Review of Food Waste Processing Options for Sunshine Coast Council Facilities
- Sunshine Coast Council
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.
Sunshine Coast Council Office and Depot Reassessment Waste Audit
- Sunshine Coast Council
In April 2016, EnviroCom undertook a waste audit of the Sunshine Coast Council’s Offices and Depots. The purpose of this audit was to reassess the waste management at selected Council facilities and track changes from 2015 baseline data. The reassessment focused on the rates of waste generation and the waste stream composition from these sites to assist in providing comparative data to assess progress within the Council’s Internal Waste Reduction Action Plan (iWRAP) and the planning for environmental improvements and other sustainability outcomes.
In conjunction with the reassessment ‘back of house’ waste audit, an internal ‘walk through’ waste audit was also undertaken at one of Council’s Administration Precincts.
The internal waste audit provided information on:
- the amount and types of waste generation that occurs on each floor
- if the current infrastructure was adequate according to the number of staff located in the area.
- identified barriers and limitations to improve resource recovery diversion
- identified opportunities to minimise recycling contamination and maximising resource recovery.
Ongoing monitoring and assessment of three key elements of effective waste management – behaviour and knowledge, infrastructure and services, and policies and procedures is imperative to ensuring sustainable outcomes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kids In Action Conference
- Sunshine Coast Council
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:
School Waste Minimisation Planning Program Takes Off
- Logan City Council
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