Elwood residents share their excitement for FOGO trial

City of Port Phillip
In August 2020, Council launched a kerbside trial for food organics and garden organics (FOGO) recycling to approximately 500 households across Elwood.

We wanted to understand the impact of a kerbside FOGO service and how households would utilise it.

The Elwood FOGO trial was championed by our community and achieved brilliant results. The trial diverted approximately 115 tonnes of food and garden organics from landfill throughout the 10-month trial period and achieved an overall contamination rate of

In 2023 we will be rolling out new kerbside FOGO services to eligible properties across the municipality. In preparation for this, we asked some of our Elwood FOGO trial residents to share their thoughts on FOGO recycling as well as tips for other residents.

Has your household benefitted from having a FOGO bin?

“It has brought a greater consciousness of food waste – both the amount and how we can dispose of it – in a way that betters our community and environment. Previously I had felt that I was wasting the use of the rubbish bin when I filled it with garden refuse. Now I feel good about gardening and tidying up my yard. It almost acts as a motivator to tidy and prune the garden as I know I’m disposing of it in a beneficial way.” – Lisa from Elwood

“We love the FOGO bin! Most of our waste (post recycling) is organic in nature, so to be able to funnel this material to somewhere it can be put to good use, rather than just dumped in landfill, is fantastic. It gives us a sense of being part of the solution, rather than just adding to the problem.” – Elwood resident

“Yes. I have wanted my green waste recycled for ages, but wasn’t organized enough to create a compost bin, and it seemed too complicated. I feel really happy that it’s no longer going to landfill.” – Elwood resident

“Yes, absolutely! As the FOGO Champion of the family (a role that I take very seriously), the children are more aware about composting and sustainable practices to make a positive impact on our community and planet Earth. It makes us all think twice before throwing something in the general garbage bin!” – Michelle from Elwood

“The FOGO bin has benefitted us twofold in that the disposal of most garden waste can be easily maintained and has eliminated the requirement of a hard rubbish waste collection as the prime source of garden waste removal.” – Greg from Elwood

“The FOGO bin has been an amazing addition to our home. We run three compost bins so we compost everything from the kitchen. Having the FOGO bin has made keeping the house clean easy. We put the lawn clippings, all the leaves and every green waste in the bin. We fill it at least once a month.” – Adam from Elwood

How full is your garbage bin since you have been using a FOGO bin?

“We have the small garbage bin size and it only gets half filled each week versus fully filled prior to the introduction of the FOGO pilot, so 50 per cent of our garbage was attributable to food waste! Who would have thought!” – Michelle from Elwood

“Our hard waste garbage bin is very rarely more than 50 per cent full since the inception of the FOGO bin.” – Greg from Elwood

“Our red lid garbage bin usually only has a small bag of rubbish weekly (the size of a small fruit & veg bag from Coles), once our waste is separated into FOGO, Recycle and RedCycle Plastic.” – Elwood resident

“My garbage bin used to be full each week. Now, it rarely gets to halfway.” – Elwood resident

“Much less full than it used to be – probably now half full. We already compost and recycle as much as we can, but garden/leaf waste was still going into our bin.” – Jon from Elwood

What would you say to residents who are concerned about the smell of a FOGO bin?

“As regards the smell our personal experience has been that it is not an issue and we have only washed our bin out once since the trial began.” – Greg from Elwood

“We don’t have an issue with smell from the FOGO caddy indoors, except in particularly hot summer weather, when we empty it a little more regularly. The outdoor bin can get a little whiffy during summer, and benefits from a quick rinse with the hose from time to time. But it’s really no different to a regular bin with organic waste left in the sun.” – Elwood resident

“The smell isn’t as bad as a compost bin that you have to churn. If the smell is offensive, I just stand back when I open the lid and hold my breath/breathe out as I put green waste in. It really hasn’t been an issue.” – Elwood resident

“We don’t have any problem. It is stored out of the sun in a back corner of our courtyard and camouflaged by surrounding potted plants that might help dispel any smell. It is only 8 metres from our back door. Also, as above, it doesn’t receive very much protein from us. That, plus our dominant use of the bin for dry leaves and garden clippings is perhaps also a factor in avoiding any smells.” – Peter from Elwood

“I’ve not really noticed a smell at all… and we keep our FOGO outside.” – Jon from Elwood

“1) Store your FOGO bin in the shade away from sunlight; 2) Consider freezing meat/seafood waste and add to bin on the evening prior to collection.” – Michelle from Elwood

“The main time I’ve been aware of a smell and experienced tiny bugs is during warmer weather in summer. It is relatively easy to manage by occasional use of bi-carb and newspaper, that is, putting a layer between food scraps or wrapping food scraps up.” – Lisa from Elwood

Do you have any tips for residents who are about to receive a kerbside FOGO bin?

“We recommend that residents who are about to receive a kerbside FOGO bin to embrace the concept, especially if you have a garden. We were sceptical at first but in all honesty, we were quickly won over. It must also be noted that we have ample room on site to accommodate the FOGO bin as well as our waste and recycle bins.” – Greg from Elwood

“If you have one, a shady spot for the outdoor bin is a good option in warmer summer weather. Lining the caddy with newspaper makes it easy to keep clean and transfer its contents to the outdoor bin.” – Elwood resident

“Have the small bin on the kitchen bench when you start, so that it’s a visual reminder, to help break the habit of using the rubbish bin. Rinse the small bin with dishwashing liquid each time you empty it, and place newspaper on the bottom. It’s quick and becomes part of your routine.” – Elwood resident

“When we got ours, I had a cunning plan to glue a small anti smell cartridge of some sort or other to the underside of the lid. It hasn’t proven to be necessary. But others might consider it. I also guess our storage location out of the sun is a good idea.” – Peter from Elwood

“Bin there. Done that. Forgo your worries – FOGO’s the future!” – Jon from Elwood

“Engage all members of the household and talk about how to use and what doesn’t go in it. Take it in turns to empty the caddy on a regular basis. Wrap messy food scraps in newspaper.” – Lisa from Elwood

“Enjoy your FOGO bin. Utilise it as it saves much time. A wonderful addition to your home.” – Adam from Elwood

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