Greater Shepparton City Council surveyed residents in green bin contamination hotspots to encourage them to dispose of food and garden waste correctly.
Project objective: To reduce contamination in the household organics waste (green lid) bin in the Archer Street and St Georges Road hotspots using door-to-door surveys
The council used door-to-door surveys to engage with the community, collect demographic data and increase residents’ understanding and use of their green bin in the hotspot area of Archer Street and St Georges Road. In this area, about one-thirds of residents speak a language other than English at home so the council chose to recruit locals with the requisite language skills to carry out the surveys.
The council followed a six-step process:
|Step 1||Recruitment||Recruit four residents living close to hotspot areas and with multilingual language skills to conduct the surveys|
|Step 2||Training||Train surveyors on conducting door-to-door surveys, understanding waste services provided by council, relevant occupational health and safety advice and dealing with potential confrontation.|
|Step 3||Survey residents||Carry out door-to-door surveys over a two-week period.|
|Step 4||Collate data||Collate data using Survey Monkey.|
|Step 5||Debrief and review||Debrief and review data with door-to-door surveyors.|
|Step 6||Next steps||Review the impact of surveys and develop next steps.|
Insufficient training for door-to-door surveyors due to officer availability: Surveyors received three hours of training prior to starting door-to-door surveys and did not have a significant understanding of council’s waste services. We could have strengthened the targeted engagement by briefing the surveyors on the wider waste services that council provides. Surveyors might also have benefited from a site tour of the local composting facility.
The survey team completed 108 surveys over eight days with a 41 per cent response rate. Of the residents surveyed, 67 per cent spoke English at home and 14 languages other than English were spoken at home as the main language.
Green lid bin contamination recorded by kerbside truck drivers showed a decrease in contamination for a two-month period post-survey in the hotspot location. However, three-months post-survey contamination levels were only marginally lower than at the start of the project.
Bin inspection results
|Month||Properties with recorded contamination (no.)||Average bin weights (kg)||Total waste sent to landfill (kg)||Increase/decrease in contamination (% of households) *|
*From pre-survey data
Almost three-quarters of residents surveyed responded (72 per cent) incorrectly to a question about where their organic waste goes after collection. This indicates that the council needs to communicate more effectively with residents about where food and garden waste ends up and the impact of contamination on the composting process.
The council will continue to identify and work with contamination hotspots to address green lid bin contamination.
Having the opportunity to undertake the community engagement project provided council’s waste department with valuable information about the focus areas’ demographics and understanding and use of the new garden and food waste collection system. The information collected will enable the waste services team to improve our communication with the community and work towards reducing green bin contamination.
– Malcolm Styles, Acting Manager of Works and Waste