Keen composters taking up FOGO
Published on 14 November 2023
Community members have used the introduction of food and garden organics bins to complement their composting efforts, helping to avoid food waste going to landfill.
From 2 October, FOGO collections began in the Yarra Ranges, ensuring that food scraps and garden organics could be turned into useful compost and kept out of landfill.
In the first month of FOGO collections, Council’s waste contractors reported a 41 per cent decrease in waste going to landfill, compared with waste collected in October 2022.
Healesville resident, Jacinta, said the FOGO bin complemented her family’s existing home composting.
“We put coffee grounds and scraps on our home compost, but we couldn’t compost citrus, paper products or meat,” she said.
“We also have a big garden, so now I can be more productive and put more green waste out, whereas before I’d stop for the fortnight when the bin became full.
“There are now things we do that we didn’t before, such as rinsing out packaging and making sure to sort recyclables from landfill better. Because the rubbish bin is collected fortnightly, we’re more aware of what goes in it.
“Our normal landfill bin is now very empty, and I’ve heard from my friends that it’s the same for them.
She said the design on top of the caddy, showing what foods can go in the FOGO bin, helped teach the family about what can – and can’t – go in compost.
“The change has been relatively easy,” Jacinta said.
“The biggest change was getting the whole household on board. We had to pay a bit more attention, so we had to fish out a few things from the landfill bin that could go in the kitchen caddy, or remind people as they emptied their plates.
Healesville residents, Karen and Michael, said the new bin had been a game-changer to help get rid of garden waste.
“Previously, we’ve hot-composted our garden waste and separated harder material for later burning, which is labour-intensive, and created a bit of a haven for snakes,” Karen said.
“Now, we can get rid of it weekly. I’m hoping that for those people who don’t know what composting is, they can get rid of their organic material in an environmentally-friendly way.
“We also have a short-term rental cottage on our property, and have struggled to get visitors to understand what is ‘organic’ and can go in the compost; the kitchen caddy makes it easier for them, and helps us sort our garbage appropriately.”
Yarra Ranges Mayor, Jim Child, said the FOGO bin would complement home composting.
“Quite simply, this bin is going to be used very differently by people across the municipality,” Cr Child said.
“Some people have home composting well sorted – so the FOGO bin becomes a place to put those difficult to compost things, like meat, bones, dairy and citrus.
“For people who don’t have those as an issue, the FOGO bin is a place to put weeds and small branches, to help maintain the property ahead of and during the fire season.
“We also know that some people can’t compost, or can only compost sometimes. The FOGO bin is there for whenever you need to get rid of food or organics.
“I’d like to thank our community members for how much they have embraced their new bins, helping us avoid food waste going to landfill, and ensuring that scraps can have a new life, enriching soil across the region.”
FOGO collections are a result of the State Government’s Circular Economy plan, which will see every Council in Victoria provide FOGO collections and glass recycling by 2030.
To find out more about FOGO collections – including what can, and can’t, go in your bin, visit yarraranges.vic.gov.au/whywasteit