FOGO success hits 10,000 tonne target

Published: 25 May 2020 10:55am

The continued success of Wagga Wagga City Council’s Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) system has been highlighted in new figures revealing an increase in the amount of compost being produced and kept out of landfill.

Council recently completed the second year of its new three-bin system and exceeded its target of 10,000 tonnes of FOGO collection (green lid bin).

Gregadoo Waste Management Centre Manager Geoff Pym said the figures were a pleasing result in only the second year of the new system being introduced.

In the first year of operation, collection of FOGO was 9,732 tonnes – falling just short of the 10,000 tonne target.

This year to the anniversary date in April, there was 10,551 tonnes collected – an increase of 819 tonnes.

“This is a terrific result for us and indicates community members are adapting to the three-bin system as time goes on,” Mr Pym said.

“We have been consistent in trying to promote the FOGO message and build on the progress we made in the first year.

“To exceed 10,000 tonnes in our second year tells us we are all moving in the right direction towards reducing landfill by following a few simple steps of separating our rubbish.”

Mr Pym said there was a small component of contamination in the FOGO bins, primarily plastic wrappers being left on vegetables or food in takeaway containers, but also clothing and metal items.

“This does present a problem with the composting process and we urge residents to take that extra care in separating the plastics from the food scraps,” Mr Pym said.

“However, it does indicate that the householders are generally attempting to do the right thing.”

Mr Pym said a recent bin audit had also revealed a proportion of organic material, mostly from the kitchen, was not being diverted to FOGO, and was instead being placed in the general waste red lid bin (landfill).

In 2018 15% of the overall waste disposed was classified as general waste however householders disposed of 28% of all waste to the general waste bin. In 2020 general waste accounted for 19% of the overall waste disposed during this audit however 39% of all waste was discarded to the general waste bin.

“It also seems to be the case that householders are not fully aware that materials such as soiled paper, cardboard and compostable packaging can be placed into the FOGO bin,” he said.

“And there is still considerable confusion about what can be included in the recycling bin (yellow lid) with many households placing plastic bags and other non-recyclable plastic in this bin.

“Given the availability of separate recycling schemes that do accept these materials, it is easy to see why the confusion exists.”

The analysis of diversion from residual waste by local area highlighted that North Wagga Wagga had the lowest average household level of divertible materials in their general waste (22% below the average).