Brimbank City Council

Be a Brimbank Gem – Pay it forward in everyday life

Brimbank City Council logoBrimbank City Council made a culturally-inclusive video on correct recycling behaviour for the Vietnamese community and tested it with a series of interventions to see which had the biggest impact on recycling behaviour.

Project objective: To improve kerbside recycling in the local area through culturally-focused communications

Brimbank City Council runs a recycling program called ‘Be a Brimbank Gem’ to educate Brimbank residents on correct recycling behaviour. It uses a combination of bin inspections, communications, personalised feedback and reward-based recognition.

The council identified a lack of engagement with the local Vietnamese community who make up approximately 13% of the Brimbank community, and over a third of households in the Sunshine North area.

The council wanted to extend its Brimbank Gem program by creating inclusive and culturally-focused communications. The vision was to develop a video to encourage residents to see value instead of waste in things they no longer need, and to understand that being a Brimbank Gem is about more than getting it right on recycling night.

Video provided a platform to share key messages with the community in a contemporary way, using Vietnamese ‘actors’ and a Vietnamese language voice-over to make the video relevant to Brimbank’s Vietnamese community.


The council tested five intervention methods at 750 households, with bin audits before and after to check for improvements in recycling behaviour.

Stage Action
Pre-inspection of bins Recycling bins ‘pre-inspected’ to gather baseline data
Testing intervention methods

Intervention A
Postcards sent asking residents to watch a video on What makes a Brimbank Gem, with a link to the recycling page on the council website

Intervention B
Postcards sent asking residents to watch a video on What makes a Brimbank Gem, with a link to the recycling page on the council website and offering a prize for recycling right

Intervention C
No intervention, no feedback, no advice about future inspections or prizes (control group)

Intervention D
Residents received specific feedback about what to improve in their recycling bin and information about the correct way to recycle

Intervention E
Postcards sent asking residents to watch a video on What makes a Brimbank Gem, with a link to the recycling page on the council website, and specific feedback about what to improve in their recycling bin, and that they might win a prize for recycling right

Post-inspection of bins Recycling bins inspected again to assess changes in recycling behaviour
Surveying residents Two weeks after the intervention inspection, the council’s team door-knocked 70 households with an iPad in hand to ask residents whether they recalled receiving the postcard and whether they had watched the video. They were shown the video, which prompted a one-on-one conversation about recycling right with those who answered the door.
Post inspection of bins Recycling bins inspected again to see if changes in recycling behaviour are maintained


  1. Revising the direct engagement methods late in the program.
  2. Participation of a local Vietnamese family.
  3. Hard to reach a wide number of people in the community by door-knocking at households.


The online videos were viewed around 100 times within the first few weeks of being published. Except for the control group, all the groups showed improved recycling behaviour following the interventions and the results indicated that the video may have had an impact. But the best results were achieved with a combination of interventions that included providing direct, personalised feedback.

The results also indicate a level of social diffusion around the program itself, with improvements occurring even in the control group.

Next steps

The videos can still be viewed on the council’s website and are used at events, workshops and other community engagements on recycling involving Vietnamese-speaking community members.

Over the past few years the council has discovered thousands of Brimbank Gems – residents who are our recycling champions – through our ‘Be a Brimbank Gem’ program. The Vietnamese language video that we’ve produced with support from Sustainability Victoria has really helped us extend this conversation to our significant Vietnamese-speaking community, adding many more Brimbank Gems to the Brimbank municipality.

– Paul Younis, Chief Executive Officer, Brimbank City Council

Further information

For more information contact
Brinbank City Council on 03 9249 4000
or visit