FOGO Waste Warrior Program celebrates first collection
Lockyer Valley Regional Council’s Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) initiative has made its way into our local schools, ensuring this important message is instilled in our youngest community members.
The FOGO Waste Warrior Educational Program commenced at the Gatton Primary School and Lockyer Valley Early Learning Centre in May, and today marked their very first collection.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council Deputy Mayor and Portfolio Councillor for Waste, Cr Jason Cook took the opportunity to chat to the region’s Waste Warriors about all things recycling, including why they think it’s important to reduce the amount of waste that’s going to landfill.
“The Waste Warrior Program is all about starting discussions around diverting waste from landfill as early as possible.
“We want to play an active role in educating our local students about food waste and the circular economy, and this initiative is doing just that,” Cr Cook said.
The Waste Warrior Program includes twenty year 4, 5 and 6 students from the Gatton Primary School.
The six-week program will conclude at the end of August, with the school to receive processed FOGO to use in an allocated garden during the final week.
For further information, contact Council’s Waste Team on 0417 416 223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Week 35 to 52 Lockyer Valley Regional Council have decided to roll out a FOGO Waste Warrior project with the Lockyer Valley Early Learning Centre and Gatton State School.
The purpose of the waste warrior project is to attempt to retrieve 'clean' streams of waste whilst using the project to educate students on the importance of waste diversion.
Reading through the submissions from the primary school students around why they would like to be waste warriors highlights how important it is to manage waste effectively.
We have currently diverted 330 tonnes of FOGO at week 41/ 52 of the trial.
Thats a total of 66 elephants!!
270 tonnes of FOGO has been diverted from landfill as part of the trial- which equates to 54 elephants.
Council were lucky enough to have a few community members pop down to Narda Lagoon in Laidley to see the FOGO being used in a community space with native plants.
It was an amazing opportunity to finally get to share the FOGO- the community can now see exactly why we are so excited because the product is amazing!
The mid trial celebrations had to be cancelled due to the floods at the end of February so this was the perfect time to share the FOGO journey with those who directly contributed to the end user product!
After 24 weeks of our FOGO journey we have now something to show off- but what an amazing journey it has been!
200 tonnes of FOGO material diverted from landfill
General (red) waste has been reduced by 50% in the trial areas
Reducing waste to landfill helps build the sustainable future for the Lockyer Valley
FOGO contamination is tracking at under 2% which means more of the product is able to be reused, and processing costs can be kept low.
Our plant operators screened pile 1 today, which is now sitting ready for the next phase- which will be to demonstrate the circular economy story and showcase the product to the community by placing the final product in a community garden for a visual demonstration. This is the best opportunity we have had to highlight to our community the benefits of FOGO- not to mention also creating a nexus between end user product and the importance of deterring contamination!
Separating food and garden waste from the general waste stream has paid off for our trial participants and everything that they have placed in their green bin can now be reused to benefit the community.
We are looking forward to getting our hands dirty in the community garden- sharing the FOGO story and building the sustainable future for the Lockyer Valley!
Today marks the first official FOGO screen for soil testing!
We have just under 190 tonnes of FOGO diverted from landfill- equating to 38 elephants!
What an amazing effort the trial participants have put in over the past 23 weeks- and now we get to show them the fruits (or compost shall we say) of their labour!
Stay tuned as to where we take this amazing product next- time to showcase to the entire community!
Last week pile 1 had finished processing and needed to be relocated.
This is the last stage of our trial process. From here we plan to get the material ready for showcasuing in local community spaces to celebrate FOGO with the trial participants.
180 tonnes of FOGO collected so far, tracking at under 1.6% contamination (approximately 36 elephants).
We were lucky enough to have a massive help from our plant operators Russell and Simon (Russell gets a little camera shy but he is a very big part of the massive effort they have put into helping us achieve our fogo goals.
The earthy smells and steam coming from the pile while it was being moved was amazing!
Happy New Year 2022!!
Due to the holiday period we havent been able to provide weekly updates however the waste team have been popping up to Mt FOGO every Monday to pick contamination (the things we do whilst we are on holidays- pun intended).
We has reservations heading into the Christmas period, as we knew we were potentially running the gauntlet of potentially high levels of contamination due to a number of factors.
Trial participants were going to be home more, wardrobe cleanouts and yard cleanups were likely and of course like our own households, more waste was produced during this period than any other time of the year.
The burning question that haunted the waste team during this period was "Would the FOGO bin become that extra bin used for general waste?"
Turns out we had absolutely nothing to fear! Our trial participants took the challege with open arms and produced the following collections!
|13 December 2021||10.92||140kgs|
|20 December 2021||9.38||120kgs|
|27 December 2021||7.26||140kgs|
|3 January 2022||9.20||160kgs|
Tonnes remained high, low contamination rate continued and presentation rate remained steady! Our FOGO trial participants are amazing!
Having diverted almost 150 tonnes of FOGO from landfill in a 4 month period is an amazing way to finish off 2021 (30 x elephants in tow!).
What an exciting year we are heading into for 2022!
We now have two massive piles of FOGO!
11.4 tonnes this week!
Total tonnes 113.22!
Presentation rate is slowly climbing to 61%. The attached graph below highlights the collections and contamination up to the 6th December.
We have put the tonnes in kilograms due to contamination being so low (you wouldnt see it otherwise).
We have also attached a few photos this week that speak a thousand workds about how much fun we are having with the FOGO!
The mountain is high now, as you can see our Landfill operator Kerry has been having some fun striking the FOGO pose!
I am sure the trial participants are just as proud of Mt FOGO as we are!
The first bit of exciting news:
We cracked 10 tonnes!
Second bit of exciting news:
We cracked 100 total tonnes of FOGO diverted through the trial.
10.34 tonnes has been collected from our amazing trial participants this week. It has been an outstanding effort with lots of cut grass and excitingly lots of little green compostable liners full of food!
Each week we receive our contamination report and we track 'regular contaminators'. These properties are places under our intervention program with methods of letter box drops, positive incentives and of course good old fashioned phone call to touch base and see if they need a helping hand to sort their waste. This provides us with the tangible data about contaminating households and why they contaminate, but also what method of intervention works to see if any trends appear.
Interestingly the slight changes we have made in our method of contamination tracking has paid off over the last two weeks. Personalised letters and FOGO trial progress reports hand delivered to these properties has seen a dramatic change to their contaminating pattern. The common theme around feedback I have received from these participants is that they need a little extra support and when we work through their waste questions I always receive the same feeedback; "Oh... so I can put that in the FOGO bin now!". It is so refreshing to know you are providing a solution for landfill and also providing meaningful education that will shape the community in years to come.
In the new year we hope to implement a similar program that identifies 'non-presenters' and how we can promote positive messaging to these properties to get even more FOGO out of landfill!
Check out our Quick Stats below!
This week we had the members of the Darling Downs South West Regional Waste Group attend Mount FOGO to get a closer look at how the trial is tracking so far!
It was a pleasure to showcase our FOGO and of course talk about the findings thus far!
They were very impressed with the amount of elephant tonnes we had processing on the static aerated system.
Rain, hail, (mud)..... or shine it is great to take others on our journey and share our experiences!
Total tonnes now sits at 91.48
FOGO... beautiful FOGO!
This week our amazing landfill supervisor Melissa Brooking got to show off some of the amazing FOGO to local newspapers.
Our community will be so proud of the two huge piles of FOGO we now have aerating at the Gatton Landfill! We are averaging 1.3%- 2% contamination each week which is staggering- it just goes to show how invested trial participants are in the FOGO trial and ensuring the sustainable future of the Lockyer Valley!
So how much FOGO do we have now?
That is 17 elephants..... thats so much landfill space saved already! Thats almost 2 elephants worth of FOGO every week!
The most exciting part is that we are only in week 12 of 52 weeks and the participants have ramped up the collections to 9+ tonnes each week whilst maintaining the low contamination.
Another cool 9.6 tonnes this week!
This means that the last three weeks we have averaged 8 tonnes every week with presentation rates improving every week.
Whilst moving the FOGO pile around this week to lay down more pipes to process this awesome compost material, we shot some really cool footage of the steam coming off the pile.
Lockyer Valley Regional 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 finding a solution to this problem helps keep costs down for ratepayers. Council's Waste team randomly selected three general waste bins in the region to have a look what makes up the general waste stream and separating items that could go in either your compost bin or your recycling bin.
Did you know that by reducing food waste in Australia, we have the potential to save each family an average of $3,800 per year?
Research undertaken by the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre found that nearly 300kgs of food is wasted in Australia per person per year, with household food waste making up 2.5 million tonnes, or about 34% of the overall total amount of food wasted. Approximately 92% of household food waste still goes directly to landfill, where it anaerobically decomposes, expelling methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) is a kerbside collection service that allows food to be added to the green lid garden waste bin so it can be recycled into top quality compost
Worm Farming/ Bokashi/ Composting
Many of us dont know where to start and the great news is we have some amazing links to websites that highlight how easy it is to do in your home, even if you live in a unit!!
Trash Hero Organisation- Learn what composting is and how it can help you to reduce waste and be a Trash Hero
The University of Queensland- Composting 101: with Georgia from the UQ Community Garden Club in Gatton
ShareWaste - Give your waste a second chance! This is great for those living in unit blocks or community housing.
Reduce Food Waste
Shopping Savvy! 45% of Australians admit to over buying at the supermarket so planning ahead is critical to reducing the amount of food waste we produce. There are a range of websites and information on the web (including a few handy apps you can install on your phone) to help effectively plan for your trip to the shops!
Perfectly imperfect! As the old saying goes 'don't judge a book by its cover', the same can be said about food that may look like the odd one out. Most retailers will offer discounts on fruit and veg that have slight cosmetic faults. We need to love these foods as well, and lets be honest- anywhere we can save a few dollars is a win-win!
Love your left overs! Australians have reported that they have eyes bigger than their bellies (18.1% in fact), so if you dont eat everything you cook for dinner, freeze it a eat it another day!
Make smoothies! At the end of each week, have a smoothie-a-thon and whip up all your left over fruits into nutrient-jam packed smoothies! Best part? You can also freeze the smoothies for drinking on a warm afternoon!
Understanding food labels- Become informed on how to read food labels, including use by dates. Click here to find out more on how to read food labels.
Week 9 Collection update.
Melbourne Cup collection week has produced some serious FOGO!!
Our trial participants have been busy mowing their yards and trimming their gardens this week, and visually we noticed a lot less contamination and a lot more food waste.
This is an amazing effort, and it is great to see that participants are using their compostable bags to give us their food waste.
Our grand total now sits at 64.52 tonnes!
This week we have also filmed a waste characterisation audit to help promote waste separation and highlight the food/organic waste volumes in general waste bins (red bin).
Check out the Quick Stats below to see our FOGO trending data!
Week 9 produced 1.5 x elephants worth of FOGO= 8.4 tonnes to be exact!
Lots of grass clippings this week which was amazing! The earthy aroma coming from the collection was really indicative of the stormy weather and rain we have had in the past week.
This was our biggest collection of FOGO thus far and we have estimated Mount FOGO to be sitting at approximately 8 feet high and 7 feet wide!
This brings the total to a whopping 55.38 tonnes!
So lets do some math..... 570 residents in the trial areas are currently participating... and producing on average 6.15 tonnes of FOGO every week (waste diverted from the red bin= landfill).
Now just imagine if 1000 residents were diverting their food and organic waste from their red bin (landfill). Thats approximately 12 tonne of FOGO diverted from the landfill every week!
Lets go bigger.... if 5000 residents were diverting food and organic waste from their red bin (landfill), that would mean approximately 60 tonnes of FOGO diverted from the landfill every week- AND 3120 tonnes diverted each YEAR!
Do you know how many elephants that is......................................ALOT!
(624 elephants to be exact)
If we didnt divert the 624 elephants worth of FOGO tonnage from landfill each year, you can imagine how quickly it will fill up.
Landfill space is precious, so if we can divert food and organic material from landfill and into a valuable resource such as compost, its a win win!
See Quick Stats below for trending data!
Week 8 we decided to do a short time lapse video to highlight out picking process.
Each week Council's Waste team eagerly await the FOGO collection from the trial areas of Gatton and Laidley to see how much contamination is presented in the FOGO load.
Contamination plays a massive role in a FOGO collections and has the ability to determine the viability of a roll out.
The financial implications associated with picking and screening out contamination to ensure a clean compostable product can really blow out if it is not managed correctly.
Behaviour change and awareness campaigns have amazing impacts on contamination- which has been effective in the Lockyer Valley trial to date, resulting in contamination keeping under 3% which is amazing.
This week we collected 6.38 tonnes bringing the grand total to 46.98 tonnes!
9 x elephants! Well done everyone!
Click below to see this weeks trending Quick Stats!
This week we attended the Lockyer Valley Community Wellbeing Day to talk to residents about FOGO!
It was great to see so many people interested in FOGO, and have this opportunity to provide education to the wider community around the importance of waste separation and diverting waste from landfill.
Residents and trial participants who stopped by to say hello were excited to see our interactive compost display.
Providing an opportunity to look, smell and touch the compost the trial participants have created really hit home!
We have now collected 40.6 tonnes of FOGO (8 elephants to be exact!) and contamination levels have remained stable.
We look forward to holding more sessions in the near future whereby residents will have the opportunity to s ask questions and have a squiz at their FOGO in the making!
Check out our Quick Stats below!
This week was our long weekend which produced a garden organic rich collection- everyone was clearly gardening with the amazing weather!
We were lucky enough to have some amazing helpers attend to pick the contamination- big thanks to those who came and assisted on the public holiday.
We collected a total of 5.34 tonnes this week- with a only a small amount of contamination within the collection.
We have a total of 34.58 tonnes diverted which is testament to the amazing effort our community is making to trial FOGO!
Check out our Quick Stats below!
Week 5 of the FOGO trial has resulted in 5.68 tonnes of organic material being diverted from landfill.
This brings us to a total of 29.24 tonnes!
Contamination weighed in at 140kgs this week, primarily made up of bagged waste (pink bags in the photograph above) and a staggering 210 containers!
That is a total $42.00 worth of refundable containers that our team picked from the contamination.
Progress reports will be mailed out to the trial residents in the coming weeks to celebrate the efforts of participating households.
See this weeks Quick Stats below!
Top Tip #1- Pantry and Freezer Clean outs!
Are you ready to have a clean out of your pantry or freezer?
The daunting task is always associated with the fear of filling up the red bin before collection.
Now you can use your FOGO bin to help clean out the freezer and pantry!
Simple steps can help free up space in your red bin, and keep your FOGO bin full of organic material.
Remove all packaging!!! This is the most important step.
This includes zip lock bags, plastic bags, tins, plastic packaging and glad wrap.
The only items that should be going into the FOGO bin is the food content.
Simply wrap food items in paper or newspaper- or use the compostable liners provided to you.
Contamination of the FOGO bin results in plastics being processed within the compost.
Our community has been busy this week collecting food scraps and garden waste for our FOGO trial.
Remember all food scraps are welcome! Just simply bag the food waste in the liners provided, tie it up and place it in your FOGO bin.
Council collected 5.16 tonnes of FOGO from our community this week.
The mountain of FOGO continues to grow which is amazing to see.
Contamination was higher this week, equating to 5% of the total tonnes collected. The contamination largely consisted of bagged garbage, soft plastics and food contained within plastic.
The contamination is something we have been expecting to tackle, so Council will provide participants with information to assist in making the right choice when choosing "which bin" in the coming weeks of the trial.
This will involve information around the RED, YELLOW and FOGO bin so the choice is easy for participants.
Sensors have now been placed in the FOGO pile to assist in monitoring the temperature levels of the compost.
Ideally we like to keep the pile processing at temperatures between 60-70 degrees to keep the composting process at optimum levels.
See below at our Quick Stats for more information:
Council’s FOGO Trial produced some interesting learning outcomes for us in week three!
Thank you to everyone who participated this week and rolled out their FOGO bins for collection!
This week, a total of 6.88 tonnes of FOGO was collected from Laidley and Gatton Trial areas, with more residents rolling out their FOGO bins from the previous fortnight – a wonderful outcome!
Our volunteers sort each FOGO collection for contamination so we can produce clean compost. This week the collection contained 2.6 per cent contamination of the total load.
The contamination consisted of soft plastics, garbage bags of general waste and nappies.
Council’s Waste Team will focus on assisting Trial participants select the correct bin for waste, with educational information to be mailed to their properties.
To date, a total of 18.4 tonnes of FOGO has been diverted from landfill, which is the weight of almost three elephants. Well done Trial participants and keep up the good work!
See our Quick Stats for week 3 below!
Council's Waste Team hit the pavement this week to talk to residents about FOGO.
Fortnightly general waste collection is now in place and we were interested to see any changes in behaviour from our community.
This week we collected a total of 4.86 tonnes of food and garden organic material to be processed on our static aerated floor to create compost as part of the trial.
In addition to this amazing result, contamination levels were at a mere 0.8 per cent which largely consisted of glass bottles and plastic containers that belong in the yellow bin.
Thank you to those participating in the trial for this wonderful result!
To date, we have approximately 11.46 tonnes of organic material cooking away on our static aerated floor to make compost, which is equivalent to the weight of an African Elephant.
Thankyou and well done!
See our Quick Stats for Week 2 below!
The first collection of FOGO for the Lockyer Valley Region officially commenced on 30 August 2021.
We were able to collect a total of 6.6 tonnes of food and garden organic material and divert this from our landfill to be processed on our static aerated floor to create beautiful compost as part of the trial.
This was an impressive amount of FOGO collected in our first week with only 0.3% contamination which consisted of primarily soft plastics.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council had a visit from members of the Department of Environment and Science to assist in the picking of contamination from the material to ensure a clean end product.
See our Quick Stats for Week 1 below!
On the 20th of August 2021, residents located in the trial areas of Gatton and Laidley received their new 240L FOGO bins, kitchen caddies, liners and important dates information pack.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council was successful in receiving a $320,000 grant to roll out the trial Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection system. The trial will include a total of almost 1000 homes in selected areas across both Gatton and Laidley.