Townsville households to take part in FOGO trial

Around 1,500 households in Idalia, Burdell, Heatley, and Vincent will be taking part in a trial of dedicated food organics and garden organics (FOGO) bins as part of Townsville City Council’s efforts to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the roll-out of food organics and garden organics bins was a measure to address requirements of the Australian Government’s National Waste Policy and the Queensland Government’s Waste Management and Recovery Strategy.

“As a local government, we have to ensure our processes align with the policies and strategies implemented by the Federal and State Government, and in this instance, this is meeting the requirements for reducing waste to landfill,” Cr Hill said.

“There has been a global shift in how waste is managed, and Council has a role and responsibility to implement new systems that improve our city’s sustainability and reduce the amount of waste going to our landfills and the impacts on the environment, in particular the Great Barrier Reef.

“Food organics and garden organics, or FOGO, bins are one option Council is exploring as we work towards our 2030 goal of zero waste to landfill.”

Cr Hill said about 500 households each in Idalia and Burdell would take part in a full food and garden organics trial, while about 500 houses in Heatley and Vincent would only trial collection of garden organics.

“The FOGO trial is an opportunity for us to collect evidence on how residents will benefit from rolling out the program city-wide and determine the impact it will have on our landfill capacity.

“Council has provided funding in the 2021/2022 Budget because we are committed to shifting to zero waste to landfill and we need a good sample of the community to see what we would need to do to roll out improved waste systems across the city.”

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the Queensland Government was pleased to support Townsville City Council to investigate new ways to recycle and reduce waste that would normally end up in landfill.

“We are investing more than $750,000 to help a number of local governments to trial green lid kerbside bins that accept household organic waste,” Ms Scanlon said.

“Nearly half of an average household’s waste is organic material that would normally end up as landfill.

“Diverted organic waste can be transformed into valuable products such as mulch, soil conditioner and compost that can be used in a variety of ways, including on Council gardens.

“By simply adding a green top bin to kerbside collections, households can play an important role in diverting waste from landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Council has been engaging with local businesses that provide green waste services to identify opportunities where we can work together achieving the ultimate goal in landfill reduction.

Townsville Water and Waste Committee chairperson Russ Cook said audits of Townsville’s waste had shown that nearly half the content placed in red lid bin were organics that could be diverted with the roll-out of FOGO.

“Council has to explore options for reducing waste to landfill, particularly as the State Government implements measures through their Waste Management and Recovery Strategy,” Cr Cook said.

“An important aspect of the trial working was ensuring residents have access to information about how to use their bins effectively and what can and can’t go in these bins. Participating residents will receive this information next week.

“For any waste management system, there is extensive education and engagement that needs to be undertaken throughout the community for it to work efficiently.

“All food waste, including fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products, eggshells and more can be put into the FOGO bin.

“Garden waste such as lawn clippings, leaves, and small branches can be put into both the FOGO and GO bins.”

Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said it was important to help provide people with more options.

“I know this trial will be embraced by people throughout Townsville,” he said.

“This is a great initiative to support as it will help the environment and reduce landfill in Townsville.”

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