More councils to recycle food and garden waste

NSW Environment Protection Authority

The second round of the NSW Government’s Go FOGO grants is now open for councils to establish food organics and garden organics or ‘FOGO’ recycling services for households across the state.

Successful grant recipients will join 56 council areas in NSW who already provide or are preparing to provide a FOGO collection service to their residents.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Director of Major Programs Kathy Giunta said it’s estimated that the program will establish FOGO recycling for two million households in NSW by 2027.

“Food waste makes up almost half of the contents of our red lid bins and can generate millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year when it breaks down in landfill,” Ms Giunta said.

“These grants will allow more households in NSW to start recycling their nutrient-rich organic waste into high quality commercial compost that can be used to enrich soils in our local parks, sporting fields or in agriculture.”

“Councils can use the funding as needed to prepare their new waste service, including purchasing bins and caddies, rolling out community education and completing waste audits to ensure a successful FOGO service.”

The grants are available as part of a $69 million commitment under the NSW Government’s Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy to halve the amount of organics waste sent to landfill in NSW by 2030.

Households with the service will be provided with educational resources, kitchen caddies and a green bin to place their food and garden scraps in for weekly collection at the kerbside.

Round 1 was awarded in January 2023, allocating $6.2 million to 14 councils including metropolitan areas like the Inner West and Cumberland as well as six councils in the Riverina region.

Round 2 applications are open to councils until Tuesday, 10 October 2023.

More details are available on the EPA website:

Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe:

“Recycling our food waste is an effective way to help meet our climate change targets, because every tonne of organic waste that is diverted from landfill saves 1.5 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

“Going FOGO is a win for waste reduction, emission reduction and the environment.”

Murrumbidgee Case Study

Murrumbidgee Council started its food and garden organics (FOGO) collection service on 4 July 2023, thanks to a Go FOGO round 1 grant awarded in January.

Murrumbidgee has now successfully transitioned more than 1,000 households to a fully-fledged kerbside collection service for FOGO waste. The council has also introduced source-separated organic waste collections for local businesses.

In the lead up to the service, the council pursued a range of community education and engagement activities, visiting schools to teach kids about compost and hosting a ‘Waste to Art’ competition, which attracted more than 70 entries.

Murrumbidgee Council enlisted the support of local community organisations to take residents their new greener bins as part of a fundraising drive, including the Coleambally Men’s Shed, the Darlington Point Men’s Shed and local Rugby League and Football clubs.

Quotes attributable to Murrumbidgee Council Mayor Ruth McRae:

“As a small rural council, our close-knit community is integral to everything we do, and we’re pleased that the vast majority of residents have welcomed their new FOGO service.

“Throughout the roll-out we have focused on bringing the community on the journey with us. We share a passionate sense of place and are willing to embrace the necessary steps to extend the life of waste, rather than allowing it to become a problem for future generations.”

Inner West case study

Sydney’s Inner West Council is preparing to roll out FOGO services to 45,000 households in October 2023 following the successful delivery of food organics recycling in nearly 1,300 apartment buildings.

The apartment service has seen 1,825 tonnes of food waste recovered until July 2023, and the organics converted into 1,277 tonnes of high-quality compost.

This is the equivalent of 6,411 x 240 litre wheelie bins of waste being saved from landfill. The greenhouse gas emissions avoided are enough to power 791 homes for a year.

The FOGO material collected in the Inner West Council from October will be processed at a professional facility and turned into high-quality compost for use on nearby agricultural farms.

Quotes from Inner West Council residents with the food waste service:

“I think the food recycling service is one of best ways that Inner West Council is tackling climate change and food waste.”

“We think it’s a fantastic service and it has significantly reduced our other waste.”

“It makes me so proud to have a benchtop compost bin that fills up more often than my rubbish bin. It’s such a small but important and critical step towards reducing and reusing waste – a step we can all make with ease!”

/Public Release.