A team effort and a few simple steps makes all the difference.


Unison’s Social Enterprise Team at Kensington had a waste challenge. Recycling bins were being contaminated, rubbish was not being placed in bins, and the COVID lock down meant that more waste was being generated on site as more people stayed home. The Enterprise were working harder than they needed to. 

A solution to the challenge had to be found.  “I felt we could achieve a lot with not too much of an effort,” said Paulina Peralta, the Social Enterprise Team Manager. 

The Unison Social Enterprise Team, which has kept Unison communities clean and tidy for nearly ten years, made their case to the City of Melbourne and received a grant to educate the community about waste and further develop the business.  

And so, the Team got to work. Signage was created to educate the community on how to dispose of their waste correctly. Clear and consistent communication around what goes into recycling and what goes into landfill bins were placed in all bin rooms on the 6.5 ha site and next to bin chutes in the high-rise towers. A community composting hub has also been established next to our award-winning Food Forest. Residents are invited to add their household scraps, and the Team adds grass and plant clippings from their gardening and grounds work around the site.  

A bin audit was done to ensure the correct number and type of bin were on site and in the right locations. The result has been very encouraging. 

“It is a team effort,” explained Paulina. “Our onsite Place Management team distributed a letter to all residents regarding the campaign, Unison publishes a Waste Wisdoms newsletter to reinforce our waste campaign, and our Enterprise Team, who knows our community members well, continues to remind residents to dispose of waste correctly. 

“As a result of a few simple steps we are seeing a change in behaviour patterns,” said Paulina. The Team can see that people are changing for the better and residents are encouraging their neighbours to do the right thing. 

“I am very impressed with our efforts! We have seen a large reduction in recycling contamination and waste dumping. Not only is it good for our community and the environment, the behavioural change has enabled us to focus more on other areas such as removing cobwebs, increased bin hygiene and other weekly tasks to help make our community a great place to live.”  

The City of Melbourne partnership has allowed the Social Enterprise to focus on waste minimisation and education, buy new equipment and grow the business. It has been a terrific campaign!   

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