Warrnambool's FOGO trial extended

Continuing: The FOGO trial that is recycling food and green organics has received great support from the 1680 Warrnambool households involved.
Continuing: The FOGO trial that is recycling food and green organics has received great support from the 1680 Warrnambool households involved.

A trial FOGO (Food Organics Green Organics) kerbside collection service in Warrnambool is to be extended into the 2018-2019 financial year.

Nearly 1680 households in one of the council’s 10 waste collection areas have been involved in the trial since it began on March 1.

The council’s chief executive Bruce Anson told the council’s May meeting the trial was about 50 per cent advanced and the service had received strong support from households.

Participation rates were similar to the council’s other recycling collections and more than 20 tonnes of organic waste was collected each week through the FOGO service.

A report to the council said bin contamination rates had been very low to non-existent due to excellent community practices, a strong education program and a vigilant collection contractor.

There had been a high level of food waste in the FOGO bins, indicating a high take up of the FOGO kitchen caddies for food waste.

The most significant cost of the trial has the supply of FOGO bins and kitchen caddies to households, the report said. The collection and processing costs were relatively low, the council was told.

The trial was helping the council estimate the costs, diversion rates and any improvements needed to the service if the council was to roll out the service to more households.

The trial is set to end in June but more information is needed to determine the council’s position on continuing the service and any further roll out as part of the 2018-2019 budget process. Councillors adopted a recommendation to extend the pilot service into 2018-2019.

The council was told that about half of the 6000 tonnes of waste picked up from its kerbside collections was food or green organic material. The cost of sending the food and organic material to landfill is about $160 a tonne. 

The material is responsible for about a third of the council’s greenhouse gas emissions. Material collected in the trial is reprocessed at about a third of the cost of putting it into landfill.

A survey is to be sent this month to residents in the trial area to gain feedback. 

If the council decides to roll out the FOGO program on a wider basis, it expects to let tenders for the supply of bins, processing and collection early next year.

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