Community Research

Hawkesbury Show Public Place Recycling Program 23/4/2016

EnviroCom Australia, in conjunction with the Hawkesbury District Agriculture Association and Hawkesbury City Council, designed and delivered a public place recycling program for the 2016 Hawkesbury Show, one of the largest rural shows in NSW.

The program was developed to improve waste outcomes at the show, with a particular focus on reducing recycling contamination rates. Prior to the event, EnviroCom liaised with vendors and show organisers to provide strategic recommendations on waste management logistics for show. During the event, a range of initiatives were implemented to better understand public waste disposal behaviours at the show and to educate visitors on best waste disposal practices. ‘Recycling Rovers’ conducted visual bin audits to determine common contaminants and contamination ‘hot spots’. The Rovers engaged with visitors to the Show, assisting them to use the correct bins and providing instant win prizes for patron seen to be recycling right. . Other public education activities such as recycling trivia were conducted at the Council tent.

The program provided Council with valuable data into patron and vendor behaviours and recommendations to further improve waste management practices at future events through improved logistical planning and further public engagement strategies.

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.

­­­­­Recycle Now!

Client: Melbourne City Council

Recycle Now! – an exciting, MMWG grant-funded project targeting the installation of a brand new recycling service to three large government housing developments in Carlton and North Melbourne.

The residential tower blocks were built in the 1960’s – long before anyone was seriously recycling domestic waste products.   These tower blocks were built with internal ‘garbage chutes’ feeding huge510.2 skip bins at first floor level; everything and anything was being taken to landfill!

Melbourne City Council and EnviroCom have worked with these three developments which now have recycling bins installed in their foyers and an engaged and inspired community filling the bins with beautiful clean recycling!

The key to the success of this program was recognition that installing the bins alone would not be enough to deliver real diversion results.   In April 2015, EnviroCom embarked on a program of ‘champion’ recruitment, aimed at marshalling volunteers for the local (mainly migrant) community to become the champions of the soon-to-be-delivered recycling bins.   These volunteers, after attending a series of workshops, then door knocked every apartment on every floor, introducing the new system and providing residents with information on how to use it.

A series of school incursions, tours to the recycling plant and a celebration party then followed.   This successful program will hopefully provide a blueprint for the delivery of successful recycling programs in other similar housing developments.

Waste Management in Multi Unit Developments

Client: Maroondah City Council

A project instigated by one of EnviroCom’s Senior Consultants in Melbourne, with the aim of reducing illegal rubbish dumping, reducing contamination of recycling material and reducing waste sent to landfill, has had extremely encouraging early results. The project received funding from the Metropolitan Waste Management Group’s Metropolitan Local Government Resource and Recovery Fund.

Four different approaches were trialled, to educate residents of multi unit developments (MUDs) in how to dispose of their rubbish and recycling items. The cheapest option (installing under-the-lid recycling stickers) proved to be the second most effective in improving the contamination rate, whilst the most expensive option (door knocking residents) was the most effective in all categories. This option, while costing just over $13 per unit, was less than twice the cost of the next most expensive option (bin corral signage), which had a negligible or negative effect on contamination rates, resource loss and illegal dumping. The second cheapest option (mail-out of information to residents) resulted in the second highest improvement in illegal dumping.

Face to face contact is clearly the most effective way to educate residents in how to dispose of their rubbish, and the long term cost benefits outweigh the initial outlay. Contamination of recycled material was reduced from 16.5% to 2.5% while illegal dumping was reduced from 2 cubic metres per week to one third of a cubic metre per week for the whole development– a result which is certainly worth replicating on a wider scale.

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.

Clean Up Our Game

Client:
Shire of Nillumbik; City of Darebin; City of Whittlesea
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The Shire of Nillumbik and the Cities of Darebin and Whittlesea have undertaken a regional public place recycling program at Northern Football League football grounds. Their ‘Clean Up Our Game’ project involved the installation of infrastructure, signage and recycling bins in addition to waste education. EnviroCom was employed to evaluate the effectiveness of the project and to inform future actions. Preliminary waste audits in eight sporting grounds indicated the potential of the project to divert a significant percentage of recyclables from landfill. After three months a secondary waste audit showed all grounds to have improved in corrected diversion and resource recovery rates, with resource recovery increasing by 19.19% by weight and 24.18% by volume. This is a highly pleasing result and through strategies such as positioning waste and recycling bins in pairs, and with reinforced education the ‘Clean Up Our Game’ project is expected to continue to improve recovery.

Multi-Unit Dwellings (MUDs) – Recycling Bin Inspection Program

Multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) tend to exhibit higher levels of recycling contamination (relative to single-unit dwellings) and are notoriously difficult to engage with in relation to the delivery of education for correct recycling practices.

EnviroCom was engaged by Burwood Council to conduct a Bin Inspection Program (BIP) of MUDs in selected suburbs of Burwood. The inspection program was designed to assess the level and composition of contamination in the recycling stream, and use this information to provide education and guidance to the community to improve recycling practices. Following inspections educational resources were given to every household, containing specific feedback regarding the performance of the whole complex and targeted information highlighting recyclable and non-recyclable items.

The program was successful with a 17% improvement overall in recycling practices (i.e. decreasing contamination), and a significant reduction in the occurrence of high and extreme levels of contamination.

2010 Waste Education Strategy

Client:
Redland City Council
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Redland City Council engaged EnviroCom to develop a waste education strategy for integration with their regional waste management plan.  Founded on Council’s priorities for waste diversion and avoidance, the strategy incorporated initiatives to target identified audience sectors, including mechanisms for community feedback, and included robust evaluation tools linked to a series of KPI’s.

The strategy was underpinned by significant background information and research, including industry workshops, community surveys, industry observations, waste practice assessments and client and community liaison.

Waterways Extension Program

Identifying effective and practical strategies to maximise community participation and associated positive environmental outcomes is a key component of successful sustainability engagement programs. EnviroCom was engaged by Redland City Council to develop a strategic and integrated community engagement plan that would generate community behaviours and actions to support the management of local waterways in order to achieve sustainable water and environmental quality outcomes. Tasks associated with this project included, reviewing existing reports, mapping resources and other research to establish priority areas for consideration in the development of the Waterways Extension Program.