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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 our partners together to find behavioural solutions to bigger challenges – issues that impact the environment and the amenity/livability of our cities?’

Members of the BehaviourWorks Consortium agreed to collaborate, focusing on the issue of waste as the first major project.

Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration

BehaviourWorks has conducted 40 waste projects since 2011. These projects underpin the Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration.

The collaboration involves five partners with expertise in the sector: Sustainability Victoria, Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Environment Protection Authority Victoria, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

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) are being conducted between July 2019 and July 2020.

Each project follows the BehaviourWorks Method drawing on system mapping, stakeholder interviews, evidence reviews, intervention trials and stakeholder dialogues.


Contamination of household recycling is a persistent problem that 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 in the first place and what interventions are effective.

The first phase of this project is a rapid evidence review. These insights will underpin trials with local governments, private sector organisations and environmental agencies. 


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 and 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.


Policymakers, 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. 

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Current status

More than 20 local governments and 12 business field trial partners are now involved in delivering recycling and CE trials. The purpose of the trials is to test ideas on what works to change behaviour, where, and for whom.

Updates will be provided as soon as possible, but in the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact: 

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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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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