With over twenty years of project experience, a diversity of available services and wide-ranging staff capabilities, EnviroCom can provide clients with specialised services in Environmental Education, Training and Research.
‘Grin on Your Bin’ Inspection Program for Logan City Council
The ‘Grin on Your Bin’ (GOYB) project, delivered through Logan City Council’s Waste Education Program, is aimed at educating residents about what they can and cannot place into their kerbside recycling bins through a targeted bin inspection program. The program also allows EnviroCom to record contamination incidences in the Kerbside Comingled Recycling Stream at a household level.
The behaviour change strategy underpinning the GOYB inspections aims to reduce contamination at the household level by providing targeted education specific to observed waste disposal behaviours. Each kerbside recycling bin inspected receives a bin hanger which addresses incorrect behaviours, through the specific identification of any contaminant, and reiterates preferred behaviours by listing acceptable recyclable materials.
Over the last 3.5 years, almost 4,000 of Logan’s kerbside recycling bins have been inspected by EnviroCom’s bin inspectors. Results from follow up inspections of more than 500 of these bins indicate that providing education directly to the user is effective in reducing levels of contamination and influencing positive changes in household recycling behaviours.
The repeated and targeted GOYB behaviour change program would appear to be having a positive impact on the waste disposal and source separation behaviours of Logan residents. Results from regular audits of Logan’s Domestic Kerbside Comingled Recycling Stream found that contamination rates are at their lowest point since 2013, coinciding with the expansion of the GOYB program.
From Workshops to Webinars; Waste Education Goes Online
The sudden arrival of COVID19 restrictions in April 2020 placed a number of scheduled International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) community workshops in jeopardy for delivery on behalf of our valued Clients.
In partnership with these Clients, EnviroCom quickly worked to transition traditional direct engagement delivery elements across to an online environment. Existing workshop outcomes were used to generate specific learning content suitable for delivery via an online platform to ensure that engaging and interactive webinars could be developed. Extensive testing was then completed in-house, in a very short timeframe, and the webinars prepared for ‘go live’.
Both City of Whittlesea and Maroondah Council re-advertised the workshops as webinars – honouring the original workshop delivery dates. The response was immediate with an increase in registrations compared to the original face to face programs.
After a week of delivering back to back webinars, using a combination of approaches such as live presenters, PowerPoint slides, video clips and online polls, the feedback and engagement from the community has been excellent. Q&A sessions during each webinar have been very lively with an average of three questions per attendee, which is far in excess of the number of questions normally fielded in a face to face scenario. Post webinar surveys suggest that over three-quarters of participants would prefer to attend webinar style education in the future compared to face to face options.
EnviroCom is continuing to work with many of our Clients to further refine the delivery elements and enhance the webinar experience. Far from being a short term fix for the COVID19 world, we are entering a brave new world of community engagement and learning!
Ophir Road Resource Recovery Centre’s Virtual Tour
The video also takes a closer look at Orange’s 3-bin kerbside system, as provided to residents by Council. The footage shows the journey of each waste stream and provides an insight into what happens to waste materials beyond the kerbside.
By using the Council-provided bins and the ORRRC, Orange residents can greatly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. Orange City Council is also one of a growing number of Councils that accepts food and garden waste in the green-lidded bin, which is then turned into, Australian standard compost through a state-of-the-art organics composting facility.
The ORRRC Virtual Tour video can be viewed on the Orange City Council website, along with information about upcoming Waste Facility Tours run by EnviroCom Australia, for residents who are interested in attending a free guided tour of Orange’s waste facilities.
An article in the local Central Western Daily newspaper in February 2020 helped to further promote Orange City Council’s waste education program and waste facility tours.
Eliminating Business Waste with Nile Street Café
Nile Street Café in Orange, NSW is a fantastic example of how sustained effort and buy-in from the owners and staff can achieve sustainable outcomes. Through a business engagement program developed by EnviroCom on behalf of Orange City Council, Nile Street Café has reviewed its waste management practices and is achieving some great results.
Owner Frank Mohun advises not to become overwhelmed. “We started off by making a couple of really small changes that quickly became habits, and we were able to move onto the next thing. Eventually, this all adds up to make a big difference.”
“We’re always looking for lower waste alternatives in our business, whether that be by changing our practices or using more sustainable products. We have switched to using paper straws and paper packaging for our takeaways.”
The Café participates in the Responsible Cafes program, offering a discount to customers who bring reusable cups, and staff collect eligible containers to refund through the Return & Earn scheme. The Café negotiated with their suppliers to return packaging for reuse – used milk bottles, ice-cream tubs and vinegar drums are returned to be cleaned and refilled. Boxes from fruit and vegetable deliveries are picked up with the next delivery. This way, valuable resources stay in use for longer.
Utilising the Council-provided Recycling and Food Organic Garden Organic (FOGO) bins effectively is really important. “As a café, food makes up a significant part of our waste. Not everything can go into our compost bin so using the FOGO bin properly means we send significantly less waste to landfill.”
EnviroCom Facilitates the DES Waste Educators Workshop
In May 2019, the Department of Environment and Science engaged EnviroCom to facilitate a two day Waste Educators Workshop. The workshop was targeted at key waste educators from local government, the waste industry, Environmental Education Centres, key education sector personnel, community organisations, not for profit agencies, primary and secondary teachers, and administrative staff across Queensland.
Approximately 60 waste education stakeholders came together for the workshop, to discuss the current state of waste education in Queensland, along with the existing opportunities and challenges for implementing waste and resource recovery programs in Queensland schools.
A variety of group discussion and facilitation strategies were employed for the workshop to gather meaningful and valuable feedback from participants to inform the design and development of a four year waste and resource recovery strategy. Incorporated in the group discussion and facilitation strategies was the engagement of, and collaboration with, a graphic recorder. The graphic documentation of the main discussion points was incredibly valuable for post reflection and synthesis of key ideas and recommendations arising from workshop participants’ contributions.
Logan City Council Launches Waste Smart Kindy Program
- Commercial Waste Minimisation, Education Research and Planning, Education Resource Development and Review, Education Strategy, Staff Engagement, Staff Training, Stakeholder Engagement, Strategic Planning, Sustainability, Waste Education, Waste Management, Waste Planning, Waste Stream Assessment
A new program aimed at helping Early Learning Centres reduce their waste has launched in the Logan City Council area. The new Waste Smart Kindy Program is a milestone program, designed to support Early Learning Centres, Childcare Centres and Kindergartens on their journey towards sustainability. The program has taken inspiration from the success of a similar initiative by Brisbane City Council.
Resources, guidance, advice, and training will be provided by EnviroCom’s team of experienced Environmental Educators to engage centres in investigations of on-site waste issues, which will inform the development and design of sustainable, appropriate waste management solutions.
Considering and adopting the principles of behaviour change, this program will empower participating centres to achieve long term results in regards to sustainable waste generation and disposal behaviours. This approach will result in a reduction in waste generation, encourage centres to avoid and minimise disposal of general waste to landfill, and promote reducing, reusing, and recycling.
This program will provide support to centres to assist them in meeting or exceeding their sustainability accreditation requirements as outlined in the National Quality Standards. The Waste Smart Kindy Program is available to all Early Learning Centres, Childcare Centres and Kindergartens within the Logan region.
If you would like more information on Logan’s Waste Smart Kindy Program, please email our team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kids in Action on the Sunshine Coast
- Sunshine Coast Council
Since 2006, Sunshine Coast Council have held the Kids in Action Program on the Sunshine Coast. Kids in Action (KIA) is an environmental education program aimed at increasing environmental literacy and inspiring environmental stewardship. Sunshine Coast Council has engaged EnviroCom Australia to deliver the Kids in Action Program since 2017.
In 2018 the Kids in Action theme ‘Changing Climates – Changing Lives’ focused on the implications of climate change both locally and across the globe. The theme asks students to consider how humans and other species are adapting to climate-related changes and what the opportunities are to build resilience and inspire positive change.
The 2018 program saw 277 students from 23 different schools, 110 adults and 27 community groups participate throughout the year. The first event of the program was the KIA Environmental Projects Day, held at Point Cartwright Reserve in April. The day involved 8 interactive environmental activities designed to inspire the students to think creatively about how they could approach the KIA theme and connect the students with local mentors to assist on their journey.
With the assistance of the KIA team and local mentors, schools busily began creating and developing their workshop, main stage presentation or interactive display to share with other schools at the Kids Teaching Kids Conference in September. The conference saw 16 workshops, 6 main stage presentations and 7 interactive displays including topics such as ‘Love Your Food!’, ‘Be Fashion Conscious!’, ‘Trees have feelings too!’ and ‘#EarthRights’. Main stage presentations were delivered from 6 schools and involved ‘The Clean Water Rap’, ‘Consequences’ and ‘Re-bag! Changing Bags, Changing Lives’. Kids in Action 2018 successfully wrapped up in October with the KIA Roadshow event where 4 schools set up their interactive displays for 4 days at Kawana Shopping World to engage the broader community.
The KIA Program is highly successful, but don’t just take our word for it, checkout the videos on Council’s website to see what the students and other participants thought about their experience with the Kids in Action Program.
Food Scraps Recycling Information Events
- City of Sydney
The City of Sydney implemented a Food Scraps Recycling Trial in 2019 as one of many initiatives designed to work towards reaching the target of ‘Zero Waste by 2030’, the long term goal of Council’s ‘Leave Nothing to Waste’ strategy. The Trial aims to reduce residential waste to landfill by providing residents in multi-unit (MUDs) and single-unit (SUDs) dwellings with an easy-to-use food scraps collection service. Registered participants were to be provided with a benchtop kitchen caddy and a supply of compostable caddy liners to assist with easily collecting food scraps in the home. A total of 53 MUDs and 330 SUDs were to be included in the Trial, which will run for 12 months from the 1st July 2019.
EnviroCom was engaged by Council to host ‘information stall’ pop-up events in a sample (20) of the participating MUDs ahead of the rollout of the Trial. The information stalls aimed to provide residents with a face-to-face opportunity to receive clarification around the purpose and logistics of the Trial (including the environmental benefits of food scraps recycling); to answer resident questions; and to encourage residents to register for the trial if they hadn’t previously done so.
Over 500 people were actively engaged across two full weekends of pop-ups and almost 90 new households signed up to the Trial. The vast majority of residents engaged demonstrated a high level of enthusiasm and support for the service and were particularly excited to hear that the food scraps would be used to create renewable energy, in addition to being converted into a high quality compost.
Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) Behaviour Change Implementation Plan
- Moyne Shire Council
Moyne Shire Council, in partnership with Corangamite and Southern Grampians Shire Councils (the Councils) and supported by the Barwon South West Waste and Resource Recovery Group (BSWWRRG), wished to develop a business case for the improvement of food diversion from landfills in the region. The primary mechanism for the reduction of food to landfill provided by the Councils is a food organics and garden organics (FOGO) kerbside collection service.
Historical composition analysis and observations from the Councils indicated that the FOGO kerbside collection service was primarily being used for disposal of green waste materials while a majority of food waste materials continued to be presented to the red-lidded general waste bin.
To assist in addressing the relative underperformance of the FOGO kerbside collection, the Councils commissioned EnviroCom to undertake a project to consider the opportunities for a behaviour change approach to community education. The project adopted the principles of behaviour change and Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) in the development and delivery of a multiphase project that was delivered between May 2018 to June 2019 and comprised three phases:
- Phase 1: Research Phase- undertaking regionally specific research (May – August 2018)
- Phase 2: Intervention Phase- considering, developing and trialling educational interventions to achieve changed behaviours (September 2018 – March 2019)
- Phase 3: Review and recommendation phase measuring and assessing the changed behaviours and developing a Behaviour Change Implementation Plan (BCIP) (April – June 2019)
The overarching objective for the BCIP was: ‘To eliminate the presentation of food waste materials to the residual waste stream’ and was supported by six critical and interconnected behaviour change drivers as identified during Phases 1 & 2 of the project.
The BCIP included a detailed and strategic 3-5 year action plan. The deliverables presented in the action plan framework centred on a range of community engagement approaches and tools designed to address the behaviour change drivers and meet the needs of the target audience. The action plan also included KPIs and a robust evaluation, monitoring and assessment system. The BCIP was supported by a business case for expanding and sustaining changed FOGO behaviours in the target communities.
‘Whittlesea Waste Busters’ Community Education program
- City of Whittlesea
The City of Whittlesea (Council) sought to address rising contamination levels in kerbside recycling bin and, in doing so, test an innovative intervention approach. Council engaged EnviroCom to assist in the development and delivery of a targeted education and engagement program that aimed to:
- Equip Whittlesea households with information and tools on how they can reduce their household waste and improve their recycling
- Measure the success of undertaking a targeted education and engagement program on behaviour change.
The ‘Whittlesea Waste Busters’ program involved participation by ten volunteer Whittlesea households in a targeted community engagement and education program. The program included pre and post program household waste audits; two community workshops; a four week ‘waste challenge’ and the provision of a waste minimisation ‘starter kit’ to each participating household.
The pre and post program audits were used as both an evaluation tool and an opportunity to directly engage residents on their waste and recycling behaviours. EnviroCom conducted each audit at participant’s houses, either on their front lawn or driveway. Wherever possible, the audits took place when a resident was at home, to allow participants to observe the audit process, ‘face’ their household waste and learn from observations through first hand engagement with EnviroCom consultants. Following the audits, each household was provided with an individual report, which discussed their waste and recycling generation behaviours, the composition of each waste stream and identified opportunities for improvement.
Audit results were presented at the workshops, so participants could gain a further understanding of how their household was performing in relation to others. The workshops provided an opportunity to discuss the results of each audit round in detail, identifying successes and opportunities for improvement, and allowing participants to ask questions.
A self-evaluation activity was also used at both workshops. Participants were asked to evaluate their knowledge and understanding of waste and recycling following their participation in the ‘Waste Busters’ program. The self-evaluation activity showed that residents had improved their knowledge and understanding of how to reduce waste at home and how to improve their household’s recycling. All participants indicated that they enjoyed the program and would recommend it to others.
As a collective, participating families significantly reduced their generation of both garbage and recyclable material between the two audit rounds. Garbage generation decreased by 70.85kg and recycling generation decreased by 25.72kg demonstrating that targeted community engagement at the household level can have a positive influence on waste generation and recycling behaviours.