Draft Victorian Community and Business Waste Education Strategy Submission by the City of Port Phillip

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1 Draft Victorian Community and Business Waste Education Strategy Submission by the City of Port Phillip 22 March 2016

2 Introduction The City of Port Phillip welcomes the development of the Draft Victorian Community and Business Waste Education Strategy that identifies state government priorities and goals for waste education. The Draft Strategy recognises the potential role education can play in our community to reduce waste, minimise environmental impacts and maximise the value of materials if designed and delivered effectively. However, our submission asserts that the Strategy is not complete and the Guiding Principles require strengthening to be more effective. We need to get tougher on litter and waste. Our Council strongly supports the urgent need for a state wide approach to waste education. The City of Port Phillip has identified that the most significant waste issues that need immediate attention are litter and waste avoidance. Our Council also wishes to see the Strategy and any waste education campaign linked to resources for enforcement, and linked to incentives and infrastructure to support behaviour, such as facilities for a Container Deposit Scheme for Victoria. As our Council has set clear targets for the reduction of both household waste to landfill and litter, we also highlight the need for similar targets within the Strategy. City of Port Phillip supports further research to continue to develop the sector s understanding of effective waste education and to underpin the implementation of well-designed campaigns that have a state-wide reach. City of Port Phillip is keen to learn more detail about the tangible local support available as a result of this Strategy to assist in crafting successful waste education campaigns. 1) City of Port Phillip Context The City of Port Phillip is committed to best practice waste management and has set the following targets as part of its Toward Zero Sustainable Environment Strategy (2007): Achieve an 80% reduction in Councils in-house waste to landfill and a reduction of 75% of residential municipal solid waste to landfill by % reduction in litter by The City of Port Phillip is a densely populated inner city municipality with a current population of over 104,000 that is expected to more than double once the Fisherman s Bend Urban Renewal Area is completed. The City s geographic location, nightlife and natural features attract visitors and residents in adjoining suburbs as well as many international tourists. In 2014/2015, visitation numbers reached 2.7 million, with a significant portion of these (1.7 million) classified as local or domestic visitors. As an indication of the waste demands within the City of Port Phillip, in 2014 Council transported over 21,000 tonnes of waste to landfill and 14,000 tonnes of recycling to the processing plant. In the last twelve months, Council collected 650 tonnes of dumped rubbish, 1500 tonnes of booked hard rubbish, and 5,100 tonnes of litter from streets and foreshore. 1

3 The City of Port Phillip has delivered a number of successful waste and litter education campaigns over recent years, including No Cuts, No Butts, Litter Travels and Summer in the City. The City of Port Phillip also supports the ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module delivered in schools through the Port Phillip EcoCentre. In the next five to ten years, Council anticipates our greatest waste management challenges will be: 1. The collection, management and disposal of the increased amount of domestic waste due to the residential and commercial development of the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area, and the associated construction and demolition waste. 2. Continuing to manage the large amounts of litter and additional waste in popular public areas throughout the municipality, especially during the summer months and key public holidays. 3. Continuing to manage the municipal-wide challenge of illegally dumped rubbish 4. Managing litter on our beaches that has been carried by stormwater from outside our municipality. City of Port Phillip s location at the end of a number of catchments means that our beaches are a collection point for litter that is carried downstream by storm water. This is a significant environmental issue affecting the health of the Bay, marine fauna and flora, and the people who use it and eat produce from it. 5. Effectively overcoming the current barriers to the collection and processing of both green and organic waste, identified as Priority 2 in the Draft Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan. (Around 42% of household and commercial waste going to landfill is organic food waste and green garden waste which could be recycled, with 35% of this as organic food waste. City of Port Phillip operates a two bin domestic waste system for kerbside waste and recycling. However, our Council does not operate a bin collection system for organic food waste or green garden waste, as a result of challenges associated with restricted vehicle access and limited spaces to both store bins and place them at the kerbside. As with other inner city municipalities, there is a priority to find ways to effectively overcome the current barriers to the collection and processing of both organic food waste and green garden waste, with a focus on at-home organic and green waste recycling and reuse.) 2) City of Port Phillip Response to Draft Review Questions Question 1 Who is involved in waste education? Role clarity has been an ongoing issue in the development and delivery of waste education projects and programs in Victoria. It is important to understand the role different stakeholders play to ensure more effective funding, design, delivery and evaluation of projects and programs. (Page 7 of the Strategy). a) Please rate the extent to which you agree with the following statement. * The Stakeholder Table (Table 2, Page 7) accurately captures the roles and responsibility of the various stakeholders delivering waste education activities in Victoria. 1 - Strongly disagree 2 - Disagree 3 - Neither agree nor disagree 4 Agree 5 - Strongly agree 2

4 b) Thinking about the organisation that you best represent, is there any additional information you would like to provide about roles and responsibilities with regard to waste education? As recognised in the Draft Strategy, role clarity has been an ongoing issue in the development and delivery of waste education projects and programs in Victoria. The Stakeholder in Waste Education table detailed within the Draft Strategy (table 2) attempts to clarify stakeholder roles. This table is satisfactory in defining roles; however it could be improved by: Specifying the geographic area for which each stakeholder is responsible (e.g., state, regional, metropolitan, LGA). Detailing the audiences with whom each of the stakeholders work (e.g. schools, residents, businesses). Providing more detail on the stakeholders interactions with each other. Question 2 Principles Principles to guide the design, delivery and evaluation of waste education projects and programs have been collated based on feedback from stakeholders during consultation in The principles can be found on page 10 of the Strategy. Please rank the principles in order of most importance with regard to strategy delivery over the next five years. * Principle City of Port Phillip Ranking (1-8) Collaborate 6 Be transparent 2 Lead by example 4 Research and evaluate 1 Form partnerships 7 Celebrate success 8 Support and facilitate others 5 Encourage innovation 3 What would success look like for the principle you have selected as most important? City of Port Phillip asserts that the Guiding Principles defined within the Draft Strategy to guide the design, delivery and evaluation of waste education projects and programs are too soft. In looking at the Strategic Directions and Goals, Reduce Litter and Illegal dumping is the most important. In response to the questions, City of Port Phillip believes that a measurable success for the Research and Evaluate principle would appear as an education program that is targeted, has a clear purpose based on research, clear measureable objectives and targets, a specific audience, and a methodology based on successful case studies and experiences elsewhere. We are eager for transparent communication and collaboration with the Victorian Government to lead a consistent approach to waste education. For City of Port Phillip, success would include clear articulation regarding timelines, funding mechanisms, responsibilities, evaluation and support for waste education programs. 3

5 3) Key outcomes and priorities for the City of Port Phillip Overall, the Draft Strategy provides a useful platform to commence a more coordinated approach to waste education for Victoria for and beyond to 2025, but it is not complete. City of Port Phillip s response to this draft Strategy has been compiled after consultation with key internal stakeholders, including our Waste Management, City Business and Local Laws teams. The City of Port Phillip supports each of the six Strategic Directions. For the purpose of providing feedback, the City of Port Phillip has chosen to comment on the two most significant Strategic Directions for our community. Strategic Direction 2: Increase community awareness of waste and support and encourage waste avoidance. City of Port Phillip strongly supports increasing community awareness of waste. Specifically, Council would support more education programs specifically in the area of waste avoidance as the highest priority in the waste hierarchy. As a whole, our society s consumption behaviour is increasing and is at the centre of our community s waste dilemma. If the Victorian Government is to provide effective waste education, there is a need for a more rigorous approach to educate about consumption behaviour, and consider complementary legislation to avoid waste creation. Encouraging the community s cooperation to manage their waste to the best of their ability needs to be accompanied by convenient and appropriate infrastructure. Council is very interested to learn more detail about the proposed support to minimise household food waste to landfill. For example, who will be responsible for delivering food waste reduction programs? The large majority (84%) of City of Port Phillip residents live in medium to high density living with a limited ability to manage their organic waste on-site. This is as a result of challenges associated with restricted vehicle access and limited space to both store bins and place them at the kerbside. City of Port Phillip, along with the City of Yarra and City of Melbourne, is unable to provide a kerbside organic waste collection service at this time. Making up 40% of an average Victorian household s landfill bin, organic waste is rightfully a large focus of the draft Strategy and the Draft Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Plan. However, there is limited consideration for the challenges faced by the inner city municipalities, and the potential technologies that could be implemented. Strategic Direction 4: Reduce litter and illegal dumping The City of Port Phillip is an active area for socialising and visiting. Council s services to manage litter and waste in public spaces vary seasonally to meet these demands. Services are accompanied by a summer education campaign to target littering behaviour. Despite Council s efforts, increasing seasonal littering is still one of Councils largest waste issues, requiring increasing resources to manage. We need to get tougher on reducing litter and waste, and there is a fundamental need for more resources for compliance if we are to meet our growing waste management challenges. Local planning for litter prevention is valuable and Council will welcome support from the Victorian Government to improve our current approach. City of Port Phillip believes that this strategic direction would benefit from the development of a large, state-wide campaign, in which a strong 4

6 consistent message, covering all municipalities and run through different media and education formats, is implemented. Examples of similar programs include the Target 155 water saving campaign during the peak of the drought in Melbourne, or the Don t Mess with Texas 1 litter campaign. Stronger legislation is needed to support education around dumped rubbish. Current consequences for dumped rubbish are weak and ineffective. City of Port Phillip perceives that there is a high number of transient renters who contribute to this issue, which could be improved through education to increase greater cooperation from Real Estate Agents and Owners Corporations. 4) Further Comments, Omissions and Recommendations 1. Outcomes in the Strategy Framework would benefit from clear measurable targets and timelines. The Strategy outcomes are not specific enough to drive action or to specify the best method of delivery. 2. Overall, the articulated actions and details for each Strategic Direction would benefit from more specific details, including who is responsible for each action and a clear target. The lack of detail on the specifics of action is noticeable in terms of stakeholders and timeframes, but most noticeable is the lack of a future engagement approach to set this up with stakeholders and make this strategy implementable. 3. There are inconsistent references in the document to the tenure of the Strategy. 4. There is no clear definition in the document for both green waste and organic waste. Our presumption is that green waste is garden waste and organic waste is food waste. 5. The proposed approach to do annual implementation plans led by SV is not ideal. We understand this is not a strategy that SV will solely deliver, but from the way it is written one could assume they are the drivers of every action. There needs to be clearer identification of the role of the regional Waste Management Groups as coordinators and trackers of action. 6. The process supporting the development of yearly implementation plans is unclear, including negotiated roles of stakeholders and the funding of actions. 7. The Role of Local Government on page 7 is stated but the role of Local Government in the delivery of this Strategy is not so clear. This makes planning for the delivery of the Strategy by Local Government as partners more difficult, for example planning to budget for resources each year. 8. Defining the role of Local Government in delivery is significantly different for those Councils that have Waste Education Officers and those that do not. 9. The evaluation methodology included in the document is very brief. City of Port Phillip recommends that this component is expanded and more detail provided. 10. This Strategy has the potential to provide the Victorian Government with the impetus to create an innovative and creative waste avoidance campaign for the community. At present, the lack of focus or mention on waste avoidance is a missed opportunity. 11. There is little reference to supporting infrastructure to make positive waste behaviour convenient and accessible. Education needs infrastructure to support behaviour change. 1 Don t Mess with Texas is a litter campaign, run by the Texas Department of Transportation for 30 years: 5

7 12. The integration of waste education stories and case studies, of both failure and success, would enhance the integrity of the document. This would also demonstrate that the new Strategy is capitalising on what is already known - what works and what doesn t - from education programs such as Get it Right on Bin Night. 13. City of Port Phillip would appreciate more transparency regarding the source of funding for waste education initiatives and how the Victorian Government will financially assist organisations who deliver waste education. 14. Strategic Direction six is valuable in framing the tone and ambition of the Strategy. However, it would benefit from being repositioned earlier in the document as support for local government is referenced a number of times without earlier explanation as to what this entails. 15. It would be beneficial to define the relationship of education with enforcement and compliance, as part of an overall behaviour change approach. By way of example, these roles will tend to be very closely related in relation to illegal dumping of industrial waste. Having a clear understanding of how each supports the other can reduce role conflict and lead to better outcomes. 16. The alignment of actions with the Waste Hierarchy could be clearer. This would make it would be easier to determine where actions are lacking and required, particularly around waste avoidance. 17. The Strategy would benefit from a clear alignment with the Draft Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan. For example, if there a particular education measure that is required, is there an infrastructure measure addressing that need in the Waste and Resource Recovery implementation plan? Or are there complementary actions? 18. A channel strategy, integrated into implementation plans, would help ensure a coordinated and comprehensive engagement approach. This would also help to avoid duplication of waste education roles and services delivered by the identified stakeholders. 19. The Strategy makes no mention of a Container Deposit Scheme in Victoria to incentivise behaviour and support legislation, as other states have. Will this be included as part of the new Strategy? 20. Sustainability Victoria did not engage directly with businesses but with consultants delivering waste education programs and services to business, schools and the community. It would be good to have some assessment of the reach of this engagement through consultants into target sectors, businesses, peak bodies, associations, etc. This could be in the form of a percentage of target sector reached or another measure. As another indicator, this data could be broken down by type / size / segment to determine consultation gaps. 21. The summary of behaviour change variables in Table 17 does not mention costs. Actual and perceived transaction costs can be a key in encouraging behaviours, especially for motivating small to medium size enterprises. Conclusion The City of Port Phillip is grateful for the opportunity to provide comment on the Draft Victorian Community and Business Waste Education Strategy We look forward to seeing the final version of Strategy with consideration of this submission. 6

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