According to NSW red bin audit data, 41 per cent of red lid bin waste has the potential to be recycled as food and garden (FOGO) waste each week.
Amanda Kane, Organics Manager at NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) said regional NSW has embraced FOGO and inner city councils are on the rise to strengthen their FOGO services.
In March 2020, a green lid bin update of the 2018 NSW FOGO bin audit was released and Kane said the results were similar, highlighting the need for further FOGO projects.
Kane virtually presented findings at the Waste 2020 webinar series, organics and FOGO.
“Since the first audit in 2018, contamination has gone down to 2.2 per cent and we’re seeing some great figures in this area,” she told webinar attendees.
However, Kane said according to the audit update report, there are significant changes and service variations by region.
“Where effective FOGO services are in place in NSW, there are actual changes to the way all waste services operate, including household,” she said.
“FOGO services seem to reduce the total amount of waste generated, increase dry recycling, recover more resources and divert more from landfill.”
Kane said there are a variety of factors that require further exploration, including changes in broader behaviours and attitudes due to changes in services, education around FOGO extending to other waste issues, and how strategic waste management leads to ongoing improvements.
The FOGO Education Deep Dive Project is now underway across 24 FOGO councils and DPIE is hoping this program will drive increased efficiency.
“Social research will indicate how people use the bin, what they think about it and why they do particular behaviour,” she said.
“It’s in the field now and we expect draft findings by the end of the month. We will also be working with the FOGO council to test education interventions.”
Kane said the Net Zero Emissions plan released in March, that includes Net Zero Emissions of Organics Waste by 2030 is a game-changer for organics in NSW.
“With organics, there are opportunities through diversion, plus carbon benefits in soils, increased yields, improved water retention that builds drought resilience and improved soil health,” she said.
In NSW, organic waste has only been measured through tonnes diversion from landfill.
“Now, we will be looking at measuring through emission reductions, and are aligned with the emissions and climate policy,” Kane said.
In the meantime, Kane said DPIE is working through refining the organics policy direction through the 20 year waste strategy.
“We are also seeking funding post 2021, to get that extra 41 per cent of organics out of the bin and meeting those emission targets,” she said.
The next instalment of Waste 2020’s webinar series will explore the role of social enterprise in the circular economy. To register click here.
Image credit: Katherine Griffiths / City of Sydney