Responding to a policy of 'carry in carry out'

Moira Shire Council, Victoria, 2003

Context

Parks Victoria introduced a no bins, carry in carry out litter policy, which from the experience of a neighbouring shire, was expected to have a poor litter outcome. As a response, Moira Shire developed an effective program of bin installations and engagement, targeting campers and camping sites on the River Murray.

Aim

There were two areas to address:

  • Public education and awareness raising around the introduction of the 'carry in, carry out' litter policy as it was introduced in stages along the river. 
  • Reducing of litter at camping sites.

Collaboration and partnership

The project began with developing possible solutions with the key stakeholders, namely council departments, regional waste management group staff and Parks Victoria rangers.

Ultimately, the focus was to specify roles and responsibilities at an operational level, and be clear on who would do what.

Audiences and key messages

The campaign's message was intended to extend to communities along the Murray beyond municipal boundaries.

Within the shire, particular attention was paid to tourist and visitor outlets, caravan parks, pubs, and service stations.

Communication and implementation

Based on the principle that people will use bins if they're available, Moira Shire invested in bins at camping sites and included them in cleaning schedules.

Since there was a public information component associated with the campaign to explain the 'carry in, carry out' policy, communications, promotion and direct engagement with campers and locals featured throughout the program.

  • Council staff and Parks Victoria rangers delivered posters and pamphlets to outlets along the River Murray.  
  • Face to face communication was the preferred method - an opportunity to hand out newsletters, free waste passes and pamphlets at camping sites.
  • Billboards advertised the EPA Litter Report Line and the slogan 'Don't Waste the Murray'.
  • To encourage use of the shire's transfer station, especially in response to the free waste passes, extended operating hours and reduced tipping fees were introduced for peak periods.

Outcomes

The communications program appeared to do its job of helping the local community accept the 'carry in, carry out' policy.

Overall, illegal dumping and littering stayed steady and actually decreased at known hotspots.

Feedback from visitors indicated that litter signage was helpful and that the free waste passes were a great idea. More visitors were also 'dobbing' in litterers and illegal dumpers, who by the way were mainly locals.

Learnings

A self evaluation pointed to what worked well in the program.

  • Information sharing between key stakeholders, and turning this into operational solutions.
  • Face to face communication, with information to hand out, was effective for engagement with campers and visitors. 
  • Enforcement activity still had a role.
  • Allow people time to adjust to change. It doesn't happen overnight.