Waste Minimisation

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.

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!

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.

WasteLess Household Challenge

Client:
Maroondah City Council, Environment & Sustainability Dept.
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EnviroCom, in collaboration with Maroondah City Council and Transition Towns Maroondah developed an innovative community waste reduction workshop series pilot program called WasteLess Household Challenge.

The program involved EnviroCom co-facilitating a series of three workshops and developing educational materials which focused on reducing waste and recycling right. Participants completed a home waste audit at the beginning of the program and were able to use this information to set personal targets for waste reduction. The workshops gave participants an opportunity to analyse audit data, ask questions, learn about what happens to hard waste, comingled recycling and landfill waste in Maroondah, and explore ways to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle their household waste. After a month participants then re-audited their household waste and were able to discuss the processes used to achieve waste reduction targets. The program was highly successful with all households achieving their waste reduction targets.

Ascott Gardens Retirement Village

As part of its Business Waste Reduction Program, NetWaste engaged EnviroCom to collaborate with the 28-Council wide network of Councils in order to devise a comprehensive program that engaged residents and staff at Ascott Gardens, an assisted living facility for the elderly, to achieve lasting sustainable outcomes.  EnviroCom, in partnership with NetWaste’s Environmental Learning Advisor, offered facilitation and educational assistance to Ascott Gardens in order to establish a successful recycling program and achieve waste reduction goals. The program consisted of several components, beginning with survey distributed to staff and residents, designed to gauge the level of understanding and awareness around waste and recycling issues, as well as to obtain insight into the barriers for correct recycling behaviours.

A visual inspection was conducted to take examine current practices.  Several meetings were conducted to provide stakeholders with outcomes of the initial project phases.  Cleaning staff were consulted directly for their feedback, as their participation and ownership of the program was considered imperative to its success. Information seminars were delivered to staff members and residents in separate sessions to provide guidance on specific waste and recycling issues; these were complemented by educational resources including a 12-page booklet targeting staff, newsletter inserts for residents, and a range of pictorial signage for display throughout the facility. The program was successful in achieving a number of positive outcomes, including a reduced frequency of waste collection. The newfound awareness of staff and residents has been credited with inspiring a wider range of other environmentally conscious behaviours within as well as external to the facility.