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What is FOGO?

Brighton Council is introducing a FOGO (Food Organics, Garden Organics) service in 2021.

A FOGO service will mean a third kerbside bin, 240 litres in size, for food scraps and garden waste only. The bin will have a lime green lid and be collected fortnightly on a different day to your other bins.

Your FOGO bin will be delivered to your property from September 2021 onwards, with the collection service to start in October 2021.

Council is offering a free FOGO trial period of two (2) months for all those residents who currently have a kerbside bin collection, with the potential to opt out of the FOGO service at the end of the free trial period based on specific criteria.

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.

It’s a shortcut for those who can’t currently compost or aren’t sure about how to compost at home.

A FOGO collection will help you to dispose of organic waste you perhaps wouldn’t normally compost at home, like meat, dairy, citrus, eggshells, banana skins plus 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 have normally taken green waste to the Waste Transfer Station, 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.

FOGO reduces the amount of waste going to landfill and will help save all ratepayers increased costs associated with landfill due to the waste levy that will be introduced in Tasmania in the near future.

Household food waste is the largest source of food waste in Australia and a major focus for governments.

When food and garden waste rots in landfill it creates harmful greenhouse gases, takes up space and requires more and bigger landfills.

Food and garden waste collected by FOGO is turned into compost and used to improve the soil health of Tasmania’s gardens and farms.

When FOGO waste is taken out of landfills, space is saved for all garbage that can’t be recycled and there is a significant drop in the volume of greenhouse gases produced.

All residential properties will receive a 240 litre wheelie bin for FOGO with a lime green lid, the same size as your recycling bin. If you currently live in a dwelling where there are multiple units and shared bins you won’t automatically receive a FOGO bin when they are delivered but you will be able to receive one upon request.

The FOGO bins will be delivered beginning of September 2021 and the service will commence in October 2021 for a free two month trial period.

Each household will also be provided with a small bucket (with a lid and handle) called a kitchen caddy, just like the small compost or ‘chook’ buckets you might already have in your kitchen for food scraps. 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 simply empty it into your FOGO wheelie bin.

The FOGO wheelie bin will be collected fortnightly, on a different day to your other bins.

The new charge will be shown on your Annual Rate Notice for 2021-22 as Waste Service Charge – FOGO. The full annual charge for a FOGO service is $65 or $2.50 per fortnight.  However, as the service is only commencing in October and there is a free two (2) month trial period, you will only be charged $38 for the 2021-2022 financial year.  The paid service will commence 1 December 2021.

Should you be eligible to opt out after your free two (2) month trial period, you will be credited any amount charged on your rates for FOGO.

Residents will receive a 240 litre wheelie bin with a light green lid for any organic waste, including:

  • Food scraps – vegetables, seafood (including all seafood shells e.g oyster, crayfish), 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;

If it doesn’t rot, or decompose, you can’t put it in a FOGO bin. “If it didn’t live or grow, it’s not FOGO.”

This means NO to:
• Plastics (not even bio-degradable plastic bags);
• Nappies;
• Fabric (e.g. clothing);
• Dryer lint (will contain man-made fibres e.g. nylon, polyester etc);
• 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.

Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase. This equates to 1 in every 5 bags of groceries purchased. When you throw out food you also waste the water, fuel and resources it took to get the food from the paddock to your home. Most people do not think of their ‘food-print’, but on average, research has shown that we waste 1kg per person per week or 5.46 litres.

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. Most of our ‘avoidable’ and ‘unavoidable’ food waste can go into a FOGO bin and you might be surprised as to how much your household actually produces.

Even if you don’t have a garden, we still need to stop food waste 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 garden 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 a FOGO bin, you will help stop a major environmental problem.

All residential households (unless you live in units or townhouses where there are 3 or more residences) will receive a FOGO wheelie bin and a kitchen caddy, with deliveries starting September 2021 onwards.

The collection service will start in October 2021. Council is offering a free FOGO trial period of two (2) months with the potential to opt out of the FOGO service based on specific criteria, but you will only be able to do this after the free trial period.  Please do not contact Council until the beginning of December 2021, when the free trial period ends.

We recognize that some people genuinely might not need or be able to use/afford the FOGO service.  Residents can apply for their home to have an exemption based on the following:

CRITERIA 1: Home Composter

You may qualify for the ‘Home Composter’ exemption if you can demonstrate that you are effectively managing the organic waste (e.g. garden waste and food scraps) that your property generates through a variety of methods. It is worth considering before you apply to opt out, that there are things you can put in a FOGO bin that you wouldn’t normally put in your home compost, including meat, dairy, pet waste and diseased plants. You will be required to fill out an exemption form describing your home composting method and some photos of your home composting. Council will conduct some random audits/visits on these households to verify there is a composting system at the address.

CRITERIA 2: Financial Hardship

If you are experiencing financial hardship, you will be able to contact Brighton Council customer service and ask about applying for an exemption based on Council’s Financial Hardship Policy or rates assistance to keep your FOGO bin if desired. Council’s Financial Hardship Policy can be found on Council’s website as follows:

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.

We’ll keep the questions and answers coming to keep you well informed about the new FOGO service by the time it hits the kerbside.  Next month we will cover off on how to use your kitchen caddy and FOGO wheelie bin once you receive them, including tips on keeping them clean.

The FOGO waste will be delivered to Barwick’s FOGO sorting facility located right here in Bridgewater. The FOGO waste is weighed, decontaminated on a conveyor sorting line and finally shredded ready to be transported to Interlaken for composting in windrows.

After about 14 weeks, the compost is screened to 12mm minus. Presently most FOGO compost goes into premium garden mix.

Farmers and gardeners are more and more thinking about the importance of getting carbon back into our soils. Carbon is the main component of soil organic matter and helps give soil its water-retention capacity, its structure, and its fertility.