FOGO figures show big reduction in waste to landfill – Wollongong

The FOGO summer figures are in, and we’re pleased to share that you’ve made a big difference to the amount of waste entering landfill at our Waste Depot at Whytes Gully.

While it’s still too early for the data to show long-term changes to the behaviour of Wollongong residents, the significant reduction in waste headed to the tip is a positive step for our environment.

In July 2020, four months prior to the launch of FOGO, our community was sending on average 3540 tonnes of red bin waste per month to landfill. During the first four months of 2021, this dropped to an average of 3120 tonnes per month.

Thanks to the efforts of our residents taking on the FOGO challenge, we were able to divert on more than 1600 tonnes of FOGO from landfill between January and April.

“It’s difficult to picture a tonne of anything, let alone a tonne of FOGO waste but this volume is significant. To put it in perspective, over summer, we were diverting the weight of nearly 44 truckloads of waste each month out of landfill,” Wollongong City Council Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“The data shows the significant effort our community has put into moving their food waste from their red general waste bins, into their green FOGO bins. I want to congratulate and thank our residents for their enthusiasm and continued support to make FOGO a success here in Wollongong.”

One of the challenges we’ve faced in interpreting the data is accounting for the type of organic waste collected as it’s known to change depending on the season.

“We know that in a wet summer, like the one we had this year, we’re likely to see an increase in the amount of garden organics collected. And in winter, as cooler weather means plants don’t grow as fast and people garden and mow less, the volume of garden organics in FOGO bins naturally decreases,” Cr Bradbery said.

“However, since the roll-out of FOGO, we’ve recorded a substantial increase in the amount of material collected from green-lidded bins. We believe we can attribute this to FOGO and the increase in collection services of green-lidded organics from fortnightly to weekly.

“This is the very first time that we’ve seen the volume of material collected in green-lidded organics bins overtake waste collected in red-lidded bins. This is a great achievement.”

We’ll continue to collect data as well as undertake audits of the contents of bins over the longer term to get a better understanding of how our community is using FOGO.

In April 2021, Wollongong City Council was awarded funding from the NSW Government to boost food and garden organics collections. This 12-month trial will start soon and will investigate different ways we can incorporate FOGO collection across 1,500 different types of multi-unit homes, from large, high-rise units to smaller unit dwellings.

This trial will help us determine how best to expand FOGO recycling services to residents in units so that they can eventually join the rest of the community with FOGO.

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