Ararat Rural City Council

Improving resource recovery in Ararat

Ararat Rural City logoArarat Rural City Council is trialing ways to educate rural communities to use the kerbside recycling bin correctly before introducing the service.

Project objective: To minimise contamination in the recycling bin before introducing the service in rural areas by raising awareness of what can and cannot be recycled and encouraging separation of recyclables from the moment they are no longer required

In some rural areas in Ararat, residents do not have a kerbside recycling collection service but can drop their separated recyclables at transfer stations. Ararat Rural City Council wanted to educate residents about good recycling behaviour before potentially introducing a kerbside service – contamination could be minimised by starting from a clean slate.

Together with Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group, the council ran a small trial to encourage residents to separate their recyclables from the garbage from the moment they were no longer required.

If and when kerbside recycling is introduced in rural Ararat, the data collected from this project can be used to inform the community consultation.


The council gave 100 households information on what they can and cannot recycle and provided an additional in-home intervention by giving them a receptacle for storing recycling in the house prior to disposal. The project had three stages:

Action Activities
Stage 1 Recyclables contamination visual and waste bin audit*
  • A visual audit of recycling loads (dropped off at transfer station) and a physical audit of a sample from these loads
  • A visual bin audit of a sample (50) of general waste bins to identify percentage composition of recyclables
Stage 2 Community participation

The council selected 100 random households in two rural areas (Moyston and Elmhurst) to participate in the project. Participants were mailed an introductory letter, a survey and a yellow polypropylene woven fabric bag with graphics to show what can and can’t be recycled on both sides.

The council also gave 50 bags to students at Elmhurst and Pomonal primary schools to use at home.

To maintain community interest, the survey and community participation stage ran for one month from June to July 2016.

Stage 3 Post-project audit See Results below

*The audit was conducted as part of a collaborative project with Golden Plains, City of Ballarat and Pyrenees Shire Councils under the Local Government Procurement Network – Sustainable Business Capacity, Education and Behavioural Change Waste Project.


  • Dealing with public misconceptions.
  • Resource constraints on project implementation.


The visual audit of 50 general waste kerbside bins at the start of the project showed 22% contained recyclable materials. So, the council knew that significant amounts of recyclables went to landfill and that education and receptacles could help to reduce this.

The vehicle audit showed 12% contamination, made up of garbage bags (general waste), textiles, bagged recyclables and shopping bags. This shows a lack of understanding of what can and cannot be recycled and the need for greater education.

Next steps

The audit and survey results were incorporated into the waste management review report to council and Executive Leadership Group (ELG).

'These bags are great; can I have a couple more?' said one participant. She plans to use the bags to develop more of a recycling routine in her household.

– Householder, Elmhurst Community

Further information

For more information contact
Deidre Andrews on 03 5355 0233
or visit