A strategic framework for communication, waste minimisation programmes and community development81 has been developed to support implementation of this plan. Its aim is to encourage widespread uptake of the proposed changes to collections and services, and to promote everyday actions to reduce waste. The framework will provide high level direction for communication campaigns, education, community engagement and community development activities, ensuring a cohesive, targeted package is delivered to the region82. Local boards and key local organisations will be sounding boards for the effectiveness of such campaigns, and in some cases will be actively involved.
How communities deal with waste is influenced by many factors, including household size, the cost of waste disposal, home ownership status, the convenience of collection services, knowledge of how to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, and cultural norms and location. These factors will influence the way in which communities respond to any proposed service changes – and how successfully those changes are adopted. The experience of councils in Auckland and around New Zealand shows that with the right support, communities can easily reduce the waste that goes to landfill.
For the purposes of this plan, ‘waste wise’ behaviour comprises the regular actions Aucklanders can take to better manage and minimise their waste. Besides separating and recycling, people can avoid waste in the first place through their consumption choices, composting, mulching garden waste, and using waste exchange and resource recovery services. The diagram below (Figure 6) shows the full range of actions people can take – and many Aucklanders are already taking them. The aim of this plan is to encourage the whole community to do so.
Strategies to support change in the community
Communities vary in their ability to adapt to change and in the support they require to do so. Implementing this plan requires empowering people to minimise the waste they produce and thereby reduce the cost of disposal. To ensure this, household and community engagement programmes will target areas with a higher proportion of large households, renters and other groups. The council will work closely with local community groups and networks to provide the information and support needed before, during and after the introduction of new services.
Community-based social marketing
As indicated in the strategic framework above, three streams of activity will support the introduction of new services and foster waste wise behaviour in the community – communication, waste minimisation programmes and community development. Until recently, the term ‘education’ was applied to all communication, information and engagement programmes for waste minimisation. While education can help raise awareness of a problem, it is less reliable in fostering change in people’s daily behaviour. There is often a gap between what people know, what they intend to do and what they actually do. Techniques such as community-based social marketing (CBSM), developed specifically to address this gap, have been used successfully elsewhere to foster waste wise behaviour. While education will remain an important part of the plan, CBSM will be used in the design of waste minimisation programmes, and be one of the underpinning parts of education, communication, community engagement and empowerment activities.
Innovative and engaging campaigns will be developed. They will include a set of consistent and clear waste-wise messages. Campaigns will play an important part in supporting the rollout of new services, and will link to education and support activities.
Curriculum-linked programmes within schools build understanding and create a sense of responsibility around waste. Schools are also focal points within communities and young people are important role models for parents and whānau. The WasteWise schools programme will continue and be expanded to more schools across the region.
Direct engagement with households and communities through household visits, workshops and other activities is an important way to encourage waste-wise behaviour at home. Targeted community engagement programmes will help communities implement practical waste minimisation solutions at home.
A community development approach may be most effective in some communities, where service changes are likely to have more impact. This means engaging with groups such as NGOs, trusts and the volunteer sector, who know their communities well and have strong networks and experience in communicating with local people. Programmes that build capacity in specific communities and have social, economic, environmental and cultural outcomes will be explored in order to develop community understanding, involve people in solutions and create lasting change.
Businesses are an intrinsic part of our communities, providing social and economic support. Work and home practices are closely linked. It is proposed to continue working with small-to-medium sized businesses under existing programmes and to explore ways to strengthen these relationships. Partnerships with business associations and industry groups, will be key.
Evaluation and research
An evaluation framework will be developed to track the progress of the communication, education and community development activities in this plan, and continually improve them.
- The council will implement a continued and intensive community education, engagement and community development programme during and after implementation of the plan.
- Consideration will be given to the use of more than the official five languages (given the multi-cultural nature of Auckland) when reaching into particular communities.
- Targeted programmes will be developed and implemented to assist and inform communities on how to reduce waste.
- The council recognises that community education, engagement and development are not one off or one-size-fits-all processes – they need to be ongoing and linked to other council programmes as much as possible.
- The council will work in partnership with the active network of community-based organisations focused on waste reduction in the engagement and education aspects of the rollout and ongoing implementation of the plan.
Specific actions are described in section 3.2.