Waste Stream Assessment

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.

‘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.

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.

EnviroCom to conduct waste audit for local council

EnviroCom waste auditors gear up to complete a waste characterisation assessment for Brisbane City Council.

EnviroCom completes this historical assessment every February and March on behalf of Brisbane City Council. Samples from four different waste streams are segregated by hand over a six week period to determine the overall composition of each waste stream. This provides a comprehensive snapshot of the waste produced within the Brisbane City Council area and highlights opportunities for change, improvement and innovation in relation to service delivery, service options and community engagement and education.

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.

To help reach ambitious waste minimisation targets, the Port of Brisbane has engaged EnviroCom to conduct professional waste audits and staff training.

As part of their ‘Target Zero’ strategy, the Port of Brisbane intends to send zero waste to landfill by 2030.

To help them achieve this goal, EnviroCom conducted a professional waste audit at three main sites in August to identify waste composition and provide insights into how each site could reduce their waste to landfill. EnviroCom delivered presentations to staff in all departments at each of the sites to help employees better understand their waste, and learn how their specific site can better manage their waste.

Logan City Council Launches Waste Smart Kindy Program

A new program aimed at helping Early Learning Centres reduce their waste has launched in the Logan City Council area. The new Waste Smart Kindy Program is a milestone program, designed to support Early Learning Centres, Childcare Centres and Kindergartens on their journey towards sustainability. The program has taken inspiration from the success of a similar initiative by Brisbane City Council.

Resources, guidance, advice, and training will be provided by EnviroCom’s team of experienced Environmental Educators to engage centres in investigations of on-site waste issues, which will inform the development and design of sustainable, appropriate waste management solutions.

Considering and adopting the principles of behaviour change, this program will empower participating centres to achieve long term results in regards to sustainable waste generation and disposal behaviours.  This approach will result in a reduction in waste generation, encourage centres to avoid and minimise disposal of general waste to landfill, and promote reducing, reusing, and recycling.

This program will provide support to centres to assist them in meeting or exceeding their sustainability accreditation requirements as outlined in the National Quality Standards. The Waste Smart Kindy Program is available to all Early Learning Centres, Childcare Centres and Kindergartens within the Logan region.

If you would like more information on Logan’s Waste Smart Kindy Program, please email our team at: loganwe@envirocom.com.au


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.

‘Whittlesea Waste Busters’ Community Education program

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.

Improving Waste Management at Bronte Park / Beach

Waverley Council (Council) had identified a number of issues relating to current waste management servicing protocol within Bronte Park / Beach, described in the Bronte Park and Beach Plan of Management.

EnviroCom Australia (EnviroCom) was engaged by Council to develop a Waste Management Plan (WMP) and a 5-year Improvement Plan to guide on-the-ground sustainable waste management for the Bronte Park / Beach areas. The development of the two documents was to be informed by a combination of site assessments, consultation and desktop research to inform a robust evidence-based WMP.

The resulting document provided best practice recommendations around three key areas of waste management operation, being: community behaviour / engagement (user behaviours around presentation points); material handling (movement of waste and litter by staff); and onsite storage and waste collection.

The 5-year Improvement Plan mapped out deliverables in the short term (year 0-1), medium (years 2-3) and longer term (years 4-5), stepped out to create a staged approach to upgrading waste management infrastructure and supporting signage.

A third document was provided to Council which collated the research findings relating to behaviour change through carefully considered infrastructure, signage and message; bin configuration, size and type; and litter minimisation measures.