Community 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.

Multi-Unit Dwelling Contamination Management Strategy

CaptureEnviroCom was commissioned by The Hills Shire Council to develop a Multi-Unit Dwelling Contamination Management Strategy to improve the quality of materials placed into bins by the residents of multi-unit dwellings.

The aim of the MUD Contamination Management Strategy was to identify key tools, tactics and processes that could be utilised by Council and its collection contractor, to provide reinforcement and support for multi-unit dwellings that ‘do the right thing’ and participate proactively in source separation, and also include identification, investigation and intervention in complexes that are not complying.

EnviroCom adopted a multi-phase approach in the development of the MUD Contamination Management Strategy, based on knowledge and application of behaviour change frameworks and the principles of Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM).

Phase 1: Undertake research to establish baseline data and build user profile of knowledge and waste disposal behaviours via door knocking and online resident survey, MUD complex site assessment and bin inspection program.

Phase 2: Identify behaviour change barriers and motivators through development of a critical criteria ranking tool.

Phase 3: Strategic implementation of educational interventions e.g. signage, stickers, workshops, letters, infrastructure changes etc. and creation of an education intervention action plan.

Phase 4: Assessment and evaluation to monitor and assess the impact of the educational interventions on influencing user behaviours and identifying further opportunities for education and engagement.

The MUD Contamination Management Strategy was supported by the development of online questionnaires for key stakeholders (MUDs residents and Strata Managers) and site inspection materials for use by Council’s waste inspector.  EnviroCom also developed and designed supporting collateral including bin hangers for use during bin inspections, bin stickers, and targeted waste education postcards for distribution to residents.

‘Grin on Your Bin’ Inspection Program for Logan City Council

Bin tagThe ‘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!

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.

2019 Clean Up Australia Day breaks records on the Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast community turned out in record numbers to support Clean Up Australia Day events across the region.

For more than a decade, EnviroCom has proudly coordinated Clean Up Australia Day events for the Sunshine Coast Council and this year was the biggest one ever. The Sunshine Coast had a 10% increase from last year’s volunteer numbers, with 1630 registered volunteers across more than 100 sites.

Over the years, EnviroCom has assisted Council to utilise Clean Up Australia Day to not only raise awareness of littering and its impacts, but to also instil pride in the community to protect their local environment. Community engagement with the event has grown and broadened both geographically and socially. Sites are now located across the entire region, from the beaches to the hinterland and involve early learning centres, schools, businesses and community groups. Many areas of the community work together and support each other for greater outcomes. Schools have been encouraged to register sites outside their school grounds and to engage with community mentors to help develop the citizen scientists of the future. This investment in the community has developed an increasingly engaged community on the Sunshine Coast and now every day, every walk, every pedal and every paddle is a little Clean Up Sunshine Coast Day.

Hawkesbury Show Public Place Recycling Program 23/4/2016

EnviroCom Australia, in conjunction with the Hawkesbury District Agriculture Association and Hawkesbury City Council, designed and delivered a public place recycling program for the 2016 Hawkesbury Show, one of the largest rural shows in NSW.

The program was developed to improve waste outcomes at the show, with a particular focus on reducing recycling contamination rates. Prior to the event, EnviroCom liaised with vendors and show organisers to provide strategic recommendations on waste management logistics for show. During the event, a range of initiatives were implemented to better understand public waste disposal behaviours at the show and to educate visitors on best waste disposal practices. ‘Recycling Rovers’ conducted visual bin audits to determine common contaminants and contamination ‘hot spots’. The Rovers engaged with visitors to the Show, assisting them to use the correct bins and providing instant win prizes for patron seen to be recycling right. . Other public education activities such as recycling trivia were conducted at the Council tent.

The program provided Council with valuable data into patron and vendor behaviours and recommendations to further improve waste management practices at future events through improved logistical planning and further public engagement strategies.

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.

­­­­­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.