-the-ground services during the event. A report was then provided to Council outlining the key waste outcomes for the event and potential for improvement in future events.
Council’s aim for the 2013 Carols was to minimise litter in the park and maximise recycling on the night. EnviroCom provided strategic guidance around bin placement, signage and messaging ahead of the event and also engaged with food vendors in the lead up and on the evening. A positive outcome was recorded, with the vast majority of vendors supplying only the requested recyclable drink and food containers.
An EnviroCom representative was then in attendance during the event, inspecting bins in relation to fullness and resource loss / contamination rates; we also provided and managed an on-site litter crew. Litter at the event was minimal and contamination rates were consistently low across the majority of recycling bins; a marked improvement on previous years events.
Additional Waste Wise initiatives included events announcements and big screen reminders regarding correct waste disposal being made throughout the evening. The event program and the Carols song book were also provided in a digital format, undeniably reducing waste creation from the event.

Ascott Gardens Retirement Village

As part of its Business Waste Reduction Program, NetWaste engaged EnviroCom to collaborate with the 28-Council wide network of Councils in order to devise a comprehensive program that engaged residents and staff at Ascott Gardens, an assisted living facility for the elderly, to achieve lasting sustainable outcomes.  EnviroCom, in partnership with NetWaste’s Environmental Learning Advisor, offered facilitation and educational assistance to Ascott Gardens in order to establish a successful recycling program and achieve waste reduction goals. The program consisted of several components, beginning with survey distributed to staff and residents, designed to gauge the level of understanding and awareness around waste and recycling issues, as well as to obtain insight into the barriers for correct recycling behaviours.

A visual inspection was conducted to take examine current practices.  Several meetings were conducted to provide stakeholders with outcomes of the initial project phases.  Cleaning staff were consulted directly for their feedback, as their participation and ownership of the program was considered imperative to its success. Information seminars were delivered to staff members and residents in separate sessions to provide guidance on specific waste and recycling issues; these were complemented by educational resources including a 12-page booklet targeting staff, newsletter inserts for residents, and a range of pictorial signage for display throughout the facility. The program was successful in achieving a number of positive outcomes, including a reduced frequency of waste collection. The newfound awareness of staff and residents has been credited with inspiring a wider range of other environmentally conscious behaviours within as well as external to the facility.

Waste Audit at Metropolitan Melbourne Train Stations

Client:
Metro Trains Melbourne
Keywords:
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In January 2013, Metro Trains Melbourne (Metro Trains) began an educational Waste & Recycling poster campaign at selected metropolitan Melbourne train stations. EnviroCom was appointed to conduct audits to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign and to inform future actions.
EnviroCom conducted a pre-education audit in October 2012 to establish a baseline. The post-education audit was conducted in April 2013, three months after the implementation of the educational poster campaign.

The audits involved a site assessment (station cleanliness, condition of bin infrastructure, number and location of bins), visual litter count and bin inspections (% fullness, % contamination and % resource loss), as well as collection and segregation of recycling and garbage bin contents according to the Australian Waste Database (AWD) categories.

From pre- to post-education, there was found to be an increase in the mass of recyclables being presented to the comingled recycling stream and a decrease in the mass of contamination of the recycling stream – both encouraging results! The educational poster campaign has had some success in improving the quality of the recyclables collected from metropolitan Melbourne train stations.

For waste that can make a return journey

For waste that can make a return journey

For waste that has reached the end of the line

For waste that has reached the end of the line