Melbourne City Council to consider food waste collection

Melbourne City Council will this week consider a trial of kerbside bins for food waste, designed to test how a domestic food waste collection service would work in the municipality.

As part of the council’s proposed Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, a third kerbside bin for food scraps would be distributed to 700 City of Melbourne residents.

Councillors will consider the strategy, which also outlines plans to introduce more shared waste hubs for businesses in the central city, and remove some commercial bins from the public realm.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the proposed expansion of the existing network of five waste hubs would activate laneways, reduce truck movements, boost amenity and make Melbourne more liveable.

“We can dramatically reduce the number of bins lining our laneways and the number of trucks on our streets by creating more central waste drop-off points,” Ms Capp said.

“Balcombe Place was transformed last year with a waste hub that has replaced around 20 bins and skips, and as a result we are seeing less illegally dumped rubbish and milk crates left in the lane.”

Chair of the Environment Councillor Cathy Oke said with food making up 50 per cent of household waste in the municipality, finding a solution for discarded food scraps is a key component of the proposed strategy.

“Our residents discarded an estimated 12,000 tonnes of food waste in 2016–17 and through our engagement with the community we know people want a solution to avoid food going to landfill,” Ms Oke said.

“If the strategy is endorsed, a waste collection trial would be held to determine how collection services could work for residents with kerbside bins and a third bin for organic waste would be rolled out to 700 houses in Kensington later this year, building on an earlier trial in 2017.”

If implemented, the trail will see food and garden waste collected weekly, and a supporting education and community engagement campaign enacted.

Ms Oke said the strategy will address changes to the global recycling industry that has left Victorian councils with a critical oversupply of recyclable material and seek to create more demand for recyclable products.

“China and India have restricted their imports and the stockpiling of waste around the state is a major wake-up call for all levels of government,” Ms Oke said.

“We need government procurement targets for recycling to build Australia’s domestic recycling industry. This would create local jobs in our manufacturing sector and most importantly, stop recyclable material from ending up in landfill.”

Moreland City Council plan to enact similar measures, announcing as of 1 July council will expand its kerbside collection services and offer fortnightly food and garden organics collection (FOGO).

The council conducted a four-month trial of FOGO from November 2018 to March 2019 with 1000 households across Pascoe Vale and Pascoe Vale South.

The scheme will be rolled out across the entire municipality in 2021, with households receiving an organics bin at no additional charge.

Mayor of the City of Moreland Natalie Abboud said currently over 50 per cent of waste in Moreland that goes to landfill is food organics.

“When it breaks down in landfill it produces the harmful greenhouse gas methane, which contributes to climate change,” Ms Abboud said.

“By having household food organics collected and properly processed, it can be turned into compost which can be used to enrich soil on farms, parks, school gardens and other useful applications.”

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Better Bins to be implemented in 370,000 new households

Over the next 12 months the Western Australian Better Bins program will be implemented in more than 370,000 households in the City of Joondalup, City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle, plus additional households in the City of Melville.

The City of Melville trialled a full FOGO system in 2017-18, returning positive results for the diversion of household organics from landfill.

In its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, the Western Australian Government outlined food organics and garden organics collection (FOGO) as a priority for waste avoidance and minimisation.

Run by the Western Australian Waste Authority, the Better Bins program aims to ensure that all Perth and Peel households have a third kerbside bin for FOGO by 2025.

Better Bins runs on the principal that more waste separation at the source leads to less contamination and therefore greater recycling and reuse rates.

Under the three-bin FOGO system, food scraps and garden organics are separated from other waste categories at kerbside and reused to create high-quality compost.

The system also functions to keep other waste streams clean and uncontaminated, therefore making them easier to recycle, reprocess and remake into products, reducing the need for extraction of new materials

Currently 16 local governments participate in the program and of these, five are providing a full FOGO service.

After the 370,000 new additions the rate of household participation across the state will stand at 37 per cent.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will soon start consulting with key stakeholders on how to promote and encourage local governments’ adoption of FOGO systems, hoping to increase material recovery to 75 per cent by 2030.

WA has extended the funding application period until 30 June 2019.

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More than $11 million to stop food and garden waste going to landfill

The NSW Government is awarding approximately $11 million in grants to boost food and garden organics recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

NSW Environment Protection Authority Head of Organics Amanda Kane said that every year in NSW, more than a million tonnes of food and garden waste ends up in landfill. The grants are part of $105.5 million dedicated to diverting organics waste from landfill through the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

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Ms Kane said that through the initiative the EPA is able to provide support to councils, the waste industry, not-for-profit organisations and businesses to keep food and garden waste out of landfill.

“This includes supporting projects that increase food donation to people in need, boost new kerbside collection services, provide education on food waste, develop new markets and invest in new organics processing infrastructure,” she said.

“Already through the initiative $44.3 million has been awarded to 90 projects to increase processing capacity for food and garden waste in NSW by 430,000 tonnes a year.”

The grants are being awarded through three programs:

  • $9,766,235 is being awarded to 16 projects through the Organics Infrastructure Large and Small grant program for new infrastructure to build or expand organics waste facilities, increase processing capacity and fund new equipment, like refrigerated vans and freezers, to enable food relief agencies to collect more donated food.
  • $765,076 will be shared between 10 not-for-profit organisations and local councils through the Food Donation Education grant program to collect and redistribute good quality surplus food to people in need, helping divert some of the 200,000 tonnes of food waste from business, that ends up in landfill in NSW each year.
  • $633,445 is being awarded to six projects through the Organics Market Developmentgrant program to increase the markets for compost in NSW.

“Waste Less Recycle More is the largest waste and recycling funding program in Australia with a total of $802 million in funding, managed by the NSW EPA, in partnership with the Environment Trust.”

Bega Valley Shire Council’s FOGO crew scoops major recycling award

Bega Valley’s Food Organics, Garden Organics (FOGO) service had a stellar 2018 earning a nod in the Australian Organic Recycling Association (AORA) awards.

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Hitting the right target

The WA Government has revamped its waste strategy, with shared responsibilities across government, the business sector and community.

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MWRRG’s FOGO guide for councils

Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group has developed a comprehensive guide to help councils design, implement and maintain a high-performing food organics and garden organics service. 

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City of Melville and SMRC receive award for FOGO trial

The South Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) and City of Melville were awarded the Avoid Recover Protect – Waste Management Award at this year’s Infinity Awards for the first Perth Metropolitan three-bin Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) trial.

The Infinity Awards acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding achievements of Western Australians working towards a better waste future through improved waste practices and innovative waste solutions. This year’s awards saw a record number of nominations with more than 100 entries from organisations and individuals throughout Western Australia across a range of different categories.

The three-bin FOGO trial was rolled out to approximately 7000 households in the City of Melville as part of a joint project between the Cities of Fremantle and Melville, Town of East Fremantle and the SMRC. The trial demonstrated that the system achieved greater than 65 per cent diversion from landfill, reduced processing costs, produced an Australian Standard Compost and received strong support and participation from the community.

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Mayor Russell Aubrey thanked all of the residents who were involved in the trial for their efforts and commitment.

“Your contributions have helped to reduce waste to landfill, while producing a high-quality compost, which can be used help to enrich local soils,” Mayor Aubrey said.

Cr Doug Thompson said the recognition is a testament to the outstanding contributions and hard work by all of those involved.

“Staff and residents should be incredibly proud of this collective achievement, which highlights the importance of collaboration and an evidence based approach to decision making,” Cr Thompson said.

The success of the project will now see the system rolled out throughout to the remaining residents in the City of Melville, alongside the City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle in the second half of 2019.

Alongside this achievement, the SMRC and the Waste and Recycling Industry Association of WA, Cleanaway WA, SUEZ WA and Western Australian Local Government Association also received a highly commended recognition for the development of statewide guidelines for kerbside recycling in the Avoid Recover Protect – Waste Management category.

Featured image: L-R – City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, City of Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey, Town of East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill, SMRC Chief Executive Officer Tim Youé.

WA Govt releases draft strategy to reduce 20 per cent of waste by 2030

The WA Waste Authority has released a draft of its Waste Strategy 2030 for comment, outlining key strategies to reduce waste by 20 per cent by 2030.

Other key targets include increasing material recovery to 70 per cent by 2025 and 75 per cent by 2030, and to only recover energy from residual waste.

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It also sets a target of sending no more than 15 per cent of the waste generated in the Perth and Peel regions to be landfilled by 2030.

Strategies to reach these targets include a food organics and garden organics (FOGO) kerbside collection system across the Perth and Peel regions by 2025, provided by local governments with support from the state.

The draft outlines implementing sustainable government procurement practices that encourage the usage of recycled products and support local market development.

A review of the waste levy will also be undertaken to ensure its scope and application meets the objectives of the Waste Strategy 2030.

Statewide communications to support consistent messaging on reducing waste will be developed as part of the strategy, alongside implementing local government waste plans to align planning processes with the new targets laid out.

Data collection and reporting systems will be updated according to the strategy to allow waste generation, recovery and disposal performance be assessed quickly.

A strategy to guide future infrastructure development includes a review of WA’s waste infrastructure and landfills to occur by 2020.

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said in the report WA has an obligation to its current community and future generations to generate less waste, extract more resources and better manage the disposal of waste.

“Waste Strategy 2030 rises to address that challenge and the opportunities that better choices and better waste management present,” Mr Dawson said.

“We will have to work hard to meet the ambitious targets set out in this strategy and deliver against long-standing issues in the waste community. We won’t, for example, be able to meet our 2025 recovery targets without all metropolitan local government’s adopting a three-bin FOGO system, and I will work with those local governments to achieve this.

“Waste is everyone’s business – individuals, households, neighbourhoods, community groups, schools, small and big businesses, local governments, waste managers, the state government and the media,” he said.

Comments on the Waste Strategy 2030 should be sent to wastestrategyreview@wasteauthority.wa.gov.au and are due by Tuesday 6 November.