Wyndham had been encountering problems in Davis Road between Hogans and Boundary roads and the surrounding estates in Tarneit. A litter count was conducted in the target area in September 2011 to get a snapshot of the scale of dumping in the area before the campaign began.
The audit revealed 29,520 kilograms of dumped waste was collected by council litter crews throughout the month.
At the end of the fourth month of the campaign this volume dropped to an average of 2100 kilograms. Illegal dumping reports increased from 651 for the same period in 2010-11 to 881 during the campaign.
Wyndham used a targeted program, selecting a specific geographic area bordering several estates where roadside dumping has been particularly problematic. The council identified that many people living in the area were renters who typically move house more often than owner-occupiers. People often needed to dispose of large pieces of furniture, appliances, toys and clothing, but didn't always know which council services were available to them, so there was a high risk of dumping in the country laneways nearby.
The campaign later encompassed Manor Lakes, Point Cook and opportunity shops due to overwhelming interest in the campaign from developers and Wyndham's major opportunity shop operators. The highly visible campaign used a combination of billboards and posters, a letterbox drop of postcards, individual letters to 188 rural landowners asking them to be vigilant about people illegally dumping waste on land adjoining their properties.
Newspaper articles and website materials in English, Hindi, Arabic, and Mandarin highlighted the significant fines attached to illegal dumping offences and the costs to ratepayers to clean up.
The program called on the community to report dumping and provided a council phone number and details on what to report.
Weekly target area clean ups were also highly visible using uniformed clean-up crews, branding and badged vehicles.
One of the most unique approaches in the campaign was the preparation of information packs for real estate agents in the area to hand out to new tenants about how to dispose of waste properly. The campaign had two key messages:
- advice on how witnesses can report illegal dumping. This message targeted motorists, pedestrians, skip bin operators, homeowners/residents and rural landholders.
- advice on how to access hard waste and green waste disposal services. This message was aimed at residents in and around the target area.
Wyndham recorded a 93.5 per cent drop in illegally dumped household waste in the target area during and immediately following the campaign.
It also provided an opportunity for greater strategic work between council's customer service, waste services, asset management and maintenance, and legislative services teams to create a coordinated approach.
Litter crews were trained to examine the dumped waste for documents that may identify the individuals responsible, leading to a higher number of prosecutions from the campaign.