FOGO is any food and garden waste generated in the home.
The FOGO trial will collect organic material from around 1000 selected households in Gatton and Laidley (north of the railway in both towns) and will divert this material away from landfill where it will be converted to valuable compost which can be used to improve soils.
The Queensland Government has funded the trial to get data on organics management in Lockyer Valley and to see how much can be diverted from landfill.
Food and garden organic waste is around half of your household waste stream and it’s a valuable material that can be converted to compost and used to improve soils.
The Lockyer Valley contains prime agricultural land and returning valuable organic material to the soil is a better outcome than landfilling it where it consumes expensive landfill space and generates methane gas, a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Council’s Gatton Landfill is nearing the end of its landfilling capacity and, when landfilling is no longer an option in the Lockyer Valley, Council will be faced with increased transport costs and gate fees to take our waste to a commercial landfill outside the region. These costs will ultimately be passed onto ratepayers so making our landfill last helps keep costs down for ratepayers.
The Queensland Government has introduced a levy on waste sent to landfill. In coming years, this will cost Council around $1 million per year. Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill reduces this cost burden on Council and, ultimately, ratepayers.
There are approximately 1000 households selected to be part of the trial – around 500 each in selected areas of Gatton and Laidley (north of the railway in each town).
These areas were selected for several reasons including (in no order or preference) broad demographic representation, variety of dwelling types (including single and multi-unit dwellings and some food businesses).
Participating households will be advised individually in writing by Council prior to the Trial commencing.
There is no cost to participate in the Trial as Council has been funded by the Queensland Government.
All we ask is that participants in the Trial separate their waste and use the FOGO bin as requested.
Any cost/s for the service on an ongoing basis after the Trial will be considered and residents will be advised closer to the end of the trial.
Council encourages those residents and businesses who have been selected to fully participate to help us assess the benefits and challenges of this project, on behalf of the wider community.
We ask that you embrace the Trial and see what works for you and provide Council with constructive feedback when asked.
General waste bins and the recycling bins will both be collected fortnightly in the selected areas for the duration of the trial. Using the weekly FOGO bin properly will remove almost everything from your bin that smells.
Please don’t put general waste or recyclables in the FOGO bin.
The collection system will consist of the following:
A kitchen caddy and a roll of compostable liners – these will be delivered to your home in the week commencing 9 August 2021.
A 240-litre lime green lidded wheelie bin – this will be delivered to your home in or around the week commencing 16 August 2021.
Your FOGO waste will be collected by our normal waste contractor, JJ Richards and Sons. It will then be delivered to our Gatton Waste Facility where it will go through an aerobic treatment process to create nutrient rich compost.
The compost will be used in several different applications throughout the trial to determine the most suitable and valuable option.
The Queensland Government has generously funded the Trial to get data on organics management in Lockyer Valley and to see how much can be diverted from landfill.
As a rule, any waste that comes from a plant or animal can go in your FOGO bin.
The FOGO collection system accepts the following:
All garden waste including trimmings, clippings and prunings
Meat (including bones)
Eggs/eggshells and dairy products
Coffee grinds and tea leaves
Pasta, bread, rice and cereal
Seafood and shells
Takeaway food and leftovers
Vegetable and fruit scraps
Tissues, paper towels, shredded paper
Pet waste – IMPORTANT NOTES
animal waste can go in the FOGO bin so long as it's not bagged, or is bagged in an approved compostable bag or wrapped in newspaper or other compostable material.
Soiled newspaper from bird cages can go in, as can kitty litter if it is marked as organic.
Please provide your own approved compostable bags for use when walking your dogs IF you want to put the waste in the FOGO bin.
Only COMPOSTABLE bags can be used – look for the word ‘compostable’, or the compostable logo or these certifications: AS 5810, AS 4736, ASTM D6400, and EN13432.
The FOGO bin can complement your compost heap as it can take the things that your home compost can’t – like weed seeds, excess lawn clippings and leaves, meat, bones and dairy products.
Compost bins need the right blend of ‘green’ and ‘brown’ materials so if you’ve got excess of one type, you can add it to the green bin, knowing that it will still be composted. Branches that are too thick for the compost heap can also be put in the organics bin.
Worms can be fussy eaters and often do not like onions, citrus, eggshells and potato peels. You can put the things they don’t like in the FOGO bin.
Chooks are great at turning organic matter into fertilizer. There are some things that chooks won’t eat so they can be put in the FOGO bin.
Until the FOGO collection starts, continue to use your recycling and general waste bins as normal.
On the week commencing 23 August 2021, the FOGO collection will start on your normal waste collection day each week. At this time, your general waste bin collection will move to fortnightly on the opposite week to your recycling bin.
Every week on your normal waste collection day, place your FOGO bin on the footpath for collection. Your general waste bin (the one with the red lid) will be collection FORTNIGHTLY during the trial on the opposite week to your recycling bin.
This means, from the start of the FOGO service, your waste collection days now look like this:
30 August: FOGO and general waste bins
6 September: FOGO and recycling bins
13 September: FOGO and general waste bins
Continue this pattern for the one-year duration of the trial or until advised otherwise by Council.
Your FOGO bin (lime green lidded) goes out EVERY week
Your General Waste bin (red lidded) goes out FORTNIGHTLY during the trial.
Your Recycling bin (yellow lidded) goes out FORTNIGHTLY on the opposite week to your General WASTE bin.
Only place organic material in your FOGO bin as this helps Council generate a better compost.
Remove food from containers or packaging before placing in your caddy or FOGO bin.
Use your kitchen caddy and compostable liner to collect any organic material within your home and then empty the liner and contents into your large bin outside. Remember to use only the compostable liners supplied – please don’t use plastic bags. If you need more liners during the trial, please contact Council.
Don’t use plastic bags
Empty the contents of the kitchen caddy into the FOGO (lime green lid) every few days or as required.
Add paper towel or tissues to your caddy to help absorb any liquids.
Keep it near the kitchen bench where you prepare food to make it easy to remember to use it.
Keep your kitchen caddy out of direct sunlight if possible.
Drain off wet leftovers before putting them into your kitchen caddy.
Don’t let raw meat or other very smelly items (e.g. fish or prawn shells) sit in the caddy for too long, instead freeze them until your FOGO collection day.
Give your caddy a wipe down or a wash occasionally. It is dishwasher proof.
See a list of acceptable compostable liners available from local retailers
Keep the roll of liner bags in a dry and dark place, like a kitchen drawer. If they sit in the sun too long, they will start to break down.
Tie off your liner bags when full, as this will reduce the likelihood of your wheelie bin from smelling and stop ants getting in.
If you run out of compostable liners, please call Council on 1300 005 872.
You can also make your own caddy liners with newspaper – there are lots of ‘how to’ videos on YouTube, just search: ’How to make a liner for your kitchen caddy’.
Never put plastic bags in your kitchen caddy or outdoor FOGO bin – not even degradable, biodegradable or ‘plant based’ bags – they can still contain plastic and break down to become ‘micro-plastics’ which are very bad for our environment.
Only COMPOSTABLE bags can be used – look for the word ‘compostable’, or the compostable logo or these certifications:
ASTM D6400, and
The lime green lidded FOGO bin will be collected weekly so it shouldn’t smell any more than your rubbish bin does now.
Your red lidded general waste bin will be collected fortnightly for the duration of the trial. Most items that cause odours can go in the FOGO bin, with a couple of exceptions, such as disposable nappies.
Nappies should be placed in the red lidded general waste bin. Emptying the poo down the toilet and securing the nappy in a plastic bag will minimise odours. Research has shown that nappies smell progressively worse for four days then do not smell any worse (or better) after that. So, a red lidded bin containing nappies smells no worse after a fortnight than it does after a week.
To reduce odours put your FOGO bin out for collection every week, even if it’s not full
Any food-contaminated cardboard/paper e.g. pizza boxes, paper kitchen towel and tissues as well as shredded paper can go in your FOGO bin. These will help absorb moisture.
Wrap and place any smelly food scraps such as seafood shells in the freezer until collection day.
Keep your bins in the shade with the bin lids tightly closed
Layering cardboard, newspaper or green waste at the bottom of the FOGO bin can help to absorb liquids and prevent waste sticking to the inside of the bin. If you’re using cardboard, make sure you remove any plastic or sticky tape before placing it in the bin.
Where possible, allow lawn clippings and garden cuttings to dry out before going in the bin to avoid weight issues in the FOGO bin, and cut garden waste to size so the lid can be closed.
There is a weight limit of 70kg on FOGO bins and overfull bins may not be collected.
Try sprinkling baking soda, kitty litter, vinegar, oil of cloves or lemon juice into the bin after it has been emptied or clean your bin regularly with hot soapy water.
Your kitchen scraps will be in compostable bags – these small bags will hold in smell better than a regular indoor waste bin and also won’t be inside for as long. Bagging food waste also means it won’t mix with any garden waste and start to compost in the FOGO wheelie bin. Unlike a compost bin, green waste only sits in your bin for one week between FOGO collections, and shouldn’t create bad smells.
Use the FOGO bin for:
All food organics including raw and cooked meat, bread, dairy, bones, shells and garden organics. The contents of this bin will be composted so it’s important to keep plastic and glass out of this bin.
All food waste is to go into your FOGO bin either in a compostable liner, wrapped in newspaper or loose in the bin. Please make sure all food packaging is removed and placed in the correct bin, as any plastic/foam packaging will contaminate the compost.
Pet droppings and kitty litter in a compostable liner or straight into the FOGO bin.
Biodegradable or any other plastic bags/liners are not to go into your FOGO bin, only compostable liners provided by Council are to be used, as they will break down naturally in the composting process.
Use the recycling bin for:
Paper (excluding shredded paper)
Clean Cardboard (flattened)
Glass (clean and empty)
Plastic containers and plastic bottles (clean and empty)
Aluminium cans (clean and empty)
Steel cans (clean and empty)
All items should be clean, dry and empty with lids removed and placed in the bin loosely.
The following items should not be placed into your yellow-lidded recycling bin:
Soft (scrunchable) plastics e.g. plastic bags, plastic film and snack wrappers
Nappies or feminine hygiene products
Meat trays and polystyrene
Clothing and textiles
Garden and food waste
Gas bottles and aerosol cans
Electronic waste and batteries
Ropes, cables and hose
Recycling in bags.
Use this bin for:
General waste that cannot be composted or recycled, including:
Nappies and feminine hygiene products
Ropes, straps and hoses
Broken textiles/toys that are unfit for donation
The following items should not be placed into your red lid general waste bin:
FOGO material (food scraps and garden organics)
Lockyer Valley Regional Council
Neil is one of Council's Community Engagement Officers