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Food and Garden Organics service

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A food and garden organics (FOGO) service is coming in May 2023

From May 2023 Maroondah residents will be able to add food waste to their existing garden organics bin.

Bin lid swap

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Throughout January and February, Council will be replacing all maroon-coloured bin lids with a lime green lid, which is the Australian standard colour for Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bins.

Here is what you need to do to ensure your bin lid is swapped over:

  1. From Monday 9 January, on your normal organics bin collection day, place your garden bin out on the kerb – even if it is empty. 
  2. If it has not been changed at the end of your normal collection day, please bring your bin in and put it back out on the kerb on your next organics collection day.
  3. Please continue to put your bin out – even if it is empty – on each garden waste collection day until the lid is changed to lime green.
  4. If your bin lid has not been changed over by Saturday 25 February, please call Council on 1300 88 22 33 between 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Timeline for residents 

 
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January 2023

Starting in January 2023 all maroon coloured lids will be replaced with lids that are the Australian standard colour of lime-green. Residents will be kept informed about when to leave their bin out for the change over.

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March 2023

Starting March 2023, Council will deliver FOGO kits, containing a caddy, a roll of 150 compostable liners (approximately 1 year's supply) and an information pack.

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May 2023

FOGO goes live! From 1 May 2023 you will be able to add food scraps and garden waste in your FOGO bin.

 

Why is Council introducing the service?

Implementing a FOGO service in Maroondah is one of the biggest opportunities we have to reduce carbon emissions, support sustainable food production and achieve our strategic aim of halving waste to landfill by 2030.

Over 40 per cent of garbage collected in Maroondah is food waste. In landfill, food releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide. The FOGO service will divert food waste from landfill and turn it in to nutrient rich compost for use on Victorian farms and gardens.

According to the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria Policy, all Victorian Councils must introduce a food and garden organics service and standardise their bin lids by 2030.   

Reducing waste to landfill by introducing a food and garden organics service is one of the priority actions of Maroondah’s Waste, Litter and Resource Recovery Strategy 2020-2030

Frequently asked questions

What's in a FOGO kit?

  • Kitchen caddy - a 7L container with a lid that can sit on your kitchen bench or under the sink to collect and store food waste.
  • Roll of 150 compostable liners - to line the caddy and contain the food waste. Only Council supplied liners can be used with the kitchen caddy.
  • Information pack - containing all you need to get started. 

Who is eligible to receive a free FOGO kit?

All Maroondah households with a residential waste collection service are eligible for the FOGO service. Each eligible household will receive a FOGO kit (unless they opted out) and have their bin lid changed to lime green - the Australian standard colour.

If you live in a multi-unit complex and share Council bins, you will receive your own FOGO kit.

The FOGO service is not available for businesses, schools and other non-residential properties. Only households with a current residential waste collection service are eligible for FOGO at this time.

Why are Council supplying kitchen caddies and liners?

Council are supplying eligible households with a free kitchen caddy and roll of 150 compostable liners to make it easier to collect food scraps in the kitchen and carry them to your FOGO bin.
 
Using Council supplied compostable liners will help keep your caddy clean and tidy and your food scraps contained in your FOGO bin. 

Only Council supplied liners with the seedling logo may be placed in the FOGO bin, as they’re made from plant-based materials, that break down into compost and have been tested and approved by Council’s organics processing facility. Plastic, biodegradable or compostable liners which are not supplied by Council cannot be added to the FOGO bin.

Non-compostable liners are one of the main contaminants of FOGO services. Using Council supplied liners will ensure the end product is safe to use on Victorian farms.

Do I have to use the Council supplied kitchen caddy and liners?

You do not have to use the Council supplied kitchen caddy if you don’t want to. You could use your own container and tip your food scraps straight into your garden organics bin.

If you choose to use liners to contain your food waste, they must be the Council supplied compostable liners. You cannot purchase your own from supermarkets. Plastic, biodegradable or compostable liners which are not provided by Council cannot be placed in your FOGO bin, as they will cause contamination. Using Council supplied liners only, will ensure the end product is safe to use on Victorian farms.

Will Council continue to supply liners to residents? What do I do when I run out of the supplied liners?

Council will provide all eligible households with a roll of 150 compostable liners every year in May (approx. 1 year supply). If your household runs out, there will be top up liner packs available at customer service centres. Only Council supplied compostable liners can be placed in your FOGO bin. You cannot purchase your own from supermarkets. Plastic, biodegradable or compostable liners which aren’t supplied by Council cannot be placed in your FOGO bin, as they will be considered contamination. Using Council supplied liners only, will ensure the end product is safe to use on Victorian farms.

Why can’t we introduce a FOGO service sooner?

The Victorian Government has led four local government group procurements for composting of household food and garden waste. The eastern region group of Councils, of which Maroondah is a member, is the latest group to go through this process. 

This is the biggest change our residents will have to their kerbside service in many years, so as we approach the start date, we are taking the time to engage and inform our community, ready for when the new service begins.

I do not have a garden organics bin, will these changes still affect me?

If your property is serviced by a private waste collection contractor, these changes will not affect you.

Speak to your owners corporation or landlord to discuss your options for recycling food waste. If you would like to start composting at home, visit the Compost Revolution webpage to receive up to 60 per cent off the price of a range of home composting systems.

If you have a Council-provided waste service, but do not currently have a garden organics bin, please contact Council on 1300 88 22 33 to check if you’re eligible.

When will I be able to add food scraps to my garden organics bin?

From May 2023, Maroondah households with an existing residential waste collection service will be able to recycle food scraps, together with garden organics. Please do not add your food into your garden organics bin until this date.

What types of food waste will I be able to place in my food and garden organics bin?

In addition to your garden waste, you will be able to place the following types of food waste in your food and garden organics bin:

  • fruit and vegetable scraps including garlic, onion and citrus
  • leftovers and plate scrapings
  • rice, grains, cereals and bread
  • meat, seafood, poultry and bones (raw and cooked)
  • dairy products and eggshells
  • tea leaves and coffee grounds
  • mouldy or expired foods
  • pastries, cakes and deserts

An extensive list of what can and cannot go in the food and garden organics bin will be made available early in 2023.

For more information on what items are currently accepted in your garden organics bin, visit the Garden organics collection webpage

Please do not begin adding any food waste to your garden organics bin until the new service launches in May 2023.

What will happen to my food and garden waste?

Currently, your garden waste is turned into a high-quality compost, used by Victorian farmers to help grow our food. Adding food scraps to the garden bin not only reduces the amount of garbage sent to landfill, but also improves the quality of the finished compost material.

Organic waste collected in FOGO bins is processed to create nutrient-rich compost for use on Victorian farms, parks and gardens. You can view videos to see some of the examples of how your compost is used on the Back to Earth Initiative YouTube channel. 

Will my rates or waste charge go up to pay for this new service?

No. Waste services in Maroondah are charged as a waste service fee, which is separate to your rates. The residential waste service fee includes a 120L or 80L garbage bin, 240 litre recycling bin and a 240 litre garden waste bin and two hard waste collections.  You will not receive an additional charge on your rates for this service.

You might find that you have more room in your garbage bin when you start putting food waste in your FOGO bin and decide to downgrade to the smaller 80L bin. Doing so will reduce your waste service fee by approx. $66 per annum.

Can I get money back on my waste charge/rates if I don’t use the service?

The cost of processing organic waste is the same regardless of the type of materials you do or do not place in your FOGO bin. Therefore, it isn’t possible to provide variable charges based on the type of waste. Council provides a universal waste service, so all households who pay a waste services fee will have the full suite of bins.  The Victorian Government will also be putting into legislation that all Victorian households must use a food organics service by 2030.

In early 2023, we will change all maroon garden bin lids, to the Australian standard colour - lime green.

Why are maroon bin lids changing to lime-green?

As part of the introduction of the FOGO service we will change all maroon garden bin lids, to the Australian standard colour of lime green. Standard bin colours help to promote the correct use of garbage, recycling and garden organics household bin collection services and supports consistent education and messaging around the use of kerbside bins across Victoria. 

To reduce waste, we will only be replacing bin lids. Council will only replace an entire bin where the bin itself is structurally damaged. Council will provide information to households advising when to leave their maroon bin out for collection.

Will there be any changes to when my bins are collected?

No.

There will be no changes to the frequency or day of your collections with the introduction of this new service. The food and garden organics bin and recycling bin will continue to be collected fortnightly and your garbage bin will continue to be collected weekly.

When will my bin lid be changed over?

From the Monday 9 of January there will be crews out changing maroon-lidded garden organics bin to lime green.  It will take several collection cycles for the crews to attend to every property.  We will be changing over bin lids from Monday 9 January to Saturday 25 February.

What do I need to do?

Please place your garden organics bin out for collection, on your usual collection day, even if it’s empty, from 9 January until 25 February, or until the lid is changed over. You will receive a letter in early January as a reminder to place it out for changeover.  

What if I’m away on holidays?

We will leave a calling card to remind you to place it out on your next garden organics bin collection day.

If it’s not changed over by 25 February, please contact us on 1300 88 22 33 and we will ensure it gets changed over. 

Will my garden organics bin get replaced if it is damaged?

We will only replace entire bins if it has structural damage such as large cracks, broken wheels or handles.  We’re trying to reduce plastic waste, so the lid will be replaced as a first priority, but if your entire bin requires a changeover, our crews will leave a sticker on your bin asking you to leave it out for 3 more days so the whole bin can be replaced. Please ensure your garden organics bin is empty so the swap over can occur. 

My bin lid didn’t get changed over, what should I do?

Bin lids will be changed over three collection cycles, if your bin lid isn’t changed to lime green colour by 25 February, please contact us on 1300 88 22 33 and we will ensure it gets changed over. 

I don’t have a lot of garden waste so my bin is often empty. Do I still have to place it out for collection?

Even though it might feel a bit odd, please place your bin out on your regular collection night, even if it is empty. Changing the colour of your bin lid is a requirement of the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria Policy, so we need to change over every bin in the municipality. 

How do I find out my bin collection day? 

You can view your bin collection day via our online mapping tool or by downloading our printable waste calendar. Both can be accessed via our weekly rubbish collection webpage. 

What will happen to the old maroon bin lids?

All of the maroon lids will be recycled and turned into new products.  

Bin lids will be changed over three collection cycles, starting Monday 9 January. If your bin is not out for collection during the changeover, we will leave a calling card to remind you to place it out on your next garden organics bin collection day.

If your bin lid has not been changed over by 25 February, please contact Council and we will ensure it gets changed over. 

What do I do if I already compost or have a worm farm?

Please continue to compost your food scraps at home, this is the best outcome for our environment.  

We know there are many households already home composting or feeding their scraps to pets, and the new service isn’t designed to replace these great low-waste habits. The new service will complement home composting and will allow for other food waste, like dairy, meat, spoiled food and leftovers to also be diverted from landfill. 

Any food that you do not currently compost (such as meat, seafood, bones, citrus, dairy) can be placed in your garden bin, so you can divert even more food waste from landfill. 

In the meantime, Council has a range of pet poo composters, food waste fermenters, worm farms and compost bins available for 60 per cent off through our Compost Revolution program

I want to start recycling my food waste now, what can I do?

You can reduce the amount of food scraps heading to landfill now by joining the Maroondah Compost Revolution. Simply sign up to receive 60 per cent off a range of home composting systems delivered for free to your door.

Council has a range of pet poo composters, food waste fermenters, worm farms and compost bins available for 60 per cent off through the Compost Revolution program. 

 

To keep up to date with the food and garden organics service changes, as well as upcoming workshops and events, be sure to sign up to our waste education newsletter

We will continue to update our website with more information and FAQs as we get closer to the launch of the new service in May 2023.

Council is currently running a Food and Garden Organics Champions program. Help inform, support and educate the Maroondah community so they’re ready to go FOGO by 1 May 2023 by becoming a Maroondah FOGO Champion!

For more information on the program and to submit an Expression of Interest, visit our Maroondah Food and Garden Organics (FOGO) Champions program webpage.

Stay up-to-date

We will be providing regular updates to our community as we get closer to the service launch in 2023. 

Updates and educational resources to help you use the new food and garden organics services will be provided via social media, Maroondah News and other community announcements. 

03/02/2022
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