Victoria's Coast - Too Lovely to Litter

Instigated by the Barwon Regional Waste Management Group 2011

Campaign objective

To reduce coastal roadside, foreshore and beach litter across Victoria's 2,000 Km of coastline.

Inception

Too Lovely to Litter started in 2009 as a pilot by the Barwon Regional Waste Management Group (BRWMG) to reduce packaging litter along coastal roadsides and activity areas.

The pilot hinged on using traders as communications partners, to pass on litter prevention messages to customers at the point of purchasing items that could end up as litter.

The result was a 30% reduction in roadside litter - proof enough to seek funding and expand the project.

Collaboration and partnerships

BRWMG was able to gain funding from a number of organisations, making it possible to roll out a state wide campaign rebadged as Victoria's Coast - Too Lovely to Litter.

Funding came from the Australian Packaging Covenant, the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, Metropolitan Waste Management Group, four regional waste management groups and local councils.

Overall, the campaign needed the collaboration of five waste management groups and 17 coastal councils. This was a first in Victoria.

Key messages

The campaign had three messages.

  1. Victoria's coast is too lovely to litter.
  2. Do the right thing, use the right bin.
  3. Report litterers using EPA Victoria's Litter Report Line and website.

Communication and implementation

The campaign's communications took as much a mass media approach as budgets allowed.

  • Campaign ambassador - A key component was appointment of a campaign ambassador, Environmental Scientist Sheree Marris, who was a Young Australian of the Year in 2002. The ambassador's role was as spokesperson for the campaign in media promotions and videos, and to take part in the campaign's launch.
  • Media - Editorial coverage appeared in metropolitan and regional newspapers, along with articles in council magazines and websites.
  • Communications collateral - To ensure consistent messaging and to support the 22 on-the-ground partners involved, a range of materials and aids were produced for third party use. These included campaign information packs, t-shirts, Frisbees, drink coasters, posters, tote bags and banners.
  • Road signage - Forty signs were made for councils via the Packaging Stewardship Forum, bearing campaign branding, the key messages and the Do The Right Thing, Use The Right Bin logo.
  • Experiential approach - Direct engagement with the public was a key principle. For instance art installations were erected in four MacDonald's venues, and litter reporting stands operated at selected locations, providing visitors with car litter bags and brochures promoting the EPA Victoria litter report line.
  • Outdoor advertising - This included back of bus and billboard advertising, and airing the campaign video at Federation Square for two months in the summer.
  • Training - Council officers received training in VLAA's litter prevention best practice methodology. This explained the campaign principles, and developed their litter auditing and monitoring skills. This was the best way deliver the campaign with rigour and consistency along the coastline from NSW to South Australia.

Achievements

A major achievement was coordinating a litter campaign on such a scale.

The initial 'proof of concept' trial convinced others to provide funding - just the foundation needed for operational coordination across the 22 partners at the coalface.

Thanks to the training program on roadside litter prevention and auditing, the campaign also spread knowledge through local government in the principles of roadside litter prevention.

Learnings

After independent analysis, the campaign's litter reduction outcomes were considered inconclusive due to extraneous factors.

The peak campaign assessments took longer than expected, and a colder and wetter than expected summer reduced traffic flows and affected litter distribution.

Nevertheless, the rate of litter accumulation fell and stayed at lower levels during the campaign. Cigarette butts and smoking related litter was the most prevalent type.

Campaign material

YouTube channel