Sustainability

Review of Food Waste Processing Options for Sunshine Coast Council Facilities

Client:
Sunshine Coast Council
Keywords:
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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.

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 Kensington

Following on from the success of the MWRRG grant-funded project Recycle Now! The City of Melbourne and EnviroCom delivered a recycling program for the Kensington estate. The Kensington Estate includes a mix of private and public housing dwellings, managed by Urban Communities on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.

New recycling bins and signage were installed at three high rise towers at the estate, with the aim of increasing recycling and encouraging residents to use the new infrastructure, instead of throwing their recycling into the garbage chute. Residents also received resources to assist them in carrying their recycling to the new bins.

Recycle Now Kensington engaged over 500 residents of the Kensington Estate community through foyer stalls, community presentations, incursions at the local primary school and attendance at a community festival.

The key to success of this Recycle Now program was the collaboration between different stakeholders, which ensured that a variety of residents were reached; from families with young children, CALD groups and elderly residents. This was achieved through attendance at different community events and group meetings and by selecting the appropriate time of day to reach the maximum number of residents for each building.

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.

South Burnett Regional Council School Waste Education Outreach

Client: South Burnett Regional Council

In April 2015, EnviroCom Australia coordinated and delivered an Education Outreach program to schools on behalf of South Burnett Regional Council (SBRC). For many schools, this is the first year a waste education program has been offered and delivered in their region. The program was well received by local schools with fifteen presentations being delivered at seven different schools over the four days of the program.

EnviroCom coordinated all aspects of the program as well as delivering the in-class presentations. The presentation program was customised to support the available regional services and focused on waste minimisation and organics recycling and included: Nature’s Recyclers (Composting and Worm Farming), Litter and the Environment and Think Food Rethink Waste.

Follow up activity sheets were also provided for each lesson type as a means of consolidating student knowledge. Based on the response from schools and the positive feedback received from participating teachers, the school outreach program will be continuing in the 2015/16 financial year.

Western Downs Regional Council Early Learning Years Outreach and Professional Development Workshop

Client: Western Downs Regional Council

In February 2015, EnviroCom Australia coordinated and delivered the second round of Early Learning Years Waste Education presentations on behalf of Western Downs Regional Council.  Twelve of the region’s Early Learning Centres (ELCs) engaged in the free waste education program covering presentations on waste and recycling, composting and worm farming, and litter. These presentations supported the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia as well as assisting centres in meeting and/or exceeding aspects of their National Quality Standards. Feedback received from centre staff who participated in the program indicated that the children and staff now have more motivation and knowledge to reduce waste and recycle correctly.

In addition to the presentations, EnviroCom staff also facilitated, for the first time, a Professional Development Sustainability Workshop for Early Years Educators.  24 staff members attended the evening workshop.  The workshop provided the participants with education and training to encourage waste management and minimisation practices within their centres.  All Centres that attended the PD workshop were provided with a free copy of EnviroCom’s Early Years Learning Resource Kit.   The Early Years Learning Resource Kit provides ELCs with separate, but integrated, education tools and resources allowing them to independently identify opportunities to minimise waste as part of centre operations, while at the same time delivering complementary, engaging and relevant education to the children in their care.  Feedback received from the workshop participants suggested the PD workshop was very informative and the Early Years Learning Resource Kit provided staff with the tools and ideas to improve their current waste management practices.

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.

Dandenong schools compete in Nude Food Day

Client: Nude Food Movers

City of Greater Dandenong primary schools – competing to clean up their lunch boxes for Nude Food Day.  Nude Food November Challenge is a national event created by Nude Food Movers to encourage individuals to make their lunch a healthy, nutritious and environmentally friendly meal by filling it with fresh food and eliminating all unnecessary wrapping and packets.

This year the Nude Food November Challenge was held from 5-12 November. City of Greater Dandenong had 11 primary schools working towards achieving zero-waste in their lunch-boxes on Nude Food Day.

In preparation for Nude Food November Challenge, students participated in a ‘pop-lunchbox inspection’ to get a better understanding of just how much waste is generated from their everyday school lunchbox.  From the 2555 students that participated in the surprise lunchbox inspection, a staggering 7375 wrappers, packets and packaging waste were counted!

With the help of lesson plans, classroom activities, educational resources and in-class presentations, developed and delivered by EnviroCom on behalf of Dandenong City Council, along with the hard work of students, teachers and parents, the second lunchbox inspection revealed an enormous reduction of 46%. Only 3411 wrappers, packets and packaging waste were recorded for the lunchboxes of all participating primary school students for the Nude Food November Challenge. This challenge was a great success with some truly amazing results from the 156 classes who participated.

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!

Rethinking Waste at Home – Community Workshop

Client: Logan City Council

EnviroCom has been involved in the planning and delivery of community education and engagement programs on behalf of Logan City Council for over a decade. Every year, EnviroCom facilitates a series of popular weekend workshops that offer participants the skills and knowledge to reduce waste through home composting, worm farming or correct recycling.

In early 2014, EnviroCom designed and trialled a new workshop with the aim of challenging the way people view waste generation throughout their homes. The ‘Rethinking Waste at Home’ workshop highlights the common, but often subconscious, waste generation habits that result from every day events such as grocery shopping, gardening, food preparation and social situations. With reference to the steps of the waste hierarchy; avoidance, reduction, and reuse; participants are encouraged to identify potentially wasteful behaviours and explore the possible alternatives that are readily available.

The Rethinking Waste at Home Workshop encourages participants to make simple, but conscious decisions everyday that can significantly reduce a household’s waste footprint.