Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) bins

Overview

FOGO stands for Food Organics Garden Organics. It is a convenient and environmentally friendly way to dispose of your organic waste.

     

FOGO collection services began on Monday 3 February 2020.

 This means that:

  • garden bins (lime green lid) are now known as your FOGO bin and are collected weekly.
  • rubbish/general waste bins (red lid) are now collected each fortnight.
  • recycling bins (yellow lid) are continuing to be collected fortnightly.
  • glass-only bins (purple lid) are being collected every four weeks.

Information packs, including collection day calendars were delivered to about 14,000 households involved in the first stage of the roll out in 2020.
Properties in the second stage of the FOGO roll out received bins, kitchen caddy's and information packs during May/June 2021 for service change on 1 July 2021.

What can and can't go in your FOGO bin?

Yes - put it in your FOGO bin

Along with all garden waste, you can put all food waste in your FOGO bin to be turned into compost.

This includes:

  • fruit and vegetable scraps, e.g. citrus, onion and garlic
  • meat, bones and seafood
  • coffee grounds and loose tea leaves
  • egg shells
  • dairy products, e.g. cheese, yoghurt and butter
  • bread, pasta and cereals
  • cooked and uncooked food
  • lawn clippings, weeds, leaves, small plants and roses
  • bark and sawdust
  • prunings and small branches (less than 3cm in diameter and less than 30cm long)
  • pizza boxes and food-soiled paper
  • noxious weeds including blackberry and gorse
  • compostable kitty litter, animal droppings, hair and animal fur
  • compostable plant-based packaging and items (cutlery, plates, cups, etc)
  • wooden icy pole sticks, toothpicks, cold ash
  • used paper towel, newspaper, tissues and shredded paper.

Remember if it used to live or grow, then it's FOGO!

No - don't put in your FOGO bin

  • plastic bags. Use compostable liners only
  • general waste and liquids
  • fruit stickers and labels
  • plastic bags and soft plastics, e.g. cling wrap
  • magazines, catalogues and waxed paper
  • coffee pods, coffee cups
  • nappies, incontinence products and aids
  • baby wipes and make-up removal wipes
  • plant pots, garden hose, garden tools, etc
  • non-compostable kitty litters
  • treated and painted woods
  • large logs, soil, stumps and branches (greater than 3cm diameter or longer than 30cm).

For more information, download our Let's get sorted guide(PDF, 1MB) or for a complete list, refer to our A-Z waste guide of what goes where.

How to use your FOGO service

Download a copy of the FOGO user guide(PDF, 3MB) to hang on your fridge or follow the steps below.

There is also a FOGO user guide for those working in the hospitality industry(PDF, 2MB)

Step one

Place the provided compostable liner in your kitchen caddy.

Don't place plastic bags into your bin, unless the bags are certified compostable and labelled AS4736 or AS5810, and/or feature these symbols:

 

These compostable liners are made from corn starch, not plastic, and will breakdown during the composting process.

Newspaper or paper towel can also be used to line your caddy. 

Step two

Use the caddy and liner to collect your food waste.

Step three

After a few days, tie up the liner to seal and remove from the caddy. Handy hint: empty your caddy regularly to reduce odour and risk of heavy bags splitting.

Step four

Place your food waste (including compostable liner) into your FOGO bin, along with any garden waste.

Step five

Put your FOGO bin out weekly for collection. Refer to your bin collection calendar or look up your collection day for collection dates. 

Kitchen caddies and bin liners

To start the new FOGO service 7 litre kitchen caddies,  a year's worth of caddy liners, and information packs were/are delivered to residential and most commercial properties. If you haven't received caddy/liners, call us on (03) 5422 0333.

Hospitality businesses can pick up a year's supply of 240-litre wheelie bin liners (instead of the caddy and liners) from our customer service centres or transfer stations. Hospitality businesses indicated, when asked by Council, that a liner for the 240-litre bin was more appropriate than the 7-litre kitchen caddy.

These items are only free at the start of a FOGO service.

Plastic bags and bags labelled ‘biodegradable’ are not suitable for use with your FOGO service as they do not break down in the composting process and will contaminate the compost. Bags that are certified compostable and labelled AS4736 or AS5810, and/or feature these symbols may be used.

 

You may choose not to use liners and empty all organic waste directly into the bin to save time and cost of liners.

You may also choose to line your caddy with paper towel or newspaper, or if you are not using a caddy, you can use paper towel or newspaper to wrap your waste before placing it in the bin.

FOGO bin liners and kitchen caddy examples

Need replacement caddy or liners? 

Replacement liners and additional caddies are available for purchase from your local transfer station and from our customer service centres.

Item Price
240 litre FOGO bin liners* (x1 roll of 12) $11.15
8 litre Caddy liners* (x1 roll of 150) $9.50
Caddy (x1 7-litre) $4.90

*These liners are made of corn starch and vegetable oils and will break down in around 30 days when commercially composted. Store your liners in a dry, cool, dark place.

Why FOGO makes sense

Having a weekly FOGO collection, coupled with fortnightly rubbish collection has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Audits of the shire’s kerbside bins found that up to 32.8% of the household garbage bin is food waste. This equates to approximately 150 kg per household of food waste each year that ends up in landfill. When food waste is sent to landfill it generates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. By collecting food waste through a FOGO service we have the potential to divert thousands of tonnes of food waste from landfill every year, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Where does your food and garden waste go?

Everything you put in your FOGO bin will be turned into compost and used to enrich soils on regional farms and in local parks and gardens, converting a waste product into a resource. This also keeps down landfill fees and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases that are produced by landfill.

The Back to Earth Initiative has produced a great video that tells the story of how garden waste is turned into compost.

All food and garden bin waste collected in the Macedon Ranges is sent to Biomix Premium Composts in Stanhope – a similar facility to the Bulla facility featured in the video above.

The treatment process at this facility pasteurises (heats) the material, which kills any insects, weeds, weed seeds, fungi, viruses and pathogenic bacteria that may be found in the FOGO material. 

The process used by Biomix is certified to meet the Australian Standard (AS4454) for compost. Biomix is independently audited to ensure that the quality management systems that they follow produces compost that consistently meets this standard. This requires regular testing throughout the composting process to ensure the material is safe and suitable for use. 

When each load arrives at the facility it undergoes the following process:

  1. Load checked for foreign contamination.
  2. Contamination including glass, metals and plastics are removed from the organics.
  3. Organics are shredded to create smaller pieces (making it easier for them to be broken down).
  4. Organics are put in specialised composting vessels to allow composting to occur under controlled conditions.

What happens next? 

Once it is in the composting vessel:

  1. Composting bacteria breaks down the sugars and other readily degradable materials releasing energy, which causes a rapid rise in temperature. This temperature rise kills insects, weeds, weed seeds, fungi, viruses and pathogenic bacteria as the compost reaches between 50-70°C.
  2. Biomix maintains this temperature within the composting vessels by heating the units and recirculating air using their aeration system that fuels the composting bacteria with oxygen to ensure pasteurisation.
  3. The material remains in this temperature range until all of the readily degradable organics have been broken down.
  4. This process softens the less degradable organics including woody materials and cell walls (these are then degraded further by bacteria and fungi).
  5. After 10-14 days of being in the composting vessels the compost is taken out of these units and put in open windrows.

Open Windrow process:

  1. The compost is laid in rows exposed to the wind and regularly turned to increase oxygen and reduce temperatures allowing it to be recolonised by beneficial bacteria and fungi.
  2. Biomix adds water to the compost helping the compost to mature and become more stable.
  3. This process lasts for 12 weeks.

Screening:

  1. Biomix screens the compost to identify large pieces that are then returned to the composting process.
  2. The compost is now ready to be used on our farmlands, parks and gardens.

How will the FOGO service be rolled out?

The service will be rolled out in stages:

  • Stage 1: The rollout of the new FOGO service began on 3 February 2020 to areas of the shire which currently received the garden bin service.
  • Stage 2: From 1 July 2021, the weekly FOGO and fortnightly general waste service was expanded shire wide to include all properties on the kerbside collection service.

Already composting?

Firstly, thank you for composting or managing your food waste at home. Keep up the good work!

Consider the FOGO bin as an extension of the good work you are already doing and a means to take the pressure off your home compost or worm farm. The FOGO bin can take the hard to compost items and things the worms and livestock don’t like to eat, for example:

  • citrus, garlic. onions, chili
  • meat, bones, seafood, dairy, egg shells
  • weeds, including noxious weeds such as blackberry and gorse
  • rose prunings
  • pet droppings, compostable kitty litter
  • certified compostable packaging such as bamboo cutlery and coffee cups

For more information, download our Let's get sorted guide(PDF, 1MB) or for a complete list, refer to our A-Z waste guide of what goes where

Can you opt out?

No, a FOGO collection coupled with a recycling service has been proven to reduce waste going into the general waste bin. We see this as a vital step in reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.

Find out your bin collection day

Your collection day and the bins you need to put out for collection each week depend on the area that you live in.

Search your address online to find out when your next bin collection day is and download a calendar.

Putting your bin out correctly

  • Put your bin out the night before your collection day.
  • Leave a one metre gap between each bin and any obstructions, e.g. trees, cars, power poles.
  • Place bins close to the road with handles facing your property.
  • Ensure bins are closed.
  • Do not over-fill bins or leave rubbish beside them. This will not be collected.
  • Bins must not weigh more than 80 kilograms when collected.  

Where does your waste go?

Food and garden waste collected from your household FOGO bin is delivered to the Biomix composting facility in Stanhope, where it is converted into compost.