Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO)
Household food organics and garden organics (FOGO) accounts for about 57 per cent of the waste being sent to landfill through the Bundaberg Region’s kerbside bin collection.
That’s 17,000 tonnes of food scraps and green waste going to landfill every year.
When these materials end up in landfill it contributes to the production of methane (a harmful greenhouse gas) made by rotting food scraps and garden materials.
To help reduce this, Council is investigating the viability of a FOGO bin collection service through a trial, commencing October 2023, which will divert much of this waste from landfill. An initial 600 homes will be included in the trial, with an additional 700 homes to be gradually added to the trial by December 2023.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is FOGO?
FOGO is basically any natural food scraps from the kitchen (think dinner leftovers, egg shells, banana peels and offcuts) and any waste from a domestic garden (things like grass clippings and small tree trimmings).
Why is it important to remove FOGO from landfill?
FOGO materials currently account for more than half of the region’s waste that goes to landfill. When buried in landfill, the rotting food scraps and garden materials produce methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
By diverting these items from landfill, FOGO materials can instead be made into compost used by our farmers to provide nutrition, increase carbon in the soil and reduce water loss for their farms, resulting in higher yields.
I’ve heard FOGO is going to cost each household more than $460 per year, is that true?
No. Council has yet to make a business decision to progress with a permanent FOGO service or the relevant charges that would apply.
A preliminary business case has been developed and the reference to $467 is the estimated charge for a full annual waste collection service including weekly FOGO, fortnightly recycling and fortnightly waste.
If that estimate is accurate, and with current waste collection charges for waste and recycling sitting at $383 per annum, the cost would be about an extra $84 per year, per household or $1.61 per week.
Council would also be advocating for State or Federal Government support prior to commencing a FOGO service to reduce the financial burden on ratepayers.
Council has released a full statement in relation to this.
Was there community consultation about FOGO?
Undertaking the FOGO trial will allow Council to gather essential data in its consideration of a region-wide rollout of a permanent FOGO collection service.
Council is currently undertaking a Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan survey which gives residents the opportunity to provide feedback on a range of initiatives, including the proposal to introduce a permanent FOGO collection service.
Council has released a full statement in relation to this.
Would introducing FOGO collection be expensive?
The aim of the FOGO trial is to confirm the cost to Council to introduce FOGO collection compared to the cost to take no action. It also has environmental costs.
Council is still investigating the costs of the program but what we do know is, as the state moves towards its zero waste to landfill goals, putting waste into landfill will become increasingly expensive.
Currently, the State Government Waste Levy payable on household waste to landfill is $3.8 million per annum. New details about the phasing out of State Government subsidies on household waste reveal a $26.6 million shortfall over the next 10 years if no action is taken.
All waste sent to landfill incurs a Waste Levy of $91 per tonne (approximately $66 per household per year). This is paid to the State Government. Incorporating a FOGO process will reduce our Waste Levy payments by at least 40% and help reduce some of this financial burden.
This proposed intervention aligns with the Queensland Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy target to reduce waste to landfill.
My area isn’t included in the trial, can I opt into FOGO?
Unfortunately no. During the trial period, to keep the transition smooth, only residents in the declared trial area will be issued a FOGO service. However, should the trial be a success, a 3-bin service, inclusive of FOGO, will become our region’s standard process.
Why couldn’t this be introduced sooner?
Council is taking a prudent approach to the introduction of FOGO to ensure it will have a minimal financial impact on ratepayers.
By awaiting advice released by the State Government in relation to its increasing waste levy charges, Council can ensure any changes to its collection and processing of household waste stays abreast of state-wide expectations.
It is also important to go through the business case and competitive tender process to ensure best value-for-money if introduced.
I wasn’t included in the FOGO trial, what can I do now to reduce my FOGO waste?
Residents keen to reduce their FOGO can start now by composting. For more information, check out our ‘don’t waste your green waste’ fact sheet.
Residents can also use green waste processing businesses, such as Green Solutions Wide Bay, to dispose of green waste for free before converting into compost.
So, what happens now?
Step 1 – review the business case (complete)
At its Ordinary Meeting on 28 October 2022, Bundaberg Regional Council resolved to progress with a peer reviewed business case on the introduction of a food and green waste bin collection service in the Bundaberg Region.
Step 2 – progress and evaluate a trial (from October 2023)
Following review of the business case Council agreed to progress the FOGO bin collection trial commencing in October 2023.
Step 3 – enter into a tender process
If the trial progresses and is deemed a success, Council may progress with the procurement of a FOGO kerbside bin collection service provider and separate FOGO processor. Due to the complexity of the tender and the various State Government regulations which will need to be adhered to by tenderers, it is anticipated this process would take approximately 18 months.
Step 4 - FOGO kerbside collection bins introduced
If rolled out, the majority of the region’s households would receive a third, lime green lidded bin just for FOGO which would be collected on a weekly basis. The recycling and residual waste bins would then be collected fortnightly. Council would support the community in making the transition through an extensive educational campaign.
If your household has received a notification about participating in the FOGO trial, you can find more information here.