Warrnambool City Council

Better recycling through building connections and trust

City of Warrnambool Council logoWarrnambool City Council has forged closer relations with its temporary CALD community to address bin contamination together.

Project objective: To improve contamination in the recycling bins of the temporary CALD community

The council began receiving complaints about contamination in the recycling bin and traced the source of contamination back to households of international workers, working at the local meatworks.

The council wanted to connect with this temporary and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community to research the problem and look for solutions. Most workers were aged between 20 and 30 years, lived close to the meatworks and came from numerous countries but with two main languages in common – Korean and Mandarin.


The council is partway through a four-stage project:

Stage Activity Actions End Date
Stage 1

Bin audit

Customer request data collation

Engage with stakeholders

Connect with the community

Conduct bin audits and determine contamination levels in recycling bins.

Determine number of relative customer requests.


Engage the target audience (focus group) and research the reasons for the contamination

May 2016

March 2016

May 2016

Stage 2

Co-create strategies
Trial of intervention 1

Use research and connections to co-create strategies
Welcome to Warrnambool event held for target audience and stakeholders

November 2016

Stage 3

Develop and trial further interventions

Create a video to upload to target audience Facebook page and council website

May 2017
Stage 4

Conduct follow-up bin audits and collate data from customer service requests during last 12 months.

Determine if contamination levels have changed from previous recycling bin audit.

Determine if there has been a change in the number of customer service requests relating to this issue in the last 12 months.

June 2017

The council held an inaugural ‘Welcome to Warrnambool’ event in October 2016 and created a guide using the resources, partners, contacts and networks at the event.


  • Disconnect of the target group’s workplace. Lack of perceiving that orientation to the Warrnambool community is the workplace’s responsibility. Maybe it is not their responsibility but this would have been the most efficient way to engage.
  • The employment and accommodation agents are an excellent contact point with the right networks, but they are hard to engage. The intervention needs to be easy for them to use, implement and promote.
  • Paying focus group participants for their time proved challenging due to internal procurement policy restrictions.
  • Some stakeholders did not want to get involved with the project even though it might be relevant for them – usually due to lack of resources and priority shifts for that service or organisation.


Although the project is not complete, the council sees its engagement with a previously overlooked sector of the community as very positive – it knows more about how to engage with this sector and what types of interventions may work. The council has identified other key stakeholders whose partnership will be valuable in the future.

The council has translated a number of educational brochures and is assessing the viability of translating more content on the council website. The Welcome to Warrnambool event brought together a number of people from the target audience and also a number of stakeholders who had been searching for methods of engaging without any previous success. The event also highlighted further ideas that could be trialed as interventions and some key contacts and community leaders who could support the development and implementation of these. The event was perceived as successful with post event surveys supporting this. Stakeholders have committed to running this event regularly.

The project has also redefined how the waste unit delivers education, having seen first-hand the benefits of custom-designed interventions, researching to prove or disprove assumptions and working with the target audience to co-create solutions.

This project has enabled positive communication with a group that has been difficult to reach. The project has set the groundwork and opened the lines of communication for working with this group, not only improving resource recovery but for a whole raft of other council and community initiatives and services.

– Glenn Reddick, Manager – Infrastructure Sevices

Further information

For more information contact
Kate McInnes on 03 5559 4405
email kmcinnes@warrnambool.vic.gov.au
or visit warrnambool.vic.gov.au