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!
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.
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.
‘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.
Western Downs Regional Council Early Learning Years Outreach and Professional Development Workshop
Client: Western Downs Regional Council
In February 2015, EnviroCom Australia coordinated and delivered the second round of Early Learning Years Waste Education presentations on behalf of Western Downs Regional Council. Twelve of the region’s Early Learning Centres (ELCs) engaged in the free waste education program covering presentations on waste and recycling, composting and worm farming, and litter. These presentations supported the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia as well as assisting centres in meeting and/or exceeding aspects of their National Quality Standards. Feedback received from centre staff who participated in the program indicated that the children and staff now have more motivation and knowledge to reduce waste and recycle correctly.
In addition to the presentations, EnviroCom staff also facilitated, for the first time, a Professional Development Sustainability Workshop for Early Years Educators. 24 staff members attended the evening workshop. The workshop provided the participants with education and training to encourage waste management and minimisation practices within their centres. All Centres that attended the PD workshop were provided with a free copy of EnviroCom’s Early Years Learning Resource Kit. The Early Years Learning Resource Kit provides ELCs with separate, but integrated, education tools and resources allowing them to independently identify opportunities to minimise waste as part of centre operations, while at the same time delivering complementary, engaging and relevant education to the children in their care. Feedback received from the workshop participants suggested the PD workshop was very informative and the Early Years Learning Resource Kit provided staff with the tools and ideas to improve their current waste management practices.
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.
Early Learning Years Environmental Education Resource Kit
To complement the release of The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, ‘Belonging, Being and Becoming’, EnviroCom has developed an Early Learning Years Environmental Education Resource Kit. This kit primarily addresses waste management and provides Early Learning Centres and Kindergartens with the means to independently assess and improve their current waste management practices through provision of a waste calculator tool.
The kit also incudes resources for children, including two interactive picture story books: ‘Tom, Sam and Kate Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ and ‘Tom, Sam and Kate’s Backyard Adventure’. The books include complementary follow-on activities, as well as extension activities for facilitation by group leaders encouraging open-ended play experiences and opportunities for intentional teaching. The kit also includes reinforcing tools such as posters.
To assist uptake of the Kit, EnviroCom’s trained facilitators can run PD sessions for Centre staff to train them in how to effectively use the Kit and get the most out of it. Contact EnviroCom today to find out more!
Council Internal Waste Training Workshop
Client: Sunshine Coast Council
EnviroCom, in partnership with Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment and Sustainability Department, developed and delivered a series of training workshops for staff across the organisation. The main objective of this project was to engage and train a Waste Champion from each department or branch, through a ‘train the trainer’ style workshop. The workshop was designed to cover both a broad range of issues related to waste generation and disposal as well as an understanding of barriers to and motivators for behavioural change. Feedback indicated that the workshop provided a great balance of information and skills-based learning, which translated into action as participants felt confident to train their teams in how to engage with Council’s internal waste management system and other waste minimisation techniques. A second series of workshops is planned for later in the year, with Waste Champions to monitor progress at follow-up meetings.