ACT green waste service going from strength to strength
In April 2017, the ACT Government launched a brand new green waste service for the areas of Weston Creek and Kambah. Due to the initial success of the service the area of Tuggeranong was added into the service area in January 2018. The service operated on an opt-in basis where residents pay a one off $50 cost recovery fee. The uptake of the service was tremendously popular with 63% of residents opting-in for a green waste bin since the service commenced. EnviroCom has been responsible for marketing the new service and providing education to residents about how to use their new bin. To date, nearly 16,000 bins have been inspected by EnviroCom staff over the past two years with 92.5% of the bins being free of contamination. From April 2017 – April 2019 the service collected 8543 tonnes of green waste, which also includes the addition of the Belconnen area to the service in September 2018.
As of 1st April 2019, the green waste service is now available across all of the ACT. The service remains optional with the one off $50 fee. EnviroCom will provide three full time staff moving forward to ensure the ongoing success of this green waste service by continuing bin inspections, running facility tours, staffing pop up displays and designing education materials. Targeted community education and engagement will assist ACT residents to use their green waste bin correctly helping to divert a valuable resource away from landfill. The collected garden waste will be turned into mulch products which can be purchased by residents at a discounted rate.
Porchetta Day Festival 15/1/2016
- Gunnedah Shire Council
Gunnedah’s ‘Porchetta Day Festival’ is a busy community event with a focus on local food, produce and all things Italian.
2015 was the Festival’s seventh year and so was the perfect candidate for introducing Public Place Recycling – to increase resource recovery on the day. In partnership with Council, EnviroCom advised with regards to education material, bin positioning on the day, flyers and signage – all with a focus on reducing the amount of waste generated for disposal at landfill and maximising the use of onsite recycling bins.
Throughout the event EnviroCom hosted a recycling education stall on behalf of Council – handing out educational flyers and prizes to individuals who were spotted doing the right thing and recycling correctly. Resident surveys were also completed at the stall, with the community supportive of Public Place Recycling at events. A visual inspection of recycling and waste bins was also conducted on the day, to assess the contamination found within the recycling stream and estimate the quantity of resource loss in the waste stream. Overall the implementation of the program was a success with visual audits showing low levels of contamination in the recycling bins as well as minimum resource loss found within the residual waste bins.
‘Train the Trainer’ Composting and Worm Farming Workshop
- Southern Downs Regional Council
EnviroCom delivers the annual Waste Education Strategy on behalf of Southern Downs Regional Council and has been facilitating free community workshops on behalf of Council for several years.
The ‘Train the Trainer’ Composting and Worm Farming Workshop was specifically tailored to people that had previously participated in a Council run community composting and worm farming workshop, who are actively composting and/or worm farming, and who are passionate about its environmental benefits. The workshop, facilitated by a professional environmental educator from EnviroCom, provided participants with all the skills, knowledge and resources to be able to independently deliver composting and/ or worm farming information sessions to friends, family and other residents within the local area, through existing networks, community groups and beyond.
By educating and upskilling engaged members of local communities, the ‘Train the Trainer’ style workshops aim to tap into the knowledge and skills of these local ‘environmental champions’ to help spread key sustainability messages to a broader section of the community.
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 huge 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.
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.
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.
EnviroCom goes Festival Happy in Melbourne
Clients: Various Melbourne Councils
As 2014 draws to a close we reflect on EnviroCom’s festival participation in Melbourne. In partnership with a number of Metropolitan Melbourne Councils, we have been the face of Council at numerous community events, including:
- Fawkner Festival
- Maroondah Festival and Maroondah Children’s Week Festival
- Dandenong Show
- Spring into Gardening Festival
- Prahran Market
- Bayside Christmas Carols
- ‘Fixit!’ And ‘Plarn’ upcycling workshops
Each event requires ongoing support from EnviroCom at all stages e.g. planning/preparation, set-up, attendance, public engagement, waste management and reporting. As each event differs in nature and is run by different councils, the type and level of engagement also differs. This year, our engagement with residents and community involved education about hard waste; household waste and recycling practices; composting; upcycling and waste minimisation. Many events had interactive activities for children and adults alike – ‘Race to Recycling’; children’s art stations; ‘Which Bin Does It Go In’; ‘Hard Waste Tetris’ and general question and answer sessions.
EnviroCom staffing at community events and festivals allows the opportunity for wider interaction with residents of all ages, demographics and knowledge levels. They are also a great space for residents to approach Council with questions about waste, recycling and composting. Festival and Event stalls encourage residents to take information and resources home, with the hope of improved practices following education and reinforcement received at the event.
EnviroCom can assist with effective community engagement and education. We look forward to participating in community festivals, events and workshops across Melbourne again in 2015!
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.
Recipe cards to help reduce food waste
- Logan City Council
Australians spend $158 billion on food every year and throw as much as 20% of that away. EnviroCom worked in partnerships with Logan City Council in inviting local food sector businesses and other community stakeholders to collaborate on a community project to target ways to reduce food waste through the development of a series of recipe cards.
The recipe cards aimed to provide the community with simple and effective ideas of how to transform common leftovers and pantry staples into delicious meal ideas and how to safely turn food items just past their ‘Best Before’ dates into nutritious dishes.
In addition, the recipe cards also provided tips and tricks on food purchases; storage, and preparation ideas to help reduce food waste as well as information on how reducing food waste can save money and benefit the environment.
Bioregion Education Module Development and Pilot Study
- Moreton Bay Regional Council
In 2011, Moreton Bay Regional Council engaged EnviroCom to develop a Bioregion Education Module for self-implementation by schools of the region. The resource seeks to facilitate schools in conducting on-site assessments of their biodiversity values, in developing informed action plans for enhancing biodiversity, and in implementing practice and behaviour change, contributing positively to the integrity of the regional ecosystem (RE) and bioregion.
EnviroCom was further commissioned by the Moreton Bay Regional Council to conduct a Pilot Study of the resource, to determine the:
- demand for such a ‘biodiversity’ resource,
- level of implementation support required/expected by schools,
- appropriateness of module content/tools,
- opportunities/barriers to integrating and implementing the resource, and
- the resources’ ability to facilitate positive environmental outcomes and apply feedback loops transferring vital information back to Council.
Pilot Study schools reported a rewarding, authentic, successful experience with the resource. Rich connections between the resource and existing curriculum outcomes were identified, and it was deemed appropriate, user friendly, versatile and adaptable. Schools reported improved confidence and capacity from staff and students with regard to biodiversity and in the attitudes and priorities afforded biodiversity at their school. A Biodiversity Enhancement Action Plan has been developed for each school, steering and focusing their long-term, prioritised, locally specific, practice and behaviour change.