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
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.
ACT green waste service going from strength to strength
In April 2017, the ACT Government launched a brand new green waste service for the areas of Weston Creek and Kambah. Due to the initial success of the service the area of Tuggeranong was added into the service area in January 2018. The service operated on an opt-in basis where residents pay a one off $50 cost recovery fee. The uptake of the service was tremendously popular with 63% of residents opting-in for a green waste bin since the service commenced. EnviroCom has been responsible for marketing the new service and providing education to residents about how to use their new bin. To date, nearly 16,000 bins have been inspected by EnviroCom staff over the past two years with 92.5% of the bins being free of contamination. From April 2017 – April 2019 the service collected 8543 tonnes of green waste, which also includes the addition of the Belconnen area to the service in September 2018.
As of 1st April 2019, the green waste service is now available across all of the ACT. The service remains optional with the one off $50 fee. EnviroCom will provide three full time staff moving forward to ensure the ongoing success of this green waste service by continuing bin inspections, running facility tours, staffing pop up displays and designing education materials. Targeted community education and engagement will assist ACT residents to use their green waste bin correctly helping to divert a valuable resource away from landfill. The collected garden waste will be turned into mulch products which can be purchased by residents at a discounted rate.
EnviroCom Australia at the NSW Premier’s Awards
- Orange City Council
Staff from EnviroCom NSW attended the 2018 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Public Service, having been nominated for their collaborative work with Orange City Council in the “Keeping Our Environment Clean” category.
The Orange City Council Waste Diversion Education Strategy 2016-2021 was recognised for its holistic and long-term approach to maximising waste diversion and supporting sustainable waste and resource behaviours through education and engagement. The Strategy aims to assist the Orange LGA to meet or exceed several of the targets set in the NSW EPA’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-21, including increasing the waste diverted from landfill to 75%.
The awards night was held at Sydney Town Hall on November 7th 2018 and was attended by EnviroCom’s Regional Manager, Donald Munro and Orange-based consultant Chris Dart, alongside Wayne Davis from Orange City Council. The Strategy was initially developed by EnviroCom General Manager Paula Harrison and overseen by Rachel McIntyre. While the team were not the overall winners of the Premier’s Awards on the night, the nomination was acknowledgement of the team’s strategic approach to achieving long term waste diversion in the Orange City Council region.
‘Train the Trainer’ Composting and Worm Farming Workshop
- Southern Downs Regional Council
EnviroCom delivers the annual Waste Education Strategy on behalf of Southern Downs Regional Council and has been facilitating free community workshops on behalf of Council for several years.
The ‘Train the Trainer’ Composting and Worm Farming Workshop was specifically tailored to people that had previously participated in a Council run community composting and worm farming workshop, who are actively composting and/or worm farming, and who are passionate about its environmental benefits. The workshop, facilitated by a professional environmental educator from EnviroCom, provided participants with all the skills, knowledge and resources to be able to independently deliver composting and/ or worm farming information sessions to friends, family and other residents within the local area, through existing networks, community groups and beyond.
By educating and upskilling engaged members of local communities, the ‘Train the Trainer’ style workshops aim to tap into the knowledge and skills of these local ‘environmental champions’ to help spread key sustainability messages to a broader section of the community.
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.
Rethinking Waste at Home – Community Workshop
Client: Logan City Council
EnviroCom has been involved in the planning and delivery of community education and engagement programs on behalf of Logan City Council for over a decade. Every year, EnviroCom facilitates a series of popular weekend workshops that offer participants the skills and knowledge to reduce waste through home composting, worm farming or correct recycling.
In early 2014, EnviroCom designed and trialled a new workshop with the aim of challenging the way people view waste generation throughout their homes. The ‘Rethinking Waste at Home’ workshop highlights the common, but often subconscious, waste generation habits that result from every day events such as grocery shopping, gardening, food preparation and social situations. With reference to the steps of the waste hierarchy; avoidance, reduction, and reuse; participants are encouraged to identify potentially wasteful behaviours and explore the possible alternatives that are readily available.
The Rethinking Waste at Home Workshop encourages participants to make simple, but conscious decisions everyday that can significantly reduce a household’s waste footprint.
WasteLess Household Challenge
- Maroondah City Council, Environment & Sustainability Dept.
EnviroCom, in collaboration with Maroondah City Council and Transition Towns Maroondah developed an innovative community waste reduction workshop series pilot program called WasteLess Household Challenge.
The program involved EnviroCom co-facilitating a series of three workshops and developing educational materials which focused on reducing waste and recycling right. Participants completed a home waste audit at the beginning of the program and were able to use this information to set personal targets for waste reduction. The workshops gave participants an opportunity to analyse audit data, ask questions, learn about what happens to hard waste, comingled recycling and landfill waste in Maroondah, and explore ways to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle their household waste. After a month participants then re-audited their household waste and were able to discuss the processes used to achieve waste reduction targets. The program was highly successful with all households achieving their waste reduction targets.
Zero Waste Challenge
- Moreland City Council
During the month of June 2012, EnviroCom and the Moreland City Council collaborated to deliver The Zero Waste for a Week Challenge, as part of the Polytrade Waste Education Strategy.
92 households from the Moreland area participated, accepting the zero waste challenge to for one week by using only compost and recycling bins as means of waste disposal. If successful, a participant would have no need to put their rubbish bin out for the designated week. To help with the challenge, the first 50 residents to register received a free compost bin and all participants received a waste wise kit. Council also offered MRF tours and composting workshops to Zero Waste participants and members of the community.
While the number of participants was down from the previous year (150 participants), those involved were enthusiastic to succeed in their challenge. 57 participants completed the evaluation survey, indicating an outreach total of 142 when all household members were included. All respondents stated that they had managed to reduce their rubbish during the Challenge and the large majority (92.6%) of respondents declared that they would continue with changes such as using a compost bin/worm farm, choosing items with less or recyclable packaging and using their own shopping bags.
EnviroCom and Moreland City Council are looking forward to the challenge in 2013 which will target residents currently less inclined to think waste-wise, and have a greater focus on overall consumption and consumer habits to hopefully achieve even greater waste reduction!