Case studies


The following councils have been selected as case studies as they represent a particular type of council i.e. urban or rural or use a leading-edge technology. Click on each to find out more

Gosford City Council NSW
Melton City Council (VIC)
Fairfield City_ Council (NSW)
Nebo (QLD)
Lord Howe Island (NSW

Winner of the 2005 Local Government Challenge
Metopolitan – users of the UR-3R technology
Rural .
Island council – 100% recycling

If you are a council and you would like to be profiled on the Cansmart website or in the Cansmart News or both please contact the Cansmart team on 1800 073 713 or [email protected]


Gosford City Council was the winner of the Steel Can Recycling Council’s Local Government Challenge 2005. How have they achieved such impressive results and what are the learning points for other councils?

With a 286% increase in steel can recycling over the past three years, Gosford City Council has collected a massive 561 tonnes of steel packaging from the 108,000 tonnes available nationally for recycling. This equates to 3.45kg of steel packaging from each of their residents this year, which falls above the national average of 3.05kg per capita.

Gosford City Council attribute the huge increase in their steel can recycling rate to their extensive education programme – Lets Get It Sorted – that has helped to raise awareness amongst residents. Council has been working closely with the SCRC and other industry players promoting the benefits of recycling steel through their domestic waste system and free drop-off facilities.

Communications through the local media, including full page colour advertisements in local newspapers, regular radio advertisements, television and shopping centre displays have kept the messages prominent amongst residents. The Coles Cares for the Environment shopping centre displays, for example, attracted over 700 people to the Gosford stand over a two day period. Hampers, generously donated by many of Australia’s leading food manufacturers who use steel as a packaging material, were given away as prizes.


Located 35 kilometres North West of Melbourne and covering an area of approximately 530 square kilometers, Melton Shire Council boasts an extraordinarily high steel can recycling rate. Melton Shire Council’s population in the region of 76,000 people are clearly committed to their environment and, with a steel can recycling rate more than double the national average, they should be applauded.

The national average steel can recycling rate per capita is 1.77kg per year but Melton Shire Council returns a rate of 6.52kg per capita per year. So how do they do it?

Says Waste Education Officer, Kendall Billington, ‘through our continued education program and constant reminders to residents we just don’t let them forget. What we have found in the past is that when you take your foot off the pedal the recycling rate goes down but as long as you keep up a constant stream of information the recycling rate remains steady.’

Using Ecorecycle’s best practice model of a 240 litre MGB for recyclables collected fortnightly, Melton Shire Council ensures that residents can easily recycle their packaging waste and contamination has been reduced dramatically from the previous split bin system.

Says Kendall, ‘we implemented a new kerbside bin system in late 2003, which has seen our recycling rates increase exponentially. The new system was implemented in response to a residents’ survey undertaken in 2003. We have gone from one 240-litre MGB for both garbage and recycling (split bin) to a garbage bin, recycling bin and a green waste bin.’

To further extend Melton’s recycling efficiency Council recently endorsed ‘It Starts with Zero’ the new Waste Management Strategy. A ten-year strategy, using the slogan – “Start with Zero – Reduce Reuse Recycle”, it aims to educate residents, education, business, community and Council sectors. The slogan has been used throughout 2004 and 2005 and promoted to all sectors of the community to identify ways in which they can further Reduce Reuse and Recycle.

‘ Whilst, Council has developed and driven the implementation of this strategy, it is the residents of the shire who should be congratulated for accepting and embracing it.’


Nebo Shire Council in the mid-west of central Queensland is an example to us all. With a population of only 2094 and three towns located approximately 1 hour apart, it would be easy to bury all their waste and forget about it. But the residents of Glenden, Coppabella and Nebo, are avid recyclers and never rest on their laurels when it comes to disposing of waste.

Since 1999 residents of Nebo Shire have increased the annual amount of waste recycled from 22,500 kg to 42,360 kg, an increase of around 95%! With split bins used in the towns and skips provided for rural residents, their dedicated commitment to recycling has resulted in an average of 14kg of materials recycled per week against a national average of around 9.6kg.

Whilst the figures for steel can recycling have increased by around 35% figures for steel can recycling per person are slightly below the national average. However, through a number of targeted activities under the management of recycling champion, Cr Wendy Western, the Steel Can Recycling Council is looking forward to seeing significant improvements in the future. Says Joe Stefano, ‘Nebo has such an impressive record for recycling and with a little extra focus on steel cans there is no reason why residents couldn’t overtake the national average.’

For further information please contact; Cr Wendy Western, Nebo Shire Council on (07) 4958 9836


Lord Howe Island with a permanent population of 350 residents and located 700kms due east of Sydney, provides a special case in waste management due to their isolation. Prior to July 2000, Lord Howe Island burned all their waste in a wire cage with any residuals (such as steel cans) pushed through holes in the bottom and landfilled.

Since then the Lord Howe Island Board has implemented a Waste Minimisation and Management Strategy with the help of APrince Consulting. The object of the strategy is to reduce landfill by 86% by source separating into the following waste streams:

1. Reusables
2. Recyclables
3. Compostables
4. Residual Waste

With this strategy in place Lord Howe now recovers more than 85% of their waste and 97% of all steel cans. In addition to their permanent residents, around 200 tourists visit the island per week and on average around 120kg of steel cans are collected per week. The cans along with other recyclate are compacted and shipped to Maclean Shire Waste Transfer and Recycle Station on the far north coast of NSW.

Key to the success of their strategy has been their education program for both residents and visitors. For residents, the Lord Howe Island School promotes and encourages education about recycling and environmental awareness generally. For visitors, the education process commences on the way over on the plane through an information sheet. Once on the island this process is continued by commercial accommodation providers through their advice to visitors about appropriate disposal of waste.

For more information about Lord Howe Island Board’s Waste Minimisation Strategy please contact the Island’s Waste Facility Co-ordinator, Geoffrey Thompson on 02 6563 2309 or [email protected]


With a population of 190,000 and one of Australia’s most diverse population’s Fairfield Council has a huge job ensuring residents are recycling as much as possible with low contamination rates. Since the introduction of the revolutionary UR-3R Alternative Waste Treatment Facility in September 2004, Fairfield has increased their steel can recovery rate by 86%, recycling a record 940.2 tonnes of steel cans in 2004/05. So how do they do it? Council uses four different processes to collect and process the steel element of their waste and recycling streams.

1. Kerbside Recycling Service
Fairfield residents are provided with a 240l divided recycling bin which are collected on a fortnightly basis. Steel is separated from other recyclate via a magnetic process. The majority of steel cans are recovered through this process.

2. UR-3R/AWT
Since September 2004 Fairfield’s Residential garbage, collected weekly, has been processed by the new UR-3R Alternative Waste Treatment facility at Eastern Creek Waste Management Centre. At the UR-3R steel cans are removed from the garbage using a mechanical magnetic process. The majority of steel cans left in Fairfield’s garbage bins are recovered through this service.

3. Recycling Drop Off Centre
The centre is open each weekend for Fairfield residents to drop-off metal items (including large steel cans) that won’t fit in their kerbside recycling bin.

4. Clean-up collection service
Some large steel cans are collected via this service.

“ Fairfield Council is leading the way in steel can recycling through ground breaking services, infrastructure and education specifically designed for Australia’s most diverse community,” says Michelle McRae, Fairfield’s Environmental Education Officer.

“ And today, the average Fairfield resident recycles 5.2kgs of steel per year,” adds Michelle