Western Highway roadside litter campaign

 

Highlands, Grampians and Desert Fringe Regional Waste Management Groups in partnership with VicRoads, Victoria, 2010-2011

Objectives

The roadside litter campaign had two objectives: to reduce roadside litter along the Western Highway by 30% at selected sites; and generate an increase in use of the EPA Litter Report Line.

Context

The Highlands, Grampians and Desert Fringe Regional Waste Management Groups, in partnership with VicRoads, gained a National Packaging Covenant Grant of $37,300 for the campaign.

Collaboration and partnership

The primary partnership between Regional Waste Management Groups (RWMGs) and VicRoads was ably supplemented by local Adopt-a-Roadside groups and service clubs in most major towns along the campaign stretch.

Trawalla Primary School and the Stawell Park Caravan Park got involved by displaying large campaign banners, and many shops displayed posters and handed out campaign materials to customers. All in all, 100 businesses provided active support.

Audiences and key messages

The range of target audiences included traders, businesses, community networks and clubs, schools, and importantly motorists.

Primary and Secondary school students gained special attention through production of a Schools Pack CD (see below).

Communication and implementation

The Western Highway campaign's primary focus was community awareness and education. It used a range of tools to educate highway users and the community at large that roadside littering is inappropriate.

  • Temporary signage, plus fifteen permanent signs.
  • A campaign radio advertisement aired on regional radio.
  • Distributing car litter bags to motorists (e.g. via traders), and poster placements in business premises.
  • A Schools Pack CD of litter education material.

The Schools Pack CD went to all primary and secondary schools in the RWMG regions. It contained units of work for all year levels, with some classroom activities specifically about the campaign, and others already developed by the regional waste management groups.

The CD had been mapped against the VELS criteria (Victorian Essential Learning Standards), and was suitable for core teaching.

Outcomes

Standard litter auditing methodologies at 15 roadside sites showed there was a 45.15% reduction in litter count data. The campaign exceeded its 30% litter reduction target by a long way - a great result for the effort.

However EPA Litter Report Line usage dropped (going against the target). The supposition was that this actually reflected the overall success of the campaign, with less littering all round.

There was strong anecdotal evidence for the crucial role the radio advertisements played.

The ads started before distribution of campaign resources, and appeared to lay the ground well for future campaign steps. For instance, many business owners recalled the advertisement, understood its message and were poised to support the campaign.

The addition of 15 permanent Report Litterers signs means that the anti roadside litter message is now consistent along the Western Highway from Bacchus Marsh to the South Australian border.

Learnings

The project evaluation made a few observations which will be useful to litter campaign planners.

 

  • Roadside safety - Have contingencies for locations where only authorised people can operate. For instance, Adopt-a-Roadside groups could not work on some freeway sites. In this case, VicRoads staff came to the rescue.
  • Roadside signage - Be sure to check VicRoads' signage guidelines for each location a sign is intended. Western Highway campaigners needed to locate much of their temporary signage at roadside stops due to safety regulations.
  • Vehicle litter - A large proportion of litter found at audit sites came from vehicles themselves, especially tyre rubber, presumably from blow outs. This suggested a campaign targeting truck drivers to clean up after blow outs may be an option for the future.

 

More information

Highlands Regional Waste Management Group campaign webpage