Waste Minimisation

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.

Porchetta Day Festival 15/1/2016

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.

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.

Organics Education Resource Development

SBRC1

EnvrioCom has developed an attractive and informative new set of organic waste education resources for South Burnett Regional Council.

 

These resources focus on composting and worm farming and are used to complement community workshops or in a public place display.

 

The full complement includes a Pull-up banner, a Fold out display board and a life model of for each worm farming and composting.

 

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.

­­­­­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.

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.

Waste Stream Assessment

Client: Toowoomba Regional Council

In January 2015, EnviroCom Australia undertook its 28th landfill assessment in a series of biannual audits for Toowoomba Regional Council. This assessment was undertaken at Bedford Street Waste Management Facility, the region’s primary waste disposal facility.

These assessments serve numerous key functions that are integral to core operations of the site. The information collected assists in fulfilling the Queensland licensing agreement for the operation of this facility, informs the planning and management of the facility now and into the future, and provides a quantifiable measure of resource recovery efficacy captured through on-site diversion systems.

EnviroCom Australia provides a diverse range of solutions for the public and private sectors nation-wide, and has developed a reputation as one of Australia’s leading providers of waste stream assessment services.