Dumping is damaging

Wyndham City Council, Melbourne Australia, 2010-2012
Based on VLAA's Illegal Dumping Kit and best practice principles for litter prevention campaigns, Wyndham City Council ran its Dumping is Damaging campaign in 2011-2012. The results are impressive.

Key elements

The Dumping is Damaging campaign blended education, enforcement and infrastructure into a successful communications plan, following the key steps for running litter prevention initiatives.

Most importantly, the campaign had a clear and simple target - to reduce the incidence of illegal dumping along roadsides in the target area (a sizeable suburban/rural zone) by 25%.

The metrics used for this were tonnage of materials collected from roadsides, frequency of collection, and frequency of dumping at known hotspots.

Busting the target

The figures tell the story - the Dumping is Damaging campaign caused a significant decrease in illegal dumping over its five month life, reaching over 93% reduction along one hotspot road in the campaign zone.

All monitoring locations outstripped the 25% target.

Incidences of illegal dumping in the area also decreased as the campaign progressed, and 50% more illegal dumping reports came in to Wyndham's call centre, indicating a peak in awareness.

Community traction

The community also came on board in numbers.

Interested parties from developers to charity stores wanted to help with the campaign, resulting in a much broader distribution of postcards and campaign material than anticipated.

Real estate agents also volunteered additional boards for new signage locations.

Communication and engagement

Here are some of the key elements in the campaign's communications plan.

  • Key messages - Clearly the key messages got attention. They were: 1. What to do if you witness someone illegally dumping. 2. What to do if you have waste that you need to dispose of.
  • Soft launch - The campaign had a soft launch with its web page going live in conjunction with letterboxing postcards and erecting road signs (see next).
  • Postcards - Distributed via letterbox drops and outlets expressing the key messages.
  • Posters - Provided to local traders and offices.
  • Signage - Purpose designed campaign signage on roadsides and real estate boards.
  • Correspondence - Letters sent to the 188 rural landholders and 13 local skip bin operators asking them to be vigilant for dumped rubbish.
  • Information packs - Provided to local real estate agents to disseminate to new residents.
  • Staff engagement - Sessions with deport and waste management crews about the campaign directly contributed to more spotting.
  • Media - Paid advertising and editorial coverage kept the campaign in the public arena.

Looking ahead

The plan is to keep the Dumping is Damaging name out there.

The campaign road signs and real estate boards will be retained, with a view to erecting more and to work with Town Planning to include mandatory signage in all new estates. The team at Wyndham will also capitalize on the interest and contacts created during the campaign, especially with charity stores and real estate agents.

In the meantime, the campaign website continues to provide anti dumping information, and of course measurement and monitoring is ongoing to watch the trends.