Warrnambool City Council's FOGO trial shows permanent service ‘very viable and popular’

GOING GREEN: North Warrnambool resident Stephanie Bant and Warrnambool City Council waste management officer Kate McInnes with one of the green bins when the FOGO trial was first rolled out.

GOING GREEN: North Warrnambool resident Stephanie Bant and Warrnambool City Council waste management officer Kate McInnes with one of the green bins when the FOGO trial was first rolled out.

Warrnambool residents are willing to pay for a permanent food and organic (FOGO) waste service, a trial of the program shows.

The Warrnambool City Council FOGO pilot began in March, with 1680 households taking part. A survey of 427 of those who participated showed 88 per cent would be willing to pay for the service.

The majority, 42 per cent would pay up to $1 per week, 36 per cent would pay 75 cents, five per cent would pay up to $1.25 and six per cent would pay $1.50. Eleven per cent of respondents said the service should be free.

Overall, the survey showed that a permanent FOGO collection was viable, environmentally beneficial and would be popular in the community.

Ninety-three per cent of people involved in the trial noticed a cut in the amount of general waste they were placing in their garbage bin, the survey found.

Warrnambool City chief executive officer Bruce Anson said before the pilot the average garbage bin weighed 9.49 kilograms, post audit the average was 8.2 kilograms, a reduction of 1.28 kilograms of garbage per bin.

Food and organic waste in the general waste stream was reduced from 3.6 kilograms per bin before the pilot to 2.08 kilograms per bin post pilot. Mr Anson said across the service that would lead to initial landfill savings of $122,512 per year.

“The FOGO pilot success has placed pressure on council to identify options to expedite the introduction of the service,” Mr Anson said.

Councillor David Owen said the pilot was a “huge success” with almost half of the 6000 tonnes of waste sent to landfill from Warrnambool each year shown to be organic and mainly food waste.

“The results were outstanding and show that a permanent service for green and organic waste collection is very viable and popular,” he said.

“The environmental benefits are formidable… If we stay on course with the 2012 council plan to reduce gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 we need food and organics collection to be a major driver.

“Organic material produces 4000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, this actually equates to about 30 per cent of council’s total CO2 emissions, so we’d be on target.”

Cr Tony Herbert said the service would be a win-win.

“It’s great for the environment, great for the community and great for council and we might even get an income stream out of it down the track, who knows,” he said.

Cr Kylie Gaston said it would be smart for the council to roll out the FOGO service as fast as it could.