3 October 2021

Belconnen suburbs to trial combined kitchen and garden waste collection service

| Ian Bushnell
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FOGO bins

A kitchen caddy being emptied into a green bin for FOGO collection. Photo: City of Port Phillip.

A government kitchen and garden waste pick-up service will be trialled in selected Belconnen suburbs later this year.

The pilot Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection service will be rolled out in Belconnen, Bruce, Cook and Macquarie.

The scheme is part of ACT Government plans to reduce waste going to landfill and turn household scraps into valuable compost.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the FOGO pilot would allow Canberrans to make better choices to stop waste going to landfill and take everyday action on climate change.

“About a third of our residential garbage bin contents are food waste which currently goes to landfill and contributes to our emissions,” Mr Barr said.

“Food waste breaks down in the airless conditions in our landfill and emits methane, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas.

“The ACT has a target to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and achieve net zero emissions by 2045 so reducing these emissions from our waste stream is an important part of the Government’s action on climate change.”

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the pilot suburbs had been selected because of their mix of single residential dwellings and multi-unit properties.

“The FOGO service will enable Canberrans to take everyday action on climate change by removing valuable organics from landfill and helping to reduce waste emissions by up to 30 per cent,” Mr Steel said.

He said the pilot would focus on contamination rates, and how FOGO collection can be implemented successfully across a mix of single residential houses and multi-unit apartment dwellings before it was rolled out to the rest of Canberra.”

Green-lidded bins will change from garden waste only to FOGO bins, and participating households that do not already have a green waste bin will be provided one free of charge.

All participating households will be given an easy-to-use kitchen caddy with compostable liners as a convenient way to collect their food scraps. The compostable bags can then be emptied into the FOGO bin along with garden waste.

Waste collection for single-residential households in the pilot suburbs will change, with green FOGO bins collected weekly instead of fortnightly, and garbage bins collected fortnightly instead of weekly.

“The approach for the pilot will be similar to other local councils that have already adopted FOGO and we will be educating Belconnen residents in the pilot area on how to make this change,” Mr Steel said.

“Participating households will be contacted by way of letter and we will work closely with residents to support their transition to the FOGO service ahead of the pilot commencing later this year.”

The FOGO pilot is intended to continue through to when the service is rolled out to all Canberra households in 2023.

The government says recent survey results show that 92 per cent of Canberrans support a fully-fledged FOGO collection service in the ACT.

For more information on the FOGO pilot, visit: www.act.gov.au/fogo.

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Capital Retro10:15 pm 05 Oct 21

The best thing to come out of Belconnen is the road to Tuggeranong.

Very nice. Trendy even. No mention of the contractors who will carry out this extra work.
Would like to know how much it might cost us so I can figure it into my budget.

This will be great for those living in apartments, but having a house with a garden, I already have a place to compost. In fact, several people living in apartments bring me their food and vegetable scraps now.

Capital Retro12:36 pm 04 Oct 21

The current green lid waste bins will be changed to mix green waste with FOGO stuff in sealed bags. If the scheme is to have any integrity the FOGO bags will have to have their contents discharged at the composting site and the non-compostable bits will have to separated so some will still go to landfill and the process will be labour intensive.

Idealistic but not practical.

Capital Retro6:52 pm 03 Oct 21

“The compostable bags can then be emptied into the FOGO bin along with garden waste.”

And then what happens to it? Surely the bag and its volatile contents are not processed with normal green feedstock? Composting is never odour-free. Even under optimum conditions for aerobic decomposition of organic matter, odours are going to form and a high level of vigilance is required to minimize odours.

I don’t have a fancy University degree, however, I’m pretty good at basic maths.

30% of our “rubbish” is food scraps and so yes, there wouldn’t be room in our existing “Green” waste bin that is collected fortnightly. Weekly collections make sense. Ok, so far.

If your “rubbish” bin is already full, removing 30% will still leave your bin 70% full. Moving to a fortnightly collection would mean your bin would be 140% full.

You’d be pretty annoyed if you opted for a “Green” waste bin and forked out $50 to join the collection service, now to discover that everyone else gets theirs for free.

Ironically, we have a “recycling” bin that is collected fortnightly. Our bin is now also about 70% full, because of the Government’s CDS. We now have to get in our car (and burn fossil fuels) and drive to a collection centre to reclaim our container deposits. I’m surprised that they haven’t used the same logic and changed that from a fortnightly to a monthly collection.

Sometimes, I think ideology gets in the way of good old common sense.

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