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.


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 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.

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 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.

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. 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.

The FOGO wheelie bin will be collected fortnightly, on the opposite week to your general waste collection.

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;

• Garden 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 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);

• 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.

When the service is rolled out in February, there will be opportunities to apply for an exemption, based on the following:

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Criterion 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.

Please add yourself to this list to be kept up-to-date on FOGO updates. The FOGO Information Leaflet can be downloaded here, and more information on the Exemption Criteria here.

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.

FOGO composting is done by an industrial composting process 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.

Download the latest fact sheet on FOGO here, and information on Exemption Criteria can be downloaded here.

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.

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.

The cost of providing the service is estimated at less than $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.

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.

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.

Download the latest fact sheet on FOGO here, and information on Exemption Criteria can be downloaded here.

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.

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.

Download the latest fact sheet on FOGO here, and information on Exemption Criteria can be downloaded here.

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.

Download the latest fact sheet on FOGO here, and information on Exemption Criteria can be downloaded here.

All bags in the FOGO caddy or outdoor bin must be compostable bags, which are made out of corn starch. 'Biodegradable' or 'degradable' bags should not be used, as these just break down into smaller fragments of plastic. Council will provide a years' supply of kitchen caddy compostable bags free of charge. Compostable bags are also available at Coles, Woolworths, Bunnings, and online, please double-check they say 'compostable'. When storing the compostable bags at home, do not store then in direct sunlight or where they will get wet.

There is no difference in the volume of food scraps, just that 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).

Adding paper towel, tissues, shredded paper and garden waste will also reduce the chance of any bad smell. 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 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.

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 Australian Industry Standard for Composts, Soil Conditioners and Mulches (AS 4454-2012).

Once we know where the final product will be used we will let the community know.

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 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.

Yes. The FOGO rollout is happening in Feb 2020, currently the Waste Services team are working on the Exemption Policies and on reviewing all of Glenorchy's 600+ properties with flats that have outdoor bins, to make sure they receive the right number of FOGO bins to suit their needs. These are just two parts to the roll-out that need to be tailored to suit Glenorchy residents. As more details are finalised, they will be announced. If you'd like to be the first to know, please provide your contact information on this page.

Yes, in Tasmania so far Launceston, Meander Valley, West Tamar Council and Central Coast Council provide a FOGO service and Hobart City Council is starting to collect FOGO in November. 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

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

UPDATE! Our next FREE WASTE Weekend runs from Saturday 23 Nov to Monday 25 Nov. For Glenorchy residents only (you'll need ID), all domestic volumes of waste welcome (e.g. ute or trailer). Free entry does not apply to mattresses, tyres, paints, chemicals, asbestos or other hazardous waste.