Case study: Cleaner streets in more ways than one

Case study: Cleaner streets in more ways than one

An innovative service delivery model is helping Melbourne become a smart, sustainable city. Since September of 2018, Good Cycles has partnered with Citywide leading to a reduction in hundreds of trips by truck into the CBD, reducing an estimated 13.9 tonnes of carbon emissions. This is through the use of e-cargo bikes to maintain 451 solar bins and collect organic waste from 12 Melbourne CBD traders.

Good Cycles performing work on an ebike in Melbourne

Citywide identified two areas in their waste management services that could be improved upon with the assistance of Good Cycles; organic waste collection and solar bins.

Both areas were faced with the challenge of using trucks in small and already congested city streets. The use of trucks also proved costly, a contributor to carbon emissions and inefficient for the areas needing to be accessed. Trucks would often need to be parked, which also proved difficult on busy city streets, and the operator would then need to complete the journey on foot. 

Realising this, an opportunity to utilise bikes in place of trucks was identified. By partnering with Good Cycles, Citywide was able to replace heavy vehicle movements with e-cargo bikes that were less dangerous to pedestrians, reduced congestion and emissions, and allowed for the operator to get much closer to their destination. The use of bikes also gave way to a larger footprint of CBD traders that could contribute their organic waste to the Degraves St Recycling Facility (DSRF).


Maintaining solar bins

Good Cycles initiated the maintenance of Melbourne’s cutting-edge solar compacting bins in September 2018 to provide a better solution to responding to bin error alerts.

  • Using a location-based app and support from Citywide ops team, Good Cycles responds to alerts broadcast by solar bins when an issue occurs
  • Good Cycles attend to alerts on e-cargo bikes in a timely, logical manner. Resolution of issues are then recorded on the app and any major issues are resolved in collaboration with Citywide
  • Bin errors range from chute and sensor blockages to battery or solar panel technical issues
  • Bins are also systematically cleaned after an issue is resolved or during rostered cleaning routes.
  • Current services operate during weekday business hours and peak periods (i.e. New Year’s Eve)
Good Cycles maintaining a solar bin in Melbourne CBD
Good Cycles collecting organic waste in Degraves Street Melbourne

Organic Waste Service

Good Cycles has broadened Degraves St Recycling Facility services by offering traders located outside the existing service area an opportunity to participate in sustainable organic waste management and avoid landfill.

  • As part of the solar bin shifts, Good Cycles team members also incorporate organic waste collections.
  • Organic waste is collected on e-cargo bikes at convenient times for interested traders 5 days a week.
  • Organic waste is processed at the Facility to increase resource productivity.
  • Working in conjunction with Citywide, Good Cycles has processed over 18,488.57kg of organic waste, which would have otherwise gone into landfill.

The outcome

From January 2019 to December 2020*, the Citywide and Good Cycles partnership has achieved:

  • 30,276 total visits
  • 16,331 apertures unblocked
  • 2,693 bin doors checked and locked
  • 825 special requests (Citywide makes these on an ad-hoc basis, they include checking up on a bin and retrieving lost property)
  • 13,120 routine cleans
  • 18,488.57kg of organic waste collected and diverted from landfill 
  • 2,034 organic waste collections (which is also the number of heavy vehicle movements saved)
Bin maintenance and organic waste outcome

* The waste services contract began in September 2018, but data for the first few months is incomplete.

The impact

The social impact:

  • Meaningful employment for 17 young people at-risk of disengagement
  • Removed 6 entry-level barriers to employment for young people:
    • A drivers licence was not required
    • A certification for work was not required (the job provided a certification for work)
    • A lack of relevant industry experience was solved and permanently removed
    • Educational qualifications were not required
    • Multilingual people were partnered with others to help improve English skills, providing training, social connection, and support.
    • Resume support was provided
  • Replaced an estimated 30,276 heavy vehicle movements across the City of Melbourne with trips on e-bikes (calculated as 1 movement per Good Cycles visit to a bin)
  • Saved 13,870kg CO2 by covering 21691 km on eBikes instead of truck*

*The figures for CO2 emissions saved is the difference between an ebike and a 3.5 ton diesel truck over that distance. The data for each vehicle’s emission level comes from a Portland State University report (ebike), and the UK government (truck).