All About FOGO

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(Lots of letters, but it all comes back to u.)

Glenorchy City Council will be introducing a fortnightly FOGO (Food Organics and Garden Organics) kerbside collection service in February 2020.

FOGO helps residents because it halves the amount of waste sent to Landfill, leaving space for all the garbage that can’t be recycled or composted. The new FOGO service will be an easy way to separate and throw away your organic waste. You will get an outdoor wheelie bin with a light green lid and a small bucket called a kitchen caddy. Council will collect the outdoor bin on the opposite week to your regular garbage and recycling collection, a timetable will be supplied closer to the February 2020 roll-out.

Rates are issued once a year and you will see the new FOGO charge for the service that starts in February 2020. The $35 charge has been applied to every household except those in rural living and rural resource zones, and covers collection and treatment costs from February 2020 until June 2020, as well as all rollout costs, including buying the bins and setting up the program.

Rates are sent out once a year and residents can choose to pay annually, quarterly, monthly or even weekly. By putting the FOGO charge on the rates notice now instead of February makes it easier for ratepayers to plan their payments.

The cost of providing the service is estimated at $2 per week per rateable property. Council has not yet determined exactly how much it will cost, and will make this decision as part of setting the fees and charges in June 2020.

Council is continuing to work with other southern councils to see how we can work together and get compost processing services closer to Hobart. This will help to further reduce the cost.

The collection and correct disposal of garbage for 46,000+ residents is council’s biggest cost. Landfill costs are increasing, and by introducing FOGO council is planning ahead to limit the cost risk for ratepayers. By diverting this waste away from Landfill this will maximise the life of landfills and keep costs down.

If you are one of the many thousand residents who pay extra for a larger bin or a weekly collection, by using the FOGO bin you should be able to go back down to the normal 140L size bin and reduce your costs.

FOGO also helps anyone who drives to the Landfill and pays gate fees for their garden waste – FOGO is done for you on your doorstep, saving you time and gate fees.

FOGO also helps anyone who currently pays for their garden waste to be taken away.

There will be three types of Exemptions available for FOGO:

(1) If you are going through financial hardship and Council is helping with your rates through their Financial Hardship Policy

(2) If you live on a rural block (but you can opt into FOGO by emailing us);

(3) If you can show that you already divert all your food and garden waste.

Exemption (1) can be applied for immediately.

Exemption (2) has already been applied on 2019-20 rates notices to all rural resource and rural living zones.

Council is developing the Exemption Policy (3) in partnership with other councils and the compost processor. More information will be shared on (3) before the FOGO roll-out – this policy must be simple and fair for all Glenorchy residents, and is a high priority. Exemption (3) can only be applied for after the February roll-out.

If you would like to be contacted when the Exemption Policy (3) has been finalised, please let us know by providing your contact details here.

Every house or unit will receive an indoor kitchen caddy. Council is currently reviewing unit complexes and group care homes to make sure bin size and collection arrangements are suitable.

FOGO collection details for those who have shared bins will be provided before the February rollout.

FOGO rate costs for 2020-21 will also be adjusted to reflect shared bins.

Residents who compost their food scraps and garden waste are a great example to others.

FOGO still helps home composters however. The FOGO composting program can take things that do not easily rot or need to be chopped up small in a home composting bin, such as meat, fish and bones (which attract rodents), eggshells, nut shells, egg cartons, cardboard toilet rolls and paper towel rolls, corn cobs, onions, citrus, some brassicas, fruit pips and stones, banana skins, watermelon skins, old dry pasta, teabags (with staples), toothpicks, wooden skewers, compostable plates, cups and cutlery, chewing gum, natural cork, wood chips, sawdust, pine needles, pine cones and pet waste. FOGO offers a safe short-cut to composting these items.

FOGO composting also releases very little of the bad greenhouse gas methane, so is an excellent environmental option.

Residents will be given a 240-litre wheelie bin for any organic waste, including:

• Food scraps – vegetables, seafood, dairy, meat and bones (cooked or raw), teabags, coffee grounds and egg shells;

• Lawn waste – grass clippings, leaves, bark, twigs, plants and weeds;

• Shredded paper, paper towels, paper napkins and tissues;

• Food-contaminated or food soiled cardboard (e.g. pizza boxes with food on them);

• Personal cuttings – hair from hairbrushes or haircuts, and nail clippings; and

• Animal waste – such as pet poo, organic / natural kitty litter and soiled paper from bird cages;

If it doesn’t rot, or decompose, don’t put it in. In general, only things that were once alive or were grown should go in your FOGO bin. This means no:

• Plastics (not even degradable plastic bags);

• Nappies;

• Fabric (e.g. clothing);

• Hard waste or broken household items, like furniture or plates and cups;

• Plastic take-away containers;

• Hazardous or contaminated waste, like asbestos;

• Thick branches; and

• Nothing that is currently allowed to go in your recycling bin.

Yes. FOGO is a safer, more hygienic option than home composting dog and cat poo, burying it in your garden or putting it in your general waste bin. FOGO is collected and transported directly to a commercial composting facility where an industrial composting process treats all pathogens and bacteria to a safe level. Industrial composting facilities need to go through stringent environmental assessment and regulation. Composting needs to meet relevant Australian Standards (AS 4454-2012) and the facility will regularly test and send off samples of their compost to laboratories to ensure that it is safe.

A FOGO collection will greatly reduce the amount of waste that goes into your general waste bin. This will be convenient if you have difficulty fitting your waste into your existing bin.

If you compost for environmental reasons, a FOGO collection will help you to responsibly dispose of material you wouldn’t normally compost at home, like dog poo or meat scraps, which attract pests.

If you bring green waste to the landfill or pay for a private green waste collection service, you’ll no longer need to make those trips, saving you money and time. If you generate a lot of garden waste, you can spread it across multiple collections.

Currently in Glenorchy, more than 50 per cent of our general waste collection (which goes to landfill) is made up of FOGO waste. This equates to more than 4,000 tonnes of waste a year. Additionally, around 3,000 tonnes of garden waste is brought to landfill by residents each year.

The FOGO collection service will divert all this waste from landfill, saving space and reducing greenhouse emissions.

Organic waste decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen) in landfill, producing lots of methane. Methane is about 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Currently, some of this methane is captured and used to make electricity (enough for 1200+ homes). If FOGO is collected and composted, it breaks down aerobically (with oxygen) and so very little methane will be produced at all.

Collecting FOGO and turning it into compost conserves organic compounds and nutrients by returning them to the soil, instead of burning them or burying them where nothing is being grown.

Some people who compost at home are unable to sufficiently aerate their compost so it ends up decomposing anaerobically (without oxygen), which produces methane and can smell and attract rodents. It doesn’t produce a very good compost product either.

You will receive a 240-litre wheelie bin with a lime green lid, the same size as your recycling bin. If you have limited space, access or mobility issues you may request a smaller bin. If you currently share recycling and waste bins (for example, where there are multiple units), you will receive a shared bin.

Each household will also be provided with a small bucket with a lid and handle called a kitchen caddy and a 12 months’ supply of compostable liner bags. The caddy is a small bucket with a lid and a handle that you can keep in your kitchen to transfer food waste to your wheelie bin.

The service will operate fortnightly in alternate weeks to your general waste collection.

If you have limited space, access or mobility issues you may request a smaller outdoor bin. If you are unable to place your wheelie bin at the kerbside due to age, illness or a physical disability, our drivers will collect your bin from inside your property. To get the 'Driver to Collect' service you will need to provide a Doctor's Certificate. Please note however that in some instances we may not be able to provide this service. To apply for this service or for more information, please contact us.

All food preparation produces some type of food waste, which should not go to Landfill. We need all the food waste in Glenorchy to stop going to Landfill and any scraps you have will help.

FOGO will also help you, as there are many items that should not go into a garbage disposal, but should also not go into landfill.

Examples include fruit pips and stones, large bones, prawn shells (smell), fibrous skins such as banana peels, corn husks, onion skins, left-over celery, artichokes, asparagus; larger volumes of potato peels (which cause problems due to the high starch content), nuts, rice and pasta (which can continue to expand even after cooking). FOGO also takes all your paper towel and tissues.

All bags in the FOGO caddy or outdoor bin must be compostable bags. Biodegradable bags should not be used, as these just break down into smaller fragments of plastic. They do not decompose.

There is no difference in the volume of food scraps, just that they go into a different bin. Adding paper towel, tissues, shredded paper and garden waste will also reduce smell. Not putting your kitchen caddy in full sunlight is also a good tip. We will provide more tips closer to roll-out.

The food and garden waste will be mulched together by a professional composting company, so it will be safely broken down via a natural process that makes sure there is enough oxygen for aerobic decomposition. The finished compost needs to meet relevant Australian Standards (AS 4454-2012) and the final compost product is safe and excellent for agricultural and domestic garden use.

Once council knows where the final product will be used they will let the community know.

The community has asked for improved waste services and more regular kerbside services.

Nearly half the residents in Glenorchy use some form of additional service to manage their organic waste, including trash packs, private collections, larger bins, private gardeners or taking green waste to the landfill. The introduction of a FOGO service will provide an affordable service for all residents.

Organics make up nearly half of the waste in the general waste bin. Separating and composting the material will remove it from landfill and reduce greenhouse gases.

Council conducted an extensive survey to gauge the level of community interest in a FOGO collection service and their willingness to pay for such a service.

The survey indicated significant support from the community, with more than 1,400 survey responses received. Of these responses, 90 per cent identified a FOGO service as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’.

The consultation process started in November 2018 and was voted on and passed by council at the 25 March 2019 General Meeting.

Those in rural resource and rural living zones will not receive the service but will be able to apply to receive FOGO by emailing us with their details.

The service will not be automatically provided to businesses, but those entitled to a bin collection service will also be able to apply to receive the service by emailing us.

Yes, in Tasmania so far Launceston, Meander Valley and West Tamar Councils provide a FOGO service. Central Coast Council is planning to introduce a FOGO service in 2019. Hobart currently provides a green waste collection service and is planning to upgrade to a FOGO service. Many interstate and overseas councils are providing FOGO services.

If you have any questions or comments, we encourage you to contact our customer service team on 03 6216 6800 or email gccmail@gcc.tas.gov.au.

All the information provided in these FOGO FAQs is accurate as of July 2019, but may be subject to change due to circumstances beyond the control of council.