FOGO commences in Manningham

by CHERRY BLOOM
10th July 2023

DID YOU KNOW, on average, 56 per cent of the waste in our red-lidded bin is food waste?
Until now, the contents of our red-lid bins have been going to landfill, where all that food waste is released into the atmosphere as the harmful greenhouse gas methane as it decomposes.
Manningham Council is working towards a greener future by reducing food waste from residential garbage bins and diverting food waste from landfill through the Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) waste collection initiative.
This will help the government meet climate change emission reduction targets. Manningham’s FOGO service is now in effect.
Rachelle Quattrocchi, Director of City Services at Manningham Council, told the Diary that all Victorian Councils will introduce FOGO services by 2030 to assist in achieving the State Government target of diverting 80 per cent of waste from landfill by that year.
“Locally, removing food waste from residential garbage bins in Manningham will divert up to 20,000 tonnes per year from landfill — that’s enough waste to fill the outdoor pool at Aquarena 40 times,” she said.
She said when food waste breaks down in landfill, it creates methane, a greenhouse gas which is 23 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. “Additionally, Australia’s landfill space is almost at capacity, and the cost of disposing of waste in landfill is continually increasing.
“Our focus is to collaborate with the community and provide information to assist residents with the introduction of FOGO,” she said.
By now, every household should have received a FOGO starter kit consisting of a kitchen caddy, a year’s supply (150) of compostable liners, and a new collection calendar.
The plastic-free compostable liners are Australian-certified and are actually made of vegetables.
They are very handy and should be used to help you collect and carry your household food scraps.
From May 2024, Council plans to provide each household with an annual resupply of compostable liners, which will be available to collect from Manningham Civic Centre or the Council Depot.
Remember, only lime green compostable liners with certified symbols of AS 4736 and AS 5810 are allowed to be placed into your FOGO bin.
If households run out before the annual resupply, major supermarkets sell alternatives such as the My Eco Bag brand, which sells a 36-litre, 25-pack for around $10. The FOGO Caddy is designed to be placed in your kitchen, and then, once full, the liner bags can be put into your existing, green-lidded bin, which, as of July 3, is now your FOGO bin.
The food and garden waste will be processed at Bio Gro, an organics facility in Dandenong, turning your organic waste into hi-grade compost, which will be used in farms and gardens across Victoria.
The rollout of the FOGO service also means changing how often bins are collected; the green-lidded FOGO bin will be collected weekly, while the red-lidded bin will be collected fortnightly, rotating collection with the yellow-lidded bins.
Ms Quattrocchi said Council will be tracking how the program is going, through weekly bin audits, to determine if more education is needed.
“Reducing waste to landfill will help us achieve net zero emissions for the organisation’s operations by 2028 and net zero community emissions by 2035,” she said.

What can go in the FOGO bin?

The rule of thumb is if you can eat it and grow it in the ground, you can put it in your FOGO bin.
For example:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • meat and bones
  • seafood
  • eggs and dairy
  • bread and pasta
  • rice and cereal
  • tissues and paper towel
  • shredded paper
  • garden waste
What cannot go in your FOGO bin?

Anything that is not compostable and will not be able to be processed, which includes:

  • food packaging
  • plastic wrapping
  • stickers
  • rubber bands
  • tins
  • biodegradable products
  • clam and oyster shells
  • liquids, fats, greases and oils
  • treated or painted timber and building materials
  • animal waste,
  • cat litter
  • vacuum dust
  • tea bags

Because some tea bags are made with metal staples, plastic, and nylons, they must be cut open with only the tea leaves allowed to go into the FOGO bin.

No change for businesses

Ms Quattrocchi told the Diary, all businesses with a Council commercial waste service will remain on a weekly red-lidded bin collection.
She said collection for business is incorporated within the waste collection of public litter bins which include those at activity centres and bus stops.
Currently, FOGO is not being rolled out for commercial properties.

Will the council charge residents higher rates?

The answer is no, as FOGO will be part of the annual waste service charge.
According to council modelling, the savings made by diverting 40 to 80 per cent of food waste from landfill will account for the cost of the FOGO service, so there should be no additional waste charge for FOGO.
However, households may need to upsize one or all of their bins due to the change in how waste is collected and processed; details of this and the costs involved can be found on Manningham Council’s website.
For households with two or more children under four — who may be impacted due to the necessity to dispose of used nappies, Council offers discounted bin upsizing options saving eligible households around $168 per year.
Details of this scheme and information about Manningham’s waste service, in general, can be found at manningham.vic.gov.au/waste-and-recycling.
Ms Quattrocchi said Council is using a variety of measures to help achieve its corporate and community emission targets, including:

  • Advocating for improved public transport
  • Promoting solar and other energy-saving measures for residents and businesses
  • Investing in water-sensitive urban planning, design, and drainage solutions
  • Harvesting stormwater for open-space irrigation
  • Improving how Council responds to extreme weather emergencies and providing support to vulnerable residents
  • Increasing the number of energy-efficient LED streetlights in Manningham
  • Supporting the rollout of electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Partnering with the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) for wind-powered grid electricity and the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA).
See the FOGO process in action

Readers who are interested in exactly what happens to their food and garden waste are invited to see for themselves on one of Manningham Council’s tours of the Bio Gro facility.
Tours start and end at Manningham Civic Centre, with a bus to transport those attending to the facility based in Dandenong South.
The next tour is currently scheduled for Tuesday, August 8.
For more information and to book your spot on the tour, visit manningham.vic.gov.au/events/fogo-tours-see-bio-gro-organics-facility.