FOGO waste service keeps a lid on landfill

FOGO waste service keeps a lid on landfill
Brendan Rees

West Melbourne resident Emma Cook says doing her bit to help the environment by recycling food and garden organic waste from home has been hugely rewarding.

She is among many residents across 23,000 households embracing the City of Melbourne’s FOGO (food organics garden organics) waste service since it was rolled out in June 2021.

So far, it has seen 3900 tonnes of food and garden organics diverted from landfill.

“Since my partner and I started using our FOGO bin, we’ve made an effort to involve our five-year-old daughter too,” Emma said.

“We’ve been teaching her to put her food scraps into our FOGO bin after she’s finished eating each meal. It’s been a really rewarding process as she has been learning about recycling at kinder, and we can see how easily she has introduced these behaviours at home too.”

The program works by households, including low-rise apartments, using a kitchen caddy to collect food scraps, which, when full, is emptied into the FOGO bin marked with a green lid.

Sustainability Victoria interim CEO Matt Genever said when correctly used, food scraps and garden clippings were turned into mulch and compost that could help grow food again.

Mr Genever said a study conducted by Fiftyfive5 on behalf of Sustainability Victoria showed more than half of Victorians didn’t know that sending organic waste to landfill resulted in greenhouse gas emissions and contributed to climate change.

“Most Victorians (66 per cent) also don’t know that if people put the wrong things into their FOGO bins, councils pay more to send it to landfill.”

Mr Genever added recycling 3900 tonnes was the equivalent of filling the main pool at the Melbourne City Baths more than 71 times.

“The mulch and compost made from your food scraps and garden clippings are used on farms, and on local parks and gardens. They are processed right here in Victoria and are used across the state to improve soil quality.”

Emma, who owns sustainable business the Australian Natural Soap Company, said it gave her great joy knowing their food and garden organics were going to good use.

“It gives me such a buzz. Most weeks, our FOGO bin is filled up more than our general waste bin, so if everyone in Victoria was doing the same, I can only imagine how much less food and garden organics would go to landfill. It would have a massive impact on the war on waste.”

A food organics high-rise pilot is also under way for selected buildings across the municipality. •


Caption: Emma Cook and her daughter Elloise Scherz with their FOGO bin. Photo: Hanna Komissarova.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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