When it comes to introducing new recycling programmes to residents, the reactions can be a mixed bag. This is exactly what the Cleanaway education team was anticipating when they were approached by Randwick City Council to kick start a Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) service at Newington Towers.
Pictured: The Cleanaway education team engaging with a Newington Towers resident via a pop-up information session.
To get off on the right foot, Cleanaway Resource Recovery Officer (RRO) Abiola Ishola set out to engage with the residents two months ahead of the FOGO service commencement.
Abiola realised immediately the unique challenges facing his team: Newington Towers has a transient student population and this was hindering the complex from achieving its existing waste management strategies. The amount of commingle recyclables that was ending up in the general waste bins indicated a low engagement with recycling systems, so it was clear the Cleanaway team had their work cut out for them.
Abiola and the team started off by organising a pop-up information session where Newington Tower residents received information in several languages on the upcoming FOGO service. This was followed by education sessions and meetings with the body corporate manager and building manager, with the goal of designing a suitable waste management strategy. Signage and educational collateral were also deployed at strategic locations within the complex.
The team’s hard work paid off. Within only five months, 6.8 tonnes of FOGO was diverted from landfill – approximately 500% higher than the initial recovery estimates projected for Newington Towers.
Randwick City Council is now planning to model the Newington Towers engagement strategy for similarly sized residential complexes where it has been challenging to have a coordinated approach to waste management.
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