Education Strategy

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.

Holding an event? Want to avoid garbage, maximise recycling and reduce litter?

EnviroCom recently produced a tailored Waste Management Plan (WMP) for a Melbourne Metropolitan Council outdoor event.  Although experienced in developing WMPs for schools, offices and property developments, taking this knowledge into the event arena was a new challenge.

To ensure the best possible outcomes, the WMP drew from years of practical experience at similar events (where EnviroCom regularly provides bin monitoring, vendor audits and public engagement and education); as well as researching best practice in Victoria and interstate.

The WMP covered a number of key areas to assist in addressing Council’s waste goals for the event – which were:

–          Minimise waste left behind

–          Maximise recycling / minimum contamination

–          Minimise littering

The WMP covered strategic waste management planning, including contractor and stallholder engagement, bin placement, messaging and signage.   The plan encompassed the three stages of the event cycle, with EnviroCom assisting Council at all stages of the event from initial planning and preparation, through vendor engagement, during the event and immediately after.  All outcomes of the plan were reported to Council including potential improvements for future events.

EnviroCom can review your upcoming Council event and deliver a tailored WMP to suit the specific event and waste minimisation goals.

Waste Management in Multi Unit Developments

Client: Maroondah City Council

A project instigated by one of EnviroCom’s Senior Consultants in Melbourne, with the aim of reducing illegal rubbish dumping, reducing contamination of recycling material and reducing waste sent to landfill, has had extremely encouraging early results. The project received funding from the Metropolitan Waste Management Group’s Metropolitan Local Government Resource and Recovery Fund.

Four different approaches were trialled, to educate residents of multi unit developments (MUDs) in how to dispose of their rubbish and recycling items. The cheapest option (installing under-the-lid recycling stickers) proved to be the second most effective in improving the contamination rate, whilst the most expensive option (door knocking residents) was the most effective in all categories. This option, while costing just over $13 per unit, was less than twice the cost of the next most expensive option (bin corral signage), which had a negligible or negative effect on contamination rates, resource loss and illegal dumping. The second cheapest option (mail-out of information to residents) resulted in the second highest improvement in illegal dumping.

Face to face contact is clearly the most effective way to educate residents in how to dispose of their rubbish, and the long term cost benefits outweigh the initial outlay. Contamination of recycled material was reduced from 16.5% to 2.5% while illegal dumping was reduced from 2 cubic metres per week to one third of a cubic metre per week for the whole development– a result which is certainly worth replicating on a wider scale.

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.

Guidelines for Public Place Recycling (PPR) in Shopping Precincts and Public Places

Australian Packaging Covenant (APC)
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Guidelines for PPR in shopping precincts and public places

Guidelines for PPR in shopping precincts and public places

Following the success of the ‘Closing the Loop on the Mordialloc Shopping Strip’ project, the Australian Packaging Covenant further commissioned EnviroCom to produce comprehensive Guidelines for Public Place Recycling (PPR) in Shopping Precincts and Public Places.

The guidelines assist local government in introducing PPR systems, with detailed instructions under four easy steps:

Step 1. Review the current system

(e.g. Establish the project area; Review the waste collection contract)

Step 2. Design a new system

(e.g. Set up a project plan; Set targets and objectives; Bin design)

Step 3. Implement the new system

(e.g. Set up a communications plan; Promote the new infrastructure)

Step 4. Monitor and maintain the new system

(e.g. Review the new system; Maintenance and reporting)

Each step has its own ‘checklist’ to guide the user through a PPR implementation project, and there are helpful examples of project plans and maps, risk matrix, effective bin signage, communications plan, media releases, posters and evaluation surveys.

The Guidelines are available for download from the APC website:

Zero Waste Challenge

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!

Implementing a Public Place Recycling (PPR) System at Mordialloc (“Closing the Loop on the Mordialloc Shopping Strip”)

Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) & Kingston City Council
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Shop Window Poster

Shop Window Poster

The Mordialloc shopping strip is a popular destination for local residents in the City of Kingston and a great site to role out Public Place Recycling (PPR). In 2012, EnviroCom assisted Kingston City Council, in gaining funding from the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC), to implement a PPR in Mordialloc. Local retailers also wrote letters of support. Prior to installation of PPR, half of the garbage stream by mass and over 90% by volume was recyclable materials It was estimated that 36 tonnes per annum were being lost to landfill.
EnviroCom implemented the Project in three stages:

Pre audit of the 19 garbage bins along the Mordialloc shopping strip, followed by installation of the new infrastructure.

Audit phase – Composition audit of the materials being presented to the PPR bins (11 pairs recycling and garbage bins in cages).

Education phase – ‘Community & Trader Education Day’, held on a weekend to engage with shoppers and retailers.

Sustainable behaviour change principles were implemented in the communication and education to reinforce the recycling away-from-home message. Articles were published in the local newspaper, and furthermore, social media (Facebook and Twitter) was utilised to engage Mordialloc shoppers and local residents. Promotional recycling posters were also provided to retailers who committed to spreading the recycling message to customers.

Final report is available on the APC website . It includes, a Toolkit with an easy “how-to” guide for similar projects in shopping strips. The Toolkit includes a ‘PPR project checklist’ and examples of media releases, posters and education day surveys.
EnviroCom received positive feedback from the Australian Packaging Covenant “The final report for “Closing the Loop on Mordialloc Shopping Strip” […] is an excellent report and will serve as a practical guide for other Councils that wish to improve their PPR.”

Photo - posters in window

Think Food – Rethink Waste

Every year, Australian households throw away over 4 million tonnes of food, equivalent to 178 kg per person.  Food waste impacts greatly on the environment in a number of different ways and the increasing levels of food waste currently being generated are not sustainable.

EnviroCom, on behalf of Logan City Council, have developed an education program entitled Think Food – Rethink Waste.  This program is one element of Logan City Council’s popular Watch Out Waste education program.  Think Food – Rethink Waste is designed to change people’s attitude towards food waste by educating students, teachers and the community about the social, economic and environmental impacts of food waste and the simple steps every individual can take to reduce this impact.

The program targets schools and community groups through an interactive, facilitator-led workshop and accompanying PowerPoint presentation.  EnviroCom have also produced a series of complementary resources: a Think Food -Rethink Waste Teachers’ Resource booklet and a Think Food – Rethink Waste factsheet.

The Think Food – Rethink Waste factsheet is available for download from Logan City Council’s website.

Southern Downs Regional Council School Outreach Program 2012

Southern Downs Regional Council
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EnviroCom was responsible for the co-ordination and delivery of Southern Downs Regional Council’s School Outreach Program 2012.  The School Outreach is a targeted Waste Education Program focused on engaging and educating school students and teachers and promoting more sustainable practices throughout the region’s schools. This year the program was conducted over one week from the 4th– 8th June, in order to coincide with World Environment Day.

EnviroCom was responsible for co-ordinating all aspects of the program, from the development and implementation of education resources and promotional materials through to managing bookings and liaising with school administration bodies.  The face-to-face element of the program involved the delivery of in-class presentations, on a variety of waste related themes, undertaken by EnviroCom educators.

2010 Waste Education Strategy

Redland City Council
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Redland City Council engaged EnviroCom to develop a waste education strategy for integration with their regional waste management plan.  Founded on Council’s priorities for waste diversion and avoidance, the strategy incorporated initiatives to target identified audience sectors, including mechanisms for community feedback, and included robust evaluation tools linked to a series of KPI’s.

The strategy was underpinned by significant background information and research, including industry workshops, community surveys, industry observations, waste practice assessments and client and community liaison.