Educating about kerbside and recycling

Wheelie bins waiting for collection on a suburban street

Community education is a critical component of any kerbside collection service and can occur at any stage in delivery. A well-designed community education campaign can significantly reduce contamination and increase diversion rates. It is important that community education is conducted on an ongoing basis. Councils who invest time and resources in community education typically have higher diversion rates and lower contamination rates.

Addressing contamination

Contamination in recycling bins (commingled recycling and organics) is not always due to a lack of care or concern by householders, but is often based on a misunderstanding of what can be recycled.

Research shows that even the most committed recyclers make mistakes when determining whether a particular item is recyclable or not. In fact, committed recyclers make mistakes, like repeatedly recycling old or broken drinkware glass and crockery, more often than disengaged recyclers. Encouraging householders to place the correct items in the right bin for collection is fundamental to maximising recycling and minimising contamination.

For more information on kerbside recycling behaviours, you can read Sustainability Victoria’s report Drivers and Barriers Affecting Kerbside Recycling Behaviour in Victorian Households in 2014 (PDF, 965kB).

Tips for success

  • Investigate which materials and specific household items can be accepted at your materials recovery facility.
  • Establish an agreed list of items that can and cannot be recycled.
  • Make it a requirement for your contractor and/or reprocessor to regularly provide a contamination report that details a list of common contaminants.
  • Perform regular kerbside bin audits to determine contamination rates and problem areas.

Download the guidelines

Cover - Guidelines for Auditing Kerbside Waste

Guidelines for Auditing Kerbside Waste

A guide for councils and their contractors to help plan and carry out physical audits of household garbage, recyclables and organics collection services.

Close-up of a hand on a green wheelie-bin handle

Nillumbik Shire Council

The food and garden waste collected from kerbside organics bins in Nillumbik Shire was too contaminated to be recycled into compost. In response, the council launched Bin Blitz: a bin inspection and education program that reduced the number of contaminated bins by 63% in just nine months.

Read the case study

Close-up of fruit and vegetable waste

Wodonga and Indigo Shire Councils

A third kerbside bin was introduced to collect food and garden organic waste. Before launch, councils rolled out a behaviour change and education program, resulting in high diversion and low contamination rates.

Read the case study

Wheelie bins on a suburban street after the waste collection

Guide to preferred service standards for kerbside collection in Victoria

Opportunities for greater consistency and preferred service standards for kerbside collection in Victoria, including performance outcomes and targets.

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Close-up of someone peeling an apple over a collection of vegetable scraps

Kerbside organics collection

Diversion of food and garden organics from landfill is becoming a priority for councils in Victoria. Here you can find information about kerbside organics collection services including guidance and resources to inform decision making.

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