Waste Stream Assessment

EnviroCom Program Catalyst for Hawkesbury Environmental Award

Hawkesbury City Council
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In 2018, EnviroCom developed a Waste Education incursion that focused on promoting improved waste management within schools. The incursion was specifically tailored to Stage 3 and 4 students and involved a student led Waste Stream Assessment of the participating school’s rubbish bins.  After completing this waste audit, participating students from Windsor High School, Hawkesbury, NSW, entered a competition called ‘Innovation Nation’ run by the Foundation of Young Australians which required them to develop ideas for social and environmental change.

The submission detailed how the students had developed a Waste Management Program called the ‘Cash Cage Project’. The Project aimed to reduce landfill waste volume within the school through rubbish reduction and better recycling and was adopted by the whole school community as students and teachers embraced the program.  Windsor High was one of 10 entries selected on the merit, worthiness and the ability of their project and they received a $1,000 micro grant, online resources as well as coaching sessions with experienced business leaders to help assist in the Project.

The money earned from the ‘return and earn’ part of the Cash Cage Project was used to purchase compost bins to further reduce waste in the school environment and produce compost for use in the school gardens and agricultural plot.

In recognition of their outstanding waste minimisation achievements, Windsor High School was awarded the Hawkesbury Environmental Award at the Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards 2019.

Sunshine Coast Council Office and Depot Reassessment Waste Audit

Sunshine Coast Council
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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.

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.

Nambour Show Public Place Recycling Audit

Sunshine Coast Council
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In June 2015, EnviroCom undertook a Public Place Recycling Audit of material received at the 2015 Nambour Show. The purpose of this audit was to determine whether recycling receptacles provided at the Show were being used appropriately.

Understanding the recycling behaviour of attendees will assist event mangers to plan for future waste management procedures at this and other events. This assessment was also able to identify what types of contaminant materials were presented. These materials can then be incorporated into vendor agreements to minimise the use of non-recyclable food packaging. 

Waste management of events on all scales is crucial to ensuring sustainable environmental outcomes. EnviroCom has the expertise to deliver tailored waste management advice to ensure your event can achieve these outcomes through by minimising recycling contamination and maximising resource recovery. 

­­­­­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.

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.

Commercial Waste Stream Audit

Client: Sunshine Coast Council

In May 2014, EnviroCom Australia undertook an assessment of the commercial waste generated by businesses within the Sunshine Coast Council municipality. The aim of this assessment was to determine the composition of commercial waste being presented to landfill.

The composition of commercial waste in a Council landfill is often overlooked due to a focus on the composition of municipal waste.  From a waste minimisation perspective, commercial contributions can represent a potentially significant degree of a region’s net presentation of waste. When investigated in combination with municipal solid waste, and construction/demolition waste, such information can be of vital importance to Councils in order to obtain a holistic understanding of the waste being managed.

Such knowledge subsequently assists in facilitating the development of informed strategic directives which support efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective waste management solutions for the client.

Cleaning Up at Christmas Carols!

EnviroCom and Bayside City Council increased the Christmas cheer this year by assisting to the annual Bayside Christmas Carols a Waste Wise event! Following Sustainability Victoria’s Waste Wise Program guidelines, EnviroCom applied litter and waste prevention strategies both during the planning process and through on-the-ground services during the event. A report was then provided to Council outlining the key waste outcomes for the event and potential for improvement in future events.
Council’s aim for the 2013 Carols was to minimise litter in the park and maximise recycling on the night. EnviroCom provided strategic guidance around bin placement, signage and messaging ahead of the event and also engaged with food vendors in the lead up and on the evening. A positive outcome was recorded, with the vast majority of vendors supplying only the requested recyclable drink and food containers.
An EnviroCom representative was then in attendance during the event, inspecting bins in relation to fullness and resource loss / contamination rates; we also provided and managed an on-site litter crew. Litter at the event was minimal and contamination rates were consistently low across the majority of recycling bins; a marked improvement on previous years events.
Additional Waste Wise initiatives included events announcements and big screen reminders regarding correct waste disposal being made throughout the evening. The event program and the Carols song book were also provided in a digital format, undeniably reducing waste creation from the event.

High Rise Recycling Project

City of Melbourne

EnviroCom, in partnership with the City of Melbourne, has been rolling out a large-scale residential High Rise Recycling Project. Melbourne is a tall city with more than 300 high rise residential buildings within the municipality – equating to approximately 50,000 individual apartments.

An impressive 100 buildings are involved, meaning 25,000 individual apartments will be tutored in the important art of recycling. The aim of the project is to improve the quantity and quality of material recycled where success is measured via ‘before’ and ‘after’ waste audits as well as through interviews with building and corporation managers.

High rise apartments in the city centre are complicated beasts when it comes to correct recycling. Often, these buildings are equipped with general waste chutes but inhabitants are expected to carry their recyclables to a downstairs bin area. This usually means that time-poor (or lazy) residents end up discarding all their material down the garbage chute – what a waste!

The project addresses this and other waste management issues via approaches that have been tailored to suit the needs of individual buildings. Some of the methods include: supplying apartments with snazzy, small and lightweight recycling crates; delivery of recycling fact sheets and fridge magnets to each apartment; installation of clear educational signage to eliminate confusion around what goes in which bin; implementing floor-by-floor recycling systems where appropriate; standardisation of bin colours to reflect the different waste streams and the use of special red bins aimed purely at capturing plastic bags.