Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) bins

Overview

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

FOGO collection services began on Monday 3 February 2020. This means that:

Information packs, including collection day calendars have been delivered to around 14,000 households involved in the first stage of the roll out.  

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

Yes - put it in your FOGO bin

Along with garden waste, you can put all food waste in your garden bin (now known as FOGO bins) to be turned into compost. This will include:

  • 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
  • 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).

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's 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 that 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 kitchen caddies, caddy liners, and information packs were delivered to residential and most commercial properties. If you haven't received caddy/liners, call us on (03) 5422 0333.

Hospitality businesses can now 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. Replacement liners and additional caddies are available for purchase from your local transfer station or from one of our customer service centres.

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.

Recent 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's 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: In 2020/21 the weekly FOGO and fortnightly general waste/rubbish service will be expanded to include Bullengarook, Monegeetta, Tylden and Malmsbury.
  • Stage 3: Council aims to expand the FOGO service to all remaining areas in the shire in 2023/24.

Already composting?

Firstly, thank you for composting 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 don’t like to eat like citrus, meat, bones, fish, dairy, bread, pasta etc. 

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 1-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.  

Questions?

If you’ve got any questions or would like more information, call our Resource Recovery team on (03) 5422 0333 or email mrsc@mrsc.vic.gov.au