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Food Organic Garden Organic (FOGO) Service

Your Green ‘FOGO’ Bin for collecting Food and Plant Waste Starts in March 2024.

A new kerbside bin for food and plant waste is starting on Monday, 4 March 2024.

Your new bin has a green lid, so it’s called your ‘green bin’.

This new service is supported by funding from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Go FOGO Grants.

​A three-bin kerbside service

You will now have a three-bin kerbside service with a

  1. Red bin,
  2. Yellow bin, and
  3. Green bin.

Your red bin (domestic waste) and yellow bin (recycling) will stay the same.

Your green bin will be collected every week with your red bin.

 

 

For more information, click on the + to expand the sections below.

When?

When will I get my green bin?

Your green bin will be delivered to your residence between 15 January and 23 February 2024.

When can I start putting out my green bin for collection?

The green bin collection will start from Monday, 4 March 2024.

When will my green bin be collected?

Your green bin is collected every week, together with your red bin.

  1. Every week put out your red and green bins.
  2. Every other week put out your yellow bin with your red and green bins.

Will my bin collection day stay the same?

Your bin collection day will stay the same. 

What?

What goes in the green bin?

Your green bin is a FOGO bin. FOGO stands for ‘Food Organics and Garden Organics’. This means that your green bin collects both food and plant waste.

The green bin collects food scraps and plant cuttings for recycling into compost and other soil improvers, making it easy for households to divert waste from landfill.

Can all my food go in the green bin?

Yes, all your food scraps can go in the green bin, including:

  • Raw and cooked food,
  • Bread, cakes and other baked goods,
  • Dairy food,
  • Eggs and eggshells,
  • Fruit and vegetables, including citrus fruit,
  • Meat and meat bones,
  • Mouldy, expired and partly eaten food,
  • Seafood, fish bones and seafood shells,
  • Take away food (no containers),
  • Tea leaves and coffee grinds (no tea bags or coffee pods).

All the scraps from edible things can go in your green bin but labels, wrappers, containers, cardboard and paper cannot go in.

Can all my plant cuttings go in the green bin?

Yes, all your plant cuttings can go in the green bin, including:

  • Diseased plants and leaves,
  • Flowers,
  • Leaves,
  • Grass clippings,
  • Palm fronds,
  • Twigs and small sticks, and
  • Weeds.

 All parts of your garden plants can go in the green bin but please don’t put in large logs.

What can’t go in the green bin?

Remember that only food and plants can go in the green bin. 

Please do not put in:

  • plastic,
  • cardboard,
  • compostable manufactured items, including compostable packaging and compostable cutlery,
  • packaging,
  • containers,
  • shoes,
  • clothes and other textiles.

Anything that isn’t part of your food or your garden plants cannot go in the green bin.

The food and plants from your green bin are recycled into high quality compost and soil improvers. The compost and soil improvers are used to grow more food and also used in sports fields, parks and gardens. Only putting food and plants in your green bin protects the soil and our food.

For more information, visit ‘FOGO information for households’ on the NSW EPA website.

What if I already put my food scraps and garden clippings in my compost bin or worm farm?

A lot of food scraps and plant cuttings can be managed in a home compost system. Your green bin can complement your home compost system by taking any food and plants that you may not put in your home compost, such as bones, citrus, diseased leaves and weeds.

What happens to the food and plants in my green bin?

  • The food and plants from your green bin are taken to the ANL organics processing facility at Blayney.
  • This is a certified facility that turns your FOGO into high quality soil conditioners and compost.
  • The soil conditioners and compost are valuable products that are in high demand for use in agriculture, horticulture, gardens, parks and sports fields.

What are the benefits of compost?

A ‘Food Organics and Garden Organics’ (FOGO) green bin recycles both food and plant material.

Recycling food and plants saves landfill space, returns nutrients and energy resources to the soil and has many other benefits including:

  • Preventing methane gas and toxic pollutants from forming during the decomposition of organic material because oxygen is present in the recycling process.
  • Increasing the water-holding capacity of soil which reduces the need for irrigation.
  • Improving the health of soil and, therefore, the plants which reduces the need for fertilisers and pesticides.

How?

How do I use the green bin?

Follow these four easy steps to using your green ‘FOGO’ bin to recycle your food and plants:

    1. A kitchen caddy will come with your bin.
      • Remove the caddy from the bin and keep it in your kitchen to collect food scraps while you cook.
    2. Collect your food scraps in your caddy.     
      • Your food scraps can be put straight into your caddy.
      • You don’t need to line the caddy but you can use newspaper or some white office paper if prefer to line it.
      • No plastic bags, including biodegradable bags, can go in the green bin. Plastic and biodegradable bags do not completely breakdown and leave microplastics that pollute the environment.
    3. Tip the contents of your caddy straight into your green bin.
      • Remember no plastic or biodegradable bags can go in the green bin.
      • If you are using newspaper or white office paper to line the caddy you can fold the newspaper over the food scraps and put the parcel of wrapped scraps in the green bin.
    4. Every week put your green bin out for collection.
      • Your green bin goes out every week, together with your red bin.

Why?

Why are we getting a green bin?

The aim of the green bin is to stop food and plants going into the red bin and being wasted in landfill.

The green bin provides households with a comprehensive composting system, making it easy for households to recycle food and plants.

Recycling food scraps and garden plant cuttings helps to:

  • Preserve landfill capacity,
  • Return nutrients to productive use,
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and
  • Save space in your red bin.

Council’s studies have shown that food and plants make up more than half of the waste in our red bins.

Together, households with a kerbside bin in the Lithgow Local Government Area could save more than 3000 tonnes of food and plants being wasted in landfill every year by putting food and plants into their green bins instead of their red bins.

What’s wrong with disposing of food and plants in the red bin?

Food and plants in the red bin go into landfill. Disposing of food and plants in landfill is a significant environmental problem because:

  • It contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Did you know: Food and plants need oxygen to decompose effectively. Oxygen is not available in landfill so decomposition is very slow and produces methane gas.

Methane gas is a greenhouse gas with a warming effect some 25 times greater than carbon dioxide.

In Australia, the greenhouse gas emissions from rotting organic matter in landfills are about the same as the emissions from the country’s aviation industry!

  • It increases the risk of harmful toxins polluting the environment.

Did you know: In landfill, liquids from slowly rotting food and plants release can mix with chemicals from the other waste. This creates a toxic sludge, called leachate, which is a risk to the surrounding land and water.

  • It wastes valuable nutrients and energy that are needed for our soils.

     

  • It wastes valuable landfill space.

In our local government area, we could save more than 3000 tonnes of food and plants from going into landfill each year if we stop putting food and plants in our red bin. Every little bit of our food and plants that we don’t put in our red bin makes a big difference.

The NSW Government will require the separate collection of food and garden organics from all NSW households by 2030.

Will I get more information about the green ‘FOGO’ bin?

An information pack will be delivered to you, together with your green bin, in February 2024.

During February 2024, you will receive:

  • Your green ’FOGO’ bin,
  • Your kitchen caddy, and
  • An information pack.

In addition to the information that comes with your FOGO bin, check Council’s website and Facebook page for updates, events and more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a kitchen caddy?

 

  • A kitchen caddy is a container with a lid for collecting food scraps.
  • The caddy makes it easy to carry food scraps from your kitchen to the green bin and tip them in.
  • Council is providing you with a kitchen caddy but you may use any suitable container.
  • Keep the caddy in your kitchen so you can scrape food scraps in while you prepare food.

kitchen caddy

Why can newspaper and white office paper be used as a caddy liner but other paper is not permitted in the FOGO bin?

  • Paper and cardboard items can be made with additives including chemicals such as per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
  • PFAS chemicals are also known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not breakdown in the environment or in our bodies.
  • These chemicals are often used to improve the water or grease resistance of products.
  • A wide range of paper and cardboard items may be made with additives including paper towels, tissues, serviettes, coffee filters, baking paper, food packaging and pizza boxes.
  • It is important to avoid releasing chemicals into the environment and the food chain so paper and cardboard items cannot go into the green ‘FOGO’ bin.
  • Newspaper and white office paper are accepted in small quantities to help collect food waste.

 

Why are compostable liners permitted in the green bin but biodegradable and other compostable items are not permitted?

  • Compostable caddy liners that meet Australian Standard AS4736: 2006 (for commercial composting) do not contain plastic and will completely breakdown so they are accepted into the FOGO recycling system as they are only a small portion of manufactured compostable items and can help some households to put food into the green bin. 
  • Biodegradable items do not completely breakdown and can leave chemicals that pollute the environment, so they are not accepted in the green FOGO bin.
  • Compostable products such as forks, plates and other items may contain additives that do not comply with Australian Standard AS4736:2006 so they must not be put in the green FOGO bin.
  • For more information, visit ‘FOGO information for households’ on the NSW EPA website.

How do I know if a compostable liner meets Australian Standard AS4736:2006?

Certified compostable liners that comply with Australian Standard AS4736:2006 (for commercial facilities) can fully break down in the FOGO processing facility.

  • If you use a compostable liner in the kitchen caddy, it must be certified to AS4736:2006.
  • Certified compostable liners will state on the label that they are certified to AS4736.
  • Look for the following logo that is only shown on compostable bags certified to AS4736:2006:

    ® registered trademark of European Bioplastics e.V. in the EU.

How can we reduce food waste?

In Australia, household food waste is a big problem. Recycling unavoidable food scraps helps but avoiding food waste is better. According to the 2021 Australian Household Food Waste Report, each person in Australia throws out $18.55 worth of food each week.  This adds up to over $960 each year in wasted food per person.

Food waste is often the result of buying too much, cooking too much and not storing food correctly. The good news is that some simple steps can help made a big reduction in the amount of food that gets wasted, including:

    • Checking what we have already got before we shop,
    • Listing what we need,
    • Buying only what is on the list and only in the quantities we need,
    • Planning to use leftovers at the next meal, and
    • Storing food carefully. The Sustainability Victoria website has a handy Guide for storing fresh produce

Will my green FOGO bin get smelly and attract pests?

Your green FOGO bin will be collected weekly to prevent pests and smells; however, the following tips can help keep your kitchen caddy and green FOGO bin smelling fresh and pest free:

  1. Keep the lids of your kitchen caddy and green FOGO bin closed when they are not being used.
  2. Empty your kitchen caddy into your green FOGO bin every 1-2 days.
  3. Wash the kitchen caddy after emptying it into the green FOGO bin or put it in the dishwasher.
  4. Put garden plants in the green FOGO bin first then layer food and plant material.
  5. Keep your green FOGO bin in the shade if possible.
  6. Keep your kitchen caddy in a shady spot on your kitchen bench, under the sink or in the fridge if you cannot empty it regularly.
  7. Minimise moisture by draining excess liquid from food.
  8. Wrap smelly foods such as meat, seafood and dairy products in newspaper before putting them in your caddy.
  9. Put smelly food, such as prawn shells, meat scraps and dairy food, in the freezer until the night you put your green FOGO bin out for collection.
  10. Sprinkle your kitchen caddy and green FOGO bin with bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, eucalyptus oil, citronella oil or tea tree oil if you notice any smells or pests.
  11. Caddy liners that meet Australian Standard AS4736:2006 (for commercial composting) can be used to line the kitchen caddy.
  • Only certified caddy liners can be used.
  • If you buy kitchen caddy liners, look for the seedling logo or kitchen caddy liners marked ‘AS4736’. Kitchen caddy liners certified AS4736 can usually be found at major supermarkets as well as some independent grocers and hardware retail stores.

More Info:

Contact Council

By telephone: 6354 9999

By email: council@lithgow.nsw.gov.au