Waste Minimisation

Early Learning Water Education Program

In late 2020, Bathurst Regional Council released its innovative Early Learning Water Education program via the Bathurst Council website. The water education program is a comprehensive, free and highly engaging online resource that aligns with NSW Education Standards Authority’s Early Learning Framework and aims to educate young children in the pre-kindy age group (ages 3.5-5yrs) on water conservation and water use in their regional setting.

EnviroCom assisted Council by developing the educational content for the five learning modules and developed and facilitated the supporting webinar. The purpose of the webinar was to provide early years educators in Bathurst with an opportunity to engage in a guided introduction to the education program’s content. This included instructions on how to navigate the dedicated web portal to discover the five learning modules and an introduction to the numerous fun activities, support resources, live theatre videos and other support materials.

EnviroCom talks food waste avoidance ahead of high waste season in Liverpool

EnviroCom was engaged by Liverpool City Council to deliver educational pop-up displays (PUDs) in two shopping centres in the Liverpool Local Government Area (LGA) in the lead up to what is traditionally the most wasteful time of the year- Christmas and the holiday season!  The aim was to provide information, guidance and education regarding strategies to reduce food waste, with particular emphasis on how quickly the costs can accumulate for local families. 

A range of topics were covered during the various interactions, with attention drawn to the NSW EPA’s Food Smart Program.  During conversations with residents, particular emphasis was placed on  important food waste minimisation strategies such as meal planning and shopping with a list; buying, portioning and preparing the right amounts; correct storage of food/ leftovers in the fridge, freezer or pantry to maximise food shelf life; easy and tasty dishes that can be made with leftovers; and shopping seasonally.  Residents were also invited to share their food waste minimisation tips as part of a competition, for their chance to win a $150 Woolworths gift card.  Composting was promoted as a preferred method of disposing of many types of food wastes, with residents encouraged to take advantage of Council’s Compost and Worm Farming Rebate Program.

An EnviroCom environmental consultant was present for one week at both Miller Central Shopping Centre and Carnes Hill Marketplace, engaging with approximately 1000 residents across the fortnight.  Through direct engagement and the provision of printed resources and materials, many residents demonstrated a keenness to improve their behaviours around meal planning, storage and leftovers management to reduce food waste and save money for the family.

Social Media Provides Effective Waste Education

To effectively engage the community in correct and safe waste management practices during COVID-19, EnviroCom developed a social media package for Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC). The package included four social media tiles accompanied by captions, and a frequently asked questions document to assist customer service staff with waste related enquiries. The four social media posts were developed to target specific kerbside waste generation and disposal behaviours such as recycling contamination, resource loss and disposal of hazardous materials as identified in the kerbside waste audit that EnviroCom previously conducted for MBRC. These social media posts were well received with a total of 235 likes, 91 comments and 72 shares.

EnviroCom also developed a short animated video for MBRC to provide recycling tips during National Recycling Week. The video received over 1,500 views, 5 comments, 8 shares and 25 likes on Facebook. The video is now available via the MBRC website and will be used as an ongoing tool to engage the Moreton Bay community in best practice waste behaviours. Check out the video below!

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.

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 recognised in Inside Waste’s annual Consultants Review

EnviroCom has ranked in Inside Waste’s annual Consultants Review in the ‘Education, training, community consultation’ and ‘Waste auditing’ categories.

Each year, Inside Waste conducts the Consultants Review, a survey with its members to rank consulting firms within the waste industry. EnviroCom ranked third in Australia for both the ‘Education, training, community consultation’ and ‘Waste auditing’ categories, demonstrating EnviroCom’s commitment to delivering high quality outcomes to our clients. You can find more information on the services EnviroCom delivers here.

Ophir Road Resource Recovery Centre’s Virtual Tour

OCC Logo without NetWasteThe video also takes a closer look at Orange’s 3-bin kerbside system, as provided to residents by Council.  The footage shows the journey of each waste stream and provides an insight into what happens to waste materials beyond the kerbside.

By using the Council-provided bins and the ORRRC, Orange residents can greatly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. Orange City Council is also one of a growing number of Councils that accepts food and garden waste in the green-lidded bin, which is then turned into, Australian standard compost through a state-of-the-art organics composting facility.

The ORRRC Virtual Tour video can be viewed on the Orange City Council website, along with information about upcoming Waste Facility Tours run by EnviroCom Australia, for residents who are interested in attending a free guided tour of Orange’s waste facilities.

An article in the local  Central Western Daily newspaper in February 2020 helped to further promote Orange City Council’s waste education program and waste facility tours.

Ophir Rd RRC crop for website

EnviroCom heads to Mackay for biannual waste audit

EnviroCom has conducted the first of the 2020 biannual waste characterisation assessments for Mackay Regional Council.

In February 2020, a team of environmental consultants travelled to Mackay for a week-long comprehensive assessment of the region’s waste. This assessment has been conducted by EnviroCom for the last nine years, allowing for an analysis of the region’s current waste composition results and comparison with historical data.. The data is used by Mackay Regional Council to assess trends and make informed decisions on changes and improvements to waste management services.  This gives Council the opportunity to work towards setting realistic waste related targets and goals whilst continuing to address the evolving waste management needs and expectations of the local community. EnviroCom will be returning to Mackay later in the year to undertake further waste characterisation assessments.

Eliminating Business Waste with Nile Street Café

Nile Street Café in Orange, NSW is a fantastic example of how sustained effort and buy-in from the owners and staff can achieve sustainable outcomes. Through a business engagement program developed by EnviroCom on behalf of Orange City Council, Nile Street Café has reviewed its waste management practices and is achieving some great results.

Owner Frank Mohun advises not to become overwhelmed. “We started off by making a couple of really small changes that quickly became habits, and we were able to move onto the next thing. Eventually, this all adds up to make a big difference.”

“We’re always looking for lower waste alternatives in our business, whether that be by changing our practices or using more sustainable products. We have switched to using paper straws and paper packaging for our takeaways.”

The Café participates in the Responsible Cafes program, offering a discount to customers who bring reusable cups, and staff collect eligible containers to refund through the Return & Earn scheme.  The Café negotiated with their suppliers to return packaging for reuse – used milk bottles, ice-cream tubs and vinegar drums are returned to be cleaned and refilled. Boxes from fruit and vegetable deliveries are picked up with the next delivery. This way, valuable resources stay in use for longer.

Utilising the Council-provided Recycling and Food Organic Garden Organic (FOGO) bins effectively is really important.  “As a café, food makes up a significant part of our waste. Not everything can go into our compost bin so using the FOGO bin properly means we send significantly less waste to landfill.”

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Cafe garden growing produce for kitchen, using their own compost.

 

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Oil tin collection for recycling.

Working with the community to keep organics out of landfill.

A recent community composting and worm farming workshop in Beenleigh is helping residents divert waste from landfill through organics recycling.

As part of Logan City Council’s ‘Watch Out Waste’ Education Program, EnviroCom recently held a community composting and worm farming workshop at a new community garden in Beenleigh. During the two hour workshop, attendees were provided with the information required to set up, maintain, and troubleshoot compost and worm farm systems. Participants were also introduced to the idea of waste minimisation, and the problems associated with sending organic waste materials to landfill. These community workshops are held throughout the year, and are always well-received by the community.