2024 ‘Waste Management’ Category Honourable Mention

City of Marion, SA

Valuing Marion’s Waste

2024 ‘Waste Management’ Category Honourable Mention

The Initiative

As a key service provider of waste and recycling services to ratepayers, The City of Marion has the imperative to demonstrate best practice and show leadership in waste minimisation.

In 2020, the City commenced a detailed review of its operational waste management facilities with the aim to reduce waste and implement circular economy principles in council operations.

The City’s Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) Guidelines for council facilities, developed in the same year, also require new developments to incorporate waste separation into at least three streams (waste, co–mingled recycling and organics).

In 2023, the City completely transformed its indoor bin systems with new, well–designed bins, educational signage and comprehensive back–end systems to support effective diversion.

A total of 222 new waste, recycling and organics bin hubs were installed inside eleven council facilities including offices, libraries, and community, cultural and recreation centres.

This new indoor bin infrastructure contains at least 324kg of recycled plastic.

Contamination in the yellow bins (items that don’t belong) has decreased from 30 per cent to less than 10 per cent at the Council Administration Centre and City Services depot.

Following a staff survey, the extensive ‘Be a good sort’ staff and community education campaign was developed, comprising print and digital posters, Marion Libraries social media, an internal online information hub for staff, ‘Which Bin Wednesday’ quizzes on Microsoft Teams, and 15 ‘Which Bin Recycling Roadshow’ face–to–face education sessions for community groups and facility cleaners. The Recycling Roadshows attracted 228 participants.

Staff have indicated that they love the clear signage and user–friendly bin systems, and the cleaners love how easy it is to sort bags correctly for recycling.

Council has successfully achieved the main aims of the project:

  • Reducing waste to landfill
  • Increasing operational waste diversion,
  • Reducing recycling and organic bin contamination
  • Ensuring all council–run facilities have organics recycling available,
  • Consistency across bin systems and ‘which bin’ signage at all sites,
  • Significantly increasing the disposal of waste materials in the correct bins by cleaners, and
  • Increasing ‘which bin’ awareness among staff, community groups and visitors using council facilities.
  • Month placement in a different department to explore new council career pathways.

About the Category

The 'Waste Management' category recognises local government initiatives which:

  • improve resource recovery and reduce amounts of waste generated in order to benefit human health, the environment and the economy;
  • increase use of recycled material and build demand and markets for recycled products;
  • better manage input and output of waste materials, to benefit human health, environment and economy;
  • improve information to support innovation, guide investment and enable informed community decisions relating to waste management; and/or
  • support the transition to a circular economy by transforming waste into sustainable resources.

Successful initiatives in this award category benefit communities by:

  • creating employment opportunities, protecting the environment, and better managing valuable and finite resources;
  • recognising the opportunities waste materials can provide and the economic value they retain; and/or
  • accelerating the recovery and reuse of community resources.

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