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BehaviourWorks Collaboration Program

A multi-phase program of work designed to bring leading government and industry partners together to identify and apply new behaviour changes approaches to sustainability challenges.



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BehaviourWorks Australia has been collaborating with some of Australia’s leading government agencies since 2011. These partnerships have helped to change the way Australians go about their lives and make decisions that benefit themselves, their families and the community as a whole.

While we’ve solved many partner problems over the years, in 2018 we began to ask, ‘What if we brought leading government agencies together to find behavioural solutions to some bigger challenges – issues that impact the environment and the amenity/livability of our cities?’

Members of the BehaviourWorks Consortium agreed to trial a new way of working, using the Collective Impact model as a framework for collaboration – with the first major project detailed below.

Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration

BehaviourWorks has conducted over 36 waste projects since 2011. Given this, the partners felt they could have a greater impact on the issue of waste and, by extension, make better use of materials with the aim of creating a circular economy. 

Five partners – Sustainability Victoria, Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Environment Protection Authority Victoria, Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy and NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – joined the Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration.

The broad objective of the project is to identify which behaviour change approaches will be most effective in encouraging households, businesses and the whole Australian community to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

Specific projects

Three specific waste projects (learn more by clicking the banners below) will be conducted between July 2019 and July 2020.

Each project follows the BehaviourWorks Method which, in the Exploration phase, involves systems mapping, Rapid Evidence and Practice Reviews and stakeholder engagement to identify ‘who needs to do what differently’.

Following this will be a ‘deep dive’ to understand the audience, followed by trials in the Application phase. The trials will be run with an extended group of partners (see call out right).


Contamination of household recycling is a persistent problem. It generally occurs when non-recyclable items are put in the recycling bin, where they can clog up recycling machines, degrade the value of recycled materials, increase the amount of waste going to landfill and increase the cost of recycling.

This project focuses on gaining a better understanding of why contamination happens and  what interventions are effective. This knowledge will be used to co-design new behaviour change trials with local governments, private sector organisations and environmental agencies. 

Full details on this trail and what’s involved can be found here.

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Many consumer product labels in Australia claim environmental benefits and/or pro-social outcomes, such as fair trade.

The focus of this project is to understand whether such labels, and specifically those promoting purchase of recycled content products and other circular economy outcomes, are effective. The project team will engage label owners, community groups, business producers, retailers, as well as state and federal government stakeholders, to:

  • identify significant consumer product labels targeting circular economy outcomes

  • build an understanding of what determines the effectiveness of labels

  • evaluate the performance of current labels and possible improvements

  • agree on desirable improvements.

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Policy-makers, businesses and researchers are increasingly recognising the opportunities – and need – to move towards a circular economy, whereby discarded products are designed out or re-introduced into the economic system.

This project will focus on building a better understanding of the characteristics of business actors along the spectrum of innovation diffusion and what may help them shift towards adopting circular economy behaviours and business models.

Trial flyer here.

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Future projects 

BehaviourWorks is planning to expand the Collaboration Program into other areas affecting the Australian community. 

If you would like more information on the Collaboration or future opportunities, please contact

Seeking trial partners

For each of the three waste projects (left), BehaviourWorks is inviting and encouraging partners from both the public and private sector to help the research team run trials on the ground.

The purpose of the trials is to test ideas on what works to change behaviour, where, and for whom.

For the Kerbside Recycling project, shortlisting of trial partners and design of the trials is currently in process.

For the Consumer Labelling and Business Barriers to a Circular Economy projects, recruitment of trials partners will soon commence.

Trial delivery partners will gain access to leading behaviour change researchers from Monash University and research/evaluation services, including analysis of the trial data.

The insights from this research can be used to demonstrate thought leadership and drive real change in the community.

More information on what’s involved in being a trial partner can be found under each project tab.

Detailed information on Trial 1 (Kerbside Contamintion) and how to get involved can be found here.

All enquiries: 

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Current and previous research - reports and materials

Several papers and reports related to the Waste Collaboration Program will be published over 2018/19/20.  These reports (e.g Rapid Reviews) can be made available to organisations interested in participating in the Waste Collaboration.

We may also be able to provide reports from previous research in areas listed below.

Register your interest below and we will be in touch.

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