FOGO guide sows seeds for a green future

FOGO guide

The West Australian Government has released a step-by-step guide to help more local governments plan and implement food and garden organics (FOGO) collections and reduce the volume of household waste ending up as landfill.

Developed in conjunction with the Western Australian Local Government Association, the guide outlines the entire process, from initial stages through to final evaluation – including timelines, case studies, and funding and procurement.

The release comes as a new report has found Western Australians waste twice as much food as they think. Audits show WA households waste four kilograms of food per week, or $37 worth, despite estimating only two kilograms of food waste. At least 54 per cent of this is food that could have been eaten.

The main types of food waste include meals prepared at home (0.51kg/week), fresh vegetables (0.40kg/week), bread and bakery (0.47kg/week), and fresh fruit (0.36kg/week).

Another recent report, commissioned by the Waste Authority, found that a high performing, three-bin FOGO service was most effective in recovering material, achieving rates of about 65 per cent, increasing to 79 per cent if ‘waste to energy’ was used for residual waste.

The report, Impacts and benefits of kerbside collection systems Perth and Peel, found FOGO systems had the lowest cost per tonne recovered and produced significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than disposing waste to landfill.

Amber-Jade Sanderson, Environment Minister said far too much food is still ending up in landfill.

“Organics recovered from three-bin FOGO services make the single biggest contribution to achieving Western Australia’s material recovery targets for municipal solid waste,” she said. “The City of Melville is a great example of what can be achieved when local governments embrace the three-bin FOGO kerbside collection. I encourage local governments to follow their lead and get behind FOGO services using this step-by-step guide. We need your support to reduce landfill and emissions.”

Melville is one of 13 local governments, covering 150,000 households in Perth and the South-West, that have implemented a three-bin FOGO system, enabling residents to recycle food and garden waste. Since Melville rolled out a three-bin FOGO system to all households across the city in July 2019, it has reversed its disposal and recovery ratios – now two tonnes of FOGO are collected for each ton of general waste.

The McGowan Government has set a target for all local governments in the Perth and Peel regions to provide better practice FOGO services by 2025. The State Government’s $20 million Better Bins Plus: Go FOGO program will continue to provide grants to local governments to assist with their transition to the new system.

John Carey, Local Government Minister said waste collection is a “bread and butter service” but he encouraged local governments to look at ways of doing things better.

“Three-bin FOGO is being used by many local governments across our state, but I think this report really highlights the benefits of moving to this system. For local governments that aren’t yet using the three bin FOGO system, I encourage you to get on board, so we can all move ahead with one consistent approach and generate better outcomes for our community and environment.”

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