Research

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.

ACT Green Waste Service Behaviour Change Study

After a pilot program beginning in 2017, the ACT Green Waste Service became available to all eligible Canberra residents in April 2019. EnviroCom designed and delivered an education and marketing plan to assist in the smooth introduction of the service. A key outcome of the plan was to minimise contamination in the new Green Waste Service. Since the outset of the service, the education plan has been successful at achieving this, with the contamination rate remaining below 0.5%.

Since the introduction of the service, EnviroCom maintained a number of datasets containing information on contamination, interview responses, and demographic data. To be able to maintain low contamination rates, EnviroCom undertook a behaviour change study and analysed this data to identify trends and patterns in behaviour, and the underlying internal (inside the home) and external (outside of the home) influences.

Potential barriers that may prevent individuals from utilising the green waste service effectively were identified as opportunity (factors beyond the individual which provide the means to carry out the behaviour), social norms (being influenced by what others are doing), capability (ability to undertake the behaviour), and emotions (actual or anticipated feelings in response to performing a behaviour).

Utilising the findings from the behaviour change study, EnviroCom’s team of consultants continues to evolve and improve the education and marketing plan, delivering strategic education messages to target audiences with the aim of maintaining, and further reducing, contamination incidences.

EnviroCom complete another successful year of the Beach Clean Up Program with Sunshine Coast Council

CU4TH SCC Team (Medium)For the fourth year running, EnviroCom have been engaged by Sunshine Coast Council to assist in the development and delivery of the Sunshine Coast Beach Clean Up Program. The program aims to support and enhance the community’s engagement with monitoring and maintaining the local environment to minimise the impacts of marine debris.

Last year, the Beach Clean Up Program assisted more than 2,400 participants in collecting 117,627 pieces of litter across 83 locations on the Sunshine Coast. EnviroCom was involved in coordinating three major regional events including Clean Up Australia Day, Clean Up for the Hatchlings and Schools Beach Clean Up, as well as smaller beach clean up events throughout the year.

Thanks to the dedicated community on the Sunshine Coast, the Beach Clean Up Program is continuing to grow and develop. Through training and engagement, the program provides the community with the skills to create behaviour change, with the key message that every small action contributes to great change.

The data collected from the Beach Clean Up Program is utilised locally, but is also added to the Tangaroa Blue Australian Marine Debris Initiative database. This data is analysed to allow for strategic implementation of source reduction projects, which aim to stop the waste material becoming litter in the first place.

EnviroCom has been engaged to deliver the Beach Clean Up Program for another three years. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Sunshine Coast Council and the community to protect the local environment.

Hawkesbury City Council Recycling Bin Inspection Program

EnviroCom have been undertaking bin inspection programs (BIPs) on behalf of Hawkesbury City Council in Sydney since 2017.  The BIPs aim to assess current recycling bin use and educate residents in Single-Unit Dwellings (SUDs) within target areas in the Hawkesbury Local Government Area.

In 2019, recycling bins from SUDs in seven inspection areas were each inspected twice within a fortnightly period between February and April. 150 recycling bins were inspected each day and observed contamination in each bin was recorded in accordance with a contamination rating scale. EnviroCom also developed and designed the supporting collateral for the BIP.  During the inspections, bins with no visible contamination (or one minor contaminant) received a ‘Thank You’ bin tag.  Bins that presented more than one contaminant received a ‘Please Recycle Correctly’ bin tag outlining the contaminant materials identified.  Each tag provided direct feedback and education to residents about the contents of their recycling bin and encouraged residents to adopt correct waste disposal practices.  In addition, inspected households received a double sided information flyer outlining the program and the focus on education.  Further, a ‘No Plastic Bags or Soft Plastics’ sticker was placed on each recycling bin as a long standing reminder to residents to avoid placing these items in their bin.

The combined results of all initial inspections and repeat inspections conducted during the 2017, 2018 and 2019 BIP showed an increase in the number of bins being awarded a Rating Zero during the repeat inspections.  This suggests that each Hawkesbury BIP is having a noticeable positive effect on recycling behaviours throughout the LGA through the delivery of specific and targeted education at the household level.

Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) Behaviour Change Implementation Plan

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.

Improving Waste Management at Bronte Park / Beach

Waverley Council (Council) had identified a number of issues relating to current waste management servicing protocol within Bronte Park / Beach, described in the Bronte Park and Beach Plan of Management.

EnviroCom Australia (EnviroCom) was engaged by Council to develop a Waste Management Plan (WMP) and a 5-year Improvement Plan to guide on-the-ground sustainable waste management for the Bronte Park / Beach areas. The development of the two documents was to be informed by a combination of site assessments, consultation and desktop research to inform a robust evidence-based WMP.

The resulting document provided best practice recommendations around three key areas of waste management operation, being: community behaviour / engagement (user behaviours around presentation points); material handling (movement of waste and litter by staff); and onsite storage and waste collection.

The 5-year Improvement Plan mapped out deliverables in the short term (year 0-1), medium (years 2-3) and longer term (years 4-5), stepped out to create a staged approach to upgrading waste management infrastructure and supporting signage.

A third document was provided to Council which collated the research findings relating to behaviour change through carefully considered infrastructure, signage and message; bin configuration, size and type; and litter minimisation measures.

Review of Food Waste Processing Options for Sunshine Coast Council Facilities

Client:
Sunshine Coast Council
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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.

Sunshine Coast Council Office and Depot Reassessment Waste Audit

Client:
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

Client:
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. 

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.