Moving to a new house is often mentioned as a high-stress life event. We accumulate so much stuff over the years that packing our lives into boxes can seem like a never-ending task.
It’s a good time to have a clear out, although this can add to our stress if we don’t know how to get rid of our stuff or we don’t have a way to transport it.
The City of Whittlesea trialled a mobile solution to collect recycling and waste usually associated with moving to a new home, like cardboard, polystyrene and plastic wrap.
“Illegal dumping is a major issue in our community,” said Simone Chetwynd-Brown, Environmental Project Officer at The City of Whittlesea.
“We looked at what was stopping residents from disposing of waste and materials appropriately. For example, the landfill being closed on Sundays, transport and cartage issues, mobility issues, CALD groups, aged and low-income families. Then we developed a mobile solution that we hoped would overcome these barriers.”
And so, the Pop-Up Recycling Station was born…
“Our Pop-Up Recycling Station is a large trailer with enough room to store cardboard packaging and polystyrene. It also has 240 litre bin liners to collect plastic wrap. The trailer meets council health and safety guidelines so is safe for staff and residents to use.
“We scheduled collection times in areas close to newly emerging communities where construction is still occurring, but a high number of properties are occupied. This is where we see a lot of illegal dumping.”
The council used targeted social media marketing to make sure residents brought the right kind of materials on the day.
“We wanted to make sure it was used as intended – for large items linked to moving house – and not for excess recycling from normal household use,” explained Simone.
“The mobile service was really popular. From January to September, we collected enough polystyrene to fill 136 large wheelie bins when crushed, enough cardboard to full 80 big skips and 54 wheelie bins of plastic wrapping.”
Visitor numbers show that more people are using the service as momentum grows.
“We’ve definitely seen less illegal dumping although we don’t have a full-time litter prevention officer. But we still see some illegal dumping after collections have finished, particularly polystyrene which people struggle to get rid of.”
“We had a lot of community feedback, with most residents being overwhelmingly supportive,” said Simone. “Our Facebook posts attracted lots of comments from happy residents. And our posts were often shared with local community groups.”
“Most negative feedback related to scheduling times, dates, requesting a pick up and commenting on other sections of our waste management programs.”
“With less illegal dumping and more recycling happening, the Pop-Up Recycling Station has been a great success. So much so that we will keep going, with at least six collections a year.
“We will think about combining with Detox Your Home mobile collection events or holding larger collection days,” added Simone. “We may also separate collecting polystyrene given that residents struggle to dispose of this material.
“It’s been a great way to connect with the community and encourage civic pride. It makes the City of Whittlesea a nicer place to live, now and hopefully in the future too.”
Contact Simone Chetwynd-Brown, Environmental Project Officer, The City of Whittlesea on (03) 9401 0558 or email@example.com
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