Sustainability

Nude Food Lunchboxes in Logan Primary Schools

Client: Logan City Council

In October 2014, EnviroCom coordinated a very successful Nude Food Day competition with 42 Logan primary school classes removing 2,400 packets from their lunchboxes on a single day.

Food wrappers and other single-use packaging containers form a significant proportion of the lunchtime waste generated in schools. Unfortunately, most of this school lunch box waste is destined to become either schoolyard litter or buried in landfill. The Nude Food Day competition was designed to raise awareness of the large volume of waste being generated in students’ lunchboxes, while providing students, teachers and parents with practical advice on how they can reduce packaging waste at school.

The Nude Food Day competition was held in conjunction with the National Nude Food Day event hosted by Nutrition Australia. A partnership between EnviroCom and Nutrition Australia secured the use of Nutrition Australia’s ‘National Nude Food Day’ logo along with other promotional insignia. EnviroCom was also provided with unlimited use and distribution of Nude Food Day lesson plans, activity sheets and other resources developed for schools by Nutrition Australia.

EnviroCom would like to thank the following schools for participating in the Nude Food Day competition:

  • Boronia Heights State School
  • Greenbank State School
  • Jimboomba State School
  • Logan Reserve State School
  • Park Ridge State School
  • Shailer Park State School
  • St Bernardines Catholic Primary School
  • St Francis College
  • Woodhill State School
  • Woodridge State School

Early Childhood Waste Education Outreach 2014

Client: Southern Downs Regional Council

On behalf of Southern Downs Regional Council, EnviroCom Australia coordinated and delivered a four day Waste Education Outreach designed specifically for the Early Childhood Sector.

The Waste Education Outreach program aligned directly with learning outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, and was designed to assist centres in meeting and/or exceeding aspects of their National Quality Standards. EnviroCom was responsible for coordinating all aspects of the program, from the development of promotional materials through to managing bookings and liaising with centre directors and staff.

Group presentations on waste, recycling and related topics were offered to all centres in the region, allowing children the opportunity to discover and understand everyday issues associated with waste production and disposal. Children explored the benefits of adopting more sustainable waste management practices through reducing, reusing and recycling at home and in their centres.

The specifically targeted program for Early Childhood Centres was greatly appreciated by the participants.  Excellent feedback was received and the Centres indicated that they were better positioned to continue to work towards minimising the waste produced on a daily basis.

Early Learning Years Environmental Education Resource Kit

Early Learning Years Environmental Education Resource Kit

Early Learning Years Environmental Education Resource Kit

To complement the release of The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, ‘Belonging, Being and Becoming’, EnviroCom has developed an Early Learning Years Environmental Education Resource Kit.  This kit primarily addresses waste management and provides Early Learning Centres and Kindergartens with the means to independently assess and improve their current waste management practices through provision of a waste calculator tool.

The kit also incudes resources for children, including two interactive picture story books: ‘Tom, Sam and Kate Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ and ‘Tom, Sam and Kate’s Backyard Adventure’.  The books include complementary follow-on activities, as well as extension activities for facilitation by group leaders encouraging open-ended play experiences and opportunities for intentional teaching.  The kit also includes reinforcing tools such as posters.

To assist uptake of the Kit, EnviroCom’s trained facilitators can run PD sessions for Centre staff to train them in how to effectively use the Kit and get the most out of it.  Contact EnviroCom today to find out more!

 

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

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.

Kids In Action Conference

Kids Teaching Kids 2012

Kids Teaching Kids 2012

2011, 2012 & 2013

EnviroCom has been involved with the Sunshine Coast Council’s Kids In Action Conference for several years. The event provides an opportunity for Sunshine Coast youth to develop skills, capabilities and confidence in taking action and building leadership around environmental issues. It builds on the Kids Teaching Kids model, in engaging and supporting local schools to address a local environmental issue, through curriculum inquiry and strategic teacher resourcing and training in effective environmental education.

EnviroCom has assisted as a member of the steering committee, a mentor for schools developing workshops, a facilitator for the event’s waste management plan enacted by a team of students and as a workshop group leader. EnviroCom is proud to be part of this event that joins hundreds of students and teachers from across the region, sharing their experiences and learnings to help save the Coast’s spectacular local environment. For further information on the Kids In Action Conferences, check out the Sunshine Coast Council website:
http://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/sitePage.cfm?code=kids-in-action

School Waste Minimisation Planning Program Takes Off

In 2013, Logan City Council’s popular waste education program, Watch Out Waste, began offering schools assistance with the development of a tailored School Waste Minimisation Plan (SWMP) to align with their School Environmental Management Plan (SEMP).

The assistance based program involves experienced EnviroCom educators providing advice on off-site collection services.  This advice helps schools undertake baseline data gathering and develop a targeted and practical School Waste Minimisation Plan.  The established in-class education program also complements the waste minimisation goals set by the school.

EnviroCom has currently assisted 4 schools to successfully develop a SWMP, with the collaborative approach to planning and development positively received by all schools involved. Through Council’s Watch Out Waste Program, EnviroCom hopes to engage a further 4-8 schools in the new financial year, as well as expand the program to provide assistance to local businesses.

For more information about Logan City Council’s Watch Out Waste Program visit Council’s website: http://www.logan.qld.gov.au/environment-water-and-waste/waste-and-recycling/waste-education

Bioregion Education Module Development and Pilot Study

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.

Quantify Your Waste Generation

Waste Segregation and Auditing

Waste Segregation and Auditing

Do you know how much waste your organisation generates?

In February 2013, EnviroCom conducted an assessment of the composition and generation of total waste streams on behalf of Gold Coast City Council (GCCC). The study included waste streams from GCCC offices and works depots in order to assess the amount and composition of waste generated. A logistics and scheduling program was implemented prior to the audit period in order that all GCCC locations could be included in the assessment. All waste generated over a known period of time was hand segregated and recorded by mass and volume in order to accurately quantify the amount of waste that was deposited to the garbage, commingled recycling and paper and cardboard streams. EnviroCom provided a comprehensive report that highlighted the generation rate of waste from each site, the amount of resource (recycling) lost to the garbage; contamination in the recycling and a series of recommendations to improve waste minimisation and management at their sites.

Waste Minimisation Assistance Program for Schools

Liverpool City Council engaged EnviroCom to assist students and staff at local schools to implement a recycling program and reduce overall waste volumes as part of their School Environmental Management Plan (SEMP).

The SEMP is a comprehensive, staged program which includes a baseline audit of the schools waste streams, (undertaken by students), analysis and reporting of the findings and the development of a whole-of-school Waste Minimisation Action Plan (WMAP). Experienced EnviroCom educators assist schools in designing and undertaking baseline data gathering and developing a targeted and practical Action Plan, as well as providing education services that places waste minimisation in a broader environmental context.

The SEMP development process is positive, comprehensive and proactive; combining education with action. EnviroCom has assisted 16 Liverpool schools to successfully complete their SEMP, with another 8 schools currently engaged.