BIG PICTURE - THE ENVIRONMENT
There is a huge focus on food scraps and garden waste (together called 'organic waste') from both state and national governments - especially since household food waste is the largest source of food waste in Australia (Food Waste Baseline, EPA summary, page 3). Food and garden waste in landfills produce methane, a very potent greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Legislation and landfill waste levies are expected in the near future, and Glenorchy City Council will be prepared by having a universal FOGO service already operating.
For further reading, click to read DPIPWE's Draft Waste Action Plan and the National Food Waste Strategy - Halving Food Waste by 2030. Over 80 local councils are already doing FOGO and many more are in the process of introducing it.
The community asked for improved waste services and more regular kerbside services. The introduction of a FOGO service was identified as a key objective in Glenorchy City Council's Waste Management Strategy. It is an easy way for residents to recycle their organic waste (food scraps and garden waste) and a short-cut for those who don't or can't compost. It also provides composters with an easy way to dispose of items that shouldn't go into compost bins or are hard to compost like meat, dairy, citrus, eggshells, banana skins, diseased plants, brambles & thorns, pet waste etc.
Nearly half the residents in Glenorchy use some form of additional service to manage their garden 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 and convenient service on their doorstep.
FOGO also helps the community because because it halves the amount of waste sent to Landfill, leaving space for all the garbage that can’t be recycled or composted.
Currently in Glenorchy, more than 50 per cent of our general waste collection (which goes to landfill) is made up of organic waste (food scraps and garden waste). This adds up 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 organic waste from landfill, saving landfill space and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Organic waste decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen) in landfill, producing lots of methane. Methane is 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.
Collecting food scraps and garden waste (organic waste) and turning it into compost returns the nutrients to the soil and helps improve its water retention, making it better able to handle droughts and heavy rains.
Some people who compost at home are unable to aerate their compost enough, or add enough 'brown' material (dried leaves, grass or paper-based products). The compost ends up wet, slimy and decomposing anaerobically (without oxygen). This produces methane, smells bad and attracts rodents. It doesn’t produce a very good compost product either.
A FOGO collection will greatly reduce the amount of waste that goes into your general waste bin. This will be helpful if you have difficulty fitting your waste into your existing bin.
If you compost for environmental reasons, a FOGO collection will help you to dispose of organic waste you wouldn’t normally compost at home, like meat, dairy, citrus, eggshells, banana skins and other hard to compost food items*; pet fur and pet waste; and weeds, diseased plants and bigger twigs and branches if you don't have access to a mulching machine.
If you bring green waste to the landfill, you’ll no longer need to make those trips, saving you money and time. If you have a lot of garden waste, you can spread it across multiple collections.
*Look at the FAQ "What can I put in my FOGO bin" for a long list of items that are great to put into a FOGO bin.
The FOGO collection started on 17 February, and is collected on the same day but OPPOSITE week to your normal waste/recycling bins. Check your waste and recycling collection day here (GCC interactive map).
If you live in a multiple unit development with shared bins, your waste collections change to twice a week - FOGO will be collected every Tuesday, normal waste and recycling will be collected every Friday.
Every resident should have received a reminder and handy FOGO calendar a week before FOGO collections started.
NOTE: There are a limited number of households in northern Glenorchy suburbs and a few houses in central Glenorchy/Montrose that have had their collection days changed. These households were sent a letter in mid December, and two reminders in January and February. Some streets, e.g. Boxhill, Pitcairn, have been split to have different collection days on different sides of the street. This change has come from Veolia who recently reassessed their routes to make sure they are running the most efficient and cost-effective waste collection service.
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 receive a 140 litre bin, or you can ask for a smaller 140 litre FOGO bin by emailing us. If you currently share recycling and waste bins (for example, where there are multiple units), you will be given a shared bin. Please note that to make the best use of resources, Council are re-using the 140 litre recycling bins that were collected from residents when we moved to the larger recycling bin; and replacing the yellow lid with the lime-green FOGO lid. By re-using what we already have, we save money and resources.
Each household will also be provided with a small bucket with a lid and handle (called a kitchen caddy) and 12 months’ supply of compostable liner bags (a roll of 75). You can place the kitchen caddy near your normal rubbish bin, on your bench near where you prepare food, or under the kitchen sink. When it is full, tie off the bag and put into your FOGO wheelie bin. For more information on the compostable bags please read the FAQ about bags, or the FOGO Tipsheet that will be inside the kitchen caddy when it is delivered.
The FOGO wheelie bin will be collected fortnightly, on the opposite week to your general waste collection.
The contractors have finished the delivery of wheelie bins and caddies. If you have not received your wheelie bin or caddy but you can see that all your neighbours have received theirs, please contact our Customer Service team as quickly as possible on 03 6216 6800 or email email@example.com. Due to unexpected demand on caddies beyond the initial quantity ordered, there is now a six week delay for more caddies (12th March 2020).
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 (but not the pyramid-type teabags), coffee grounds and egg shells, small amounts of oils and fats;
• Garden waste – grass clippings, leaves, bark, twigs, plants and weeds (including diseased and noxious weeds as FOGO is processed at high temperatures);
• Shredded paper, paper towels, paper napkins, tissues, cotton wool balls (if 100% cotton) and cotton buds with wooden sticks;
• 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 hair, poo, organic / natural kitty litter and soiled paper from bird cages;
Please email us if your property has very little or no garden waste, and you would like a smaller 140L FOGO bin.
If it doesn’t rot, or decompose, don’t put it in. "If it didn't live or grow, it's not FOGO." This means NO:
• Plastics (not even degradable plastic bags);
• Fabric (e.g. clothing);
• Dryer lint (will contain man-made fibres);
• Vacuum cleaner bag contents (will contain inorganic residue)
• 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.
All bags in the FOGO caddy must be compostable bags, which are made out of corn or potato starch. 'Biodegradable' or 'Degradable' bags cannot be used, as these can still contain plastic and just break down into smaller bits of micro-plastic. Council has provide a roll of compostable bags (75 bags) free of charge as part of the rollout. When you use up this roll, you can buy them at Coles, Woolworths, Bunnings, specialist stores who sell environmentally friendly products, and online retailers. Please double-check they say 'compostable'. Council has investigated selling the bags through Customer Service but cannot compete with the supermarket prices, so this would not be a good use of rate-payer money.
When storing compostable bags at home, do not store then in direct sunlight, or where they could get wet, as this will make them weak and start to break down (good in a compost pile, but not in your cupboard!).
The use of compostable bags in caddies is optional, they can also be lined with paper towel, or a newspaper liner (easy how-to diagram here), or no liner and just rinsed after emptying.
FOGO WHEELIE BIN:
Please do not use big bags to line the FOGO wheelie bin, even compostable ones, for the following reasons:
1. The FOGO wheelie bin, just like the yellow-lidded recycling wheelie bin, should have 'loose' items in it. Small COMPOSTABLE bags of food waste are fine, but if the whole wheelie bin is bagged, it will be rejected by the composter as it could be hiding non-compostable items that would ruin the composting process.
2. The large 240 lt compostable bag that fits the wheelie bin is very expensive to buy, and a waste of rate-payer money if the composter rejects the bag anyway.
For tips on how to keep your FOGO wheelie bin free from any smell, see the FAQ on "Will the bins smell?"
Many people tell us they tip their recycling wheelie bins on its side every few weeks and give it a quick hose out - this could also be good for the FOGO wheelie bin. There are also private companies that offer wheelie bin washing services - just web search for "bin washing services Glenorchy".
Yes - if you meet one of the criteria below. To apply for an exemption you will need your FOGO wheelie bin number (will be embossed in white on the side of your bin) and your Property ID number (from your rates notice). This is so the computer can match up your allocated bin to your rates.
You will also need photographs that demonstrate the exemption criteria. You can apply online, or you can download a paper version, or call our Customer Service team to request a paper version be mailed to you. Or come into Council and apply in person with the two numbers (Property ID and FOGO bin number) and printed out photographs that we can put on file (please not mobile phone pics or photos on a USB). Exemptions last for two years.
Criteria 1: Home Composter
You may qualify for the ‘Home Composter’ exemption if you can demonstrate that you are effectively managing the organic waste that your property generates through a variety of methods. Download the guidelines here.
Criteria 2: Financial Hardship
If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact the Customer Service team and ask about applying for rates assistance via Council's Financial Hardship Policy. This will not mean you miss out on the FOGO service.
Criteria 3: Exceptional Circumstances
You may qualify for the Exceptional Circumstances exemption if you can demonstrate that there are exceptional or unusual circumstances which make the provision of a FOGO service unreasonable or impractical.
FOGO Exemption Applications are currently being reviewed. Properties that have applied for a FOGO Exemption may also require a site visit to review the composting systems currently in place. Others may require waste bin audits to confirm that no organic waste is going into the general waste bin. The goal of FOGO is to divert all organic waste away from landfill (where it produces greenhouse gases), and turns it into compost which returns the nutrients to the soil, as well as help protect it from droughts and heavy rainfall. FOGO compost helps Tasmanian farmers and growers.
If an Exemption Application requires a site visit we will be in contact to arrange a suitable time; waste bin audits occur on waste collection days.
On the FOGO Exemption Application Form is the following statement: “Your application for a FOGO Exemption will be reviewed as quickly as possible. If your application is successful you will be notified by mail before the end of June 2020 and Council will collect your FOGO bin in July.”
Properties that have applied for an Exemption are still welcome to use the FOGO service up until the end of June, and to keep the kitchen caddy.
Residents who compost their food scraps and garden waste well are a great example to others.
FOGO still helps home composters however. The FOGO composting program can take things that should not go in a home composting bin (like all meat, bones and dairy); or do not easily rot or need to be chopped up small, like banana skins, eggshells, citrus, onions, fruit pips and stones, nut shells, corn cobs, some brassicas, 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, egg cartons, cardboard toilet rolls and paper towel rolls, and pet poo. FOGO offers a doorstop collection service and a easy short-cut to composting these items. Diseased plants or weeds are also excellent for a FOGO and should not go in a home compost bin, as most home composting systems do not get hot enough to destroy pathogens or weeds completely, unless it is a HOT composting system. Click here (external link to Google search) for more information on hot composting.
FOGO composting is done by an industrial composting process which is done at a very high heat to kill pathogens and weeds, and also releases very little of the bad greenhouse gas methane, so is an excellent environmental option.
Composting done at home can go anaerobic if not turned properly, gets too wet or doesn't have 60% carbon-based material added (dried leaves, bark, grass or paper). Home composting of food waste takes quite a bit of work and maintenance to make sure it doesn't go anaerobic and produce methane. If your compost is too wet, slimy and smelly, it is producing methane.
Most people do not think of their 'foodprint', but on average, research has shown that we waste 1kg per person per week, or 5.46 litres. Food waste comes from preparing and cooking food, and the food we bought to eat but then threw away. There are two types of food waste: 'avoidable' and 'unavoidable'. Unavoidable is the inedible parts of food – trim, peel, shells, bones etc. Avoidable food waste comes from leftover meals or cooking too much (e.g. pasta/rice), when food is out of date, stale, too soft or hard to eat anymore or gone past the expiry date.
It is rare to not produce any type of food waste, however if you eat outside of your own home every night, get Meals on Wheels or your food is prepared for you outside of your home, you will have virtually no food waste. If this is you, please put your name on our Waste Policy update list, and we will let you know your FOGO Exemption options when the Waste Policy is released.
Even if you have no garden, we still need your food waste to stop going to landfill. A FOGO bin is not like a regular waste bin, we do not expect it to ever be full if you do not have green waste. However every little bit of food waste not going to landfill helps the environment. All food scraps in landfill, no matter how small, make methane and become a greenhouse gas.
By recycling your food scraps in your FOGO bin, you will help stop a major environmental problem.
Yes. If you have limited space, access or mobility issues you can request a smaller 140L outdoor FOGO wheelie bin by calling us or emailing us. UPDATE: 14 Jan - All requests will now be reviewed after the roll-out and where applicable the 240L bin will be swapped out for a 140L bin.
If you are unable to put your wheelie bin at the kerbside due to being of advanced age, illness or a physical disability, the drivers can collect your bin from inside your property - there just needs to be a safe place to park the garbage collection truck, and the drivers can see the bins from the kerb (this is due to insurance regulations). This 'Driver to Collect' service is a free service to residents. To register you will need to provide a Doctor's Certificate - please contact us for more information. Driver to Collect residents will automatically get smaller 140L FOGO bins, and the FOGO bin will also be collected by the drivers in the same way as their waste and recycling. Note FOGO is collected on the opposite week to waste and recycling.
The collection and correct disposal of garbage for 46,000+ residents is Council’s second biggest cost next to Capital Works. Landfill costs are increasing, and Council have to pay gate fees (by volume) for putting household waste into landfill. By introducing FOGO, Council is reducing the volume going to landfill and saving money on these landfill gate fees. This will help cover landfill cost increases.
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 rubbish bin and reduce your costs.
FOGO also helps anyone who drives to the Jackson Street Landfill and pays gate fees for dumping 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.
Veolia transports the waste to a depot in Bridgewater. From there it is transported to an experienced Industrial Composting / FOGO operation based at Interlaken who will mulch the food and garden waste and turn it into finished compost that meets Australian Industry Standard for Composts, Soil Conditioners and Mulches (AS 4454-2012). Pure Living Soils sells the finished compost to the Agricultural sector, professional landscapers and the nursery industry. Council pay Veolia and Barwicks/Pure Living Soils to accept the FOGO waste. In the future Council may be able to receive some of the composted material back for resident use; however for the introduction of FOGO this was not an option.
As part of reviewing fees and charges for 2020/21 rates, Council will track the volume of FOGO waste that has successfully been diverted away from landfill - this will help us to measure how much has been saved in landfill costs. The final cost per rateable property will only be known after the service has been evaluated.
An original estimate was less than $2 per week per rateable property, currently the estimate is closer to $80 per year. However only a successful, universal FOGO collection service will help bring costs down below the original estimate.
Council is also continuing to collaborate 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.
Every villa or unit has received an indoor kitchen caddy and outdoor FOGO wheelie bins. Council has reviewed complexes to make sure bin size and collection arrangements are suitable, and a variety of wheelie bin sizes (140 litres, 240 litres and/or 360 litres) have been allocated. Council will continue to assess these complexes for the next few months to see if the number of FOGO bins and waste bins are suitable and being used correctly.
Starting February 17th, FOGO will be collected every Tuesday, and waste/recycling collection every Friday. A twice-weekly collection service is necessary due to limited space on kerbs for bins.
Every resident received 3 mail-outs in their letterboxes (December, January and February) which provided information about FOGO and their changed collection schedule.
Every house, villa or unit has received an indoor kitchen caddy, as every household has some type of food waste. Properties that share bins with others have moved to twice weekly waste collection (this is due to limited space on kerbs for bins). FOGO will be collected on a Tuesday, waste and recycling will be collected on a Friday. Every resident received two reminders in their letterboxes before the service changed to twice weekly collections.
FOGO rate costs for 2020-21 will also be adjusted to reflect shared bins.
Residents who share their outdoor bins cannot apply for an Exemption, as the cost of collecting the FOGO waste is split between every property. With shared bins, it is also not possible to identify which households are using the FOGO bins, and which are not.
Every little bit of FOGO waste will become compost - the goal of FOGO is to return the nutrients to Tassie’s soils and stop it being buried forever in landfills where it makes greenhouse gases.
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 it composted at a higher temperature than can be achieved in a home composting system. This industrial composting process treats all pathogens and bacteria to a safe level - to ensure this, industrial composting facilities go through stringent environmental assessments and are closely regulated. Composted material 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.
When collecting animal poo for your FOGO bin, please always wear gloves, as it can contain diseases and parasites dangerous to humans. We recommend you wrap it in newspaper first to keep you FOGO bin clean, or put it in a compostable bag. You can use the compostable bags Council provided in the caddies, but please keep in mind Council cannot subsidise extra bags for pet owners. Extra compostable bags are found at Woolworths (top shelf, brand "Glad to be Green" approx $4.00 a roll), Coles (brand Multix "Greener Compostable Bag", approx $3.20 a roll), Bunnings (brand "Maze Compostable Bin Liners", approx $5.50 a roll in the composting section) and gardening stores, environmentally focused stores or online outlets. Always look for the compostable logo - 'plant based' or 'biodegradable' often still contain plastic and break down into micro-plastics.
PLEASE DO NOT PUT PLASTIC BAGS IN YOUR FOGO BIN - this will be rejected by the composter who may need to send the whole truck back to landfill.
Only kitty litter marked 'organic' can go into your FOGO bin e.g. made from corn, wheat, pine, newspaper or walnut shells. Bird cage bottom liners can go in if they are made from newspaper.
Once FOGO collections start on February 17th, no animal waste is to be put into regular waste bins. Animal waste in a landfill produces methane and carbon dioxide as it breaks down anaerobically, but at a composting facility it breaks down aerobically and is much better for our environment.
No, but your tenant can apply if you give them permission. Only the person living at the address can demonstrate the ways that they can consistently keep their own organic waste out of their general waste bin and not go to landfill. If your tenant wants to apply, you will need to provide them with a written letter of consent and the Property Identification Number of their rental, which is listed on your rates notice. An FOGO Exemption lasts for two years.
No - the goal of FOGO is to stop organic waste going into landfill. Please encourage your gardener to put your smaller garden waste into your FOGO bin, it can take small twigs and branches up to the thickness of your forearm, the bin lid must close and it must not be so heavy that it is hard for you to move on collection day.
If you or your gardener maintains a green waste compost pile on your property, and you compost your food waste in a composting system that matches your food waste output, you are not sending organic waste to landfill and you can apply for an Exemption. Please refer to the FOGO Exemptions Update leaflet here for more information.
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, 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.
No. The goal of FOGO is to stop organic waste going to landfill. You may only use your Trash Pack for garden waste, but others use them for many different types of waste. Trash Pack operators are not responsible for sorting the collected rubbish into organics and non-organics and it all goes to landfill sites.
There is no difference in your volume of food scraps, just with FOGO they go into a different bin. Food scraps go into small compostable kitchen caddy liner bags, which helps contain smell and prevents ants getting in (Council provide these free of charge).
Draining off wet left-overs before putting into your kitchen caddy, and adding paper towel or tissues, will also reduce the chance of any bad smells. Not putting your kitchen caddy in full sunlight, and freezing anything very smelly (e.g. leftover fish scraps) until collection day, are also good tips. By downloading the free App "Recycle Coach" you will get timely mobile phone notifications that your FOGO bin is due to go out - this can be a reminder to put the frozen food waste into your outdoor FOGO bin.
FOGO WHEELIE BIN:
Your kitchen scraps will be bagged in small compostable bags, which will hold in the smell. Bagging the food waste also means that it won't mix with the garden waste and start to compost in the wheelie bin. The amount of green waste that will rot over the two week collection period won’t contribute to bad smells (it might smell a bit like a forest though!). If you shred paper at your house, you can put layers of shredded paper in your FOGO bin to help absorb any 'sweat' that the green waste creates. Try not to store the FOGO wheelie bin in all-day sun if at all possible.
LAWN CLIPPINGS: The best environmental option for lawn clippings is to leave them on the grass, but sometimes this is not practical. A good tip is to put a layer of grass clippings in the bottom of the FOGO wheelie bin – they will ‘matt’ together in a couple of days and form a plug. When the FOGO truck empties the bin, this 'plug' will slide out and help clean the sides of the FOGO bin at the same time. But don’t fill the FOGO wheelie bin more than a quarter-full with grass clippings, as this would make the bin very heavy and the ‘plug’ could get stuck.
Council hosted four public information sessions in January for anyone who wants to find out more about the FOGO service - what it mean for their waste collection schedule, tips on how to easily collect your food waste, manage green waste and keep your caddy and bin free from smells.
The final session was on 14 January and was recorded with an Auslan interpreter. This session has been uploaded to our website and can be viewed here.
Rates are issued once a year and you will see the new FOGO charge for the service that starts in February 2020. 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 $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 roll-out costs, including buying the bins, kitchen caddies and compostable bags, and setting up the program. The $35 is non-refundable, but if you are successful in applying for an Exemption in February, you will not have a FOGO charge on your 2020/21 rates.
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 1,300 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 a FOGO service 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.
Applications to receive a FOGO service will be assessed after July 2020.
Yes, in Tasmania so far Launceston, Meander Valley, West Tamar Council, Central Coast Council and Hobart City Council provide a FOGO service. We have entered into a joint tender with Hobart to encourage competitive pricing for our FOGO waste. At last count, 81 interstate councils are already doing FOGO, and many more are in the implementation stage. There is an excellent article on the community benefits of FOGO here.
If you have any questions or comments, we encourage you to contact our Customer Service Team on 03 6216 6800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the information provided in these FOGO FAQs is accurate as of December 2019, but may be subject to change due to circumstances beyond the control of council.