FOGO changes from 2023 - it’s just for food scraps and garden clippings
- Published Date
- News Topic
- Sustainability & Environment
Paper towel, compostable packaging and pet waste will no longer be able to be placed in the green lid FOGO (food organics garden organics) bin under changes being made in 2023.
Randwick City residents have embraced food recycling since it was introduced in March 2021 diverting more than 23,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill simply by placing food waste and garden organics in the same bin.
As well as food waste, soiled paper towel and tissues, compostable cutlery made from bamboo and cardboard, as well as pizza boxes, paper and pet waste have also been permitted in the FOGO bin up until now.
But under new changes recently announced by the NSW EPA, these items will no longer be allowed and should be placed in the red lid landfill or yellow lid recycling bin instead. Check our A-Z list of what can and cannot go in your FOGO bin.
While the items make up just five per cent of the overall material collected, there are concerns they may contain additives and chemicals which, if composted and used on the land, could be damaging to the environment.
With more NSW councils embracing food recycling to meet the NSW Government mandated 2030 deadline, the NSW EPA is looking to create greater consistency across councils.
The following are items that can no longer go in the FOGO bin:
- Fibre-based materials, such as bamboo, timber or cardboard packaging and cutlery, paper towels and serviettes. These materials often contain additives to increase water resistance and can also include polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which may cause human and environmental harm if they enter the food chain.
- Compostable or biodegradable plastic products or bags. New research shows that compostable plastic may not breakdown quickly and could negatively impact the production of a high quality and safe compost product. Note: FOGO kitchen caddy liners that comply with Australian Standard AS 4736-2006 may still be used. These are the certified compostable green bags supplied free of charge by Council.
- Pet poo and poo bags. Studies show that pathogens in pet waste are not always killed at composting facilities. To protect human health, pet waste is no longer able to be put in the FOGO bin and should be placed in the red landfill bin instead.
Randwick City residents are encouraged to make the change from 1 January 2023 and will be supported with education and communication material.
FOGO changes FAQs
What prompted the changes?
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) recently released a statement about what can and can’t go into the green lid FOGO bin.
What is changing?
The NSW EPA’s statement stipulates that only food scraps and garden organics should be put in the FOGO bin. Other organics such as soiled paper, compostable packaging and pet waste will need to be placed in the red lid general waste bin. Clean cardboard such as clean pizza boxes should be placed in the yellow lid Recycling bin. Certified compostable liners, newspaper or paper towels can continue to be used to line the kitchen caddy.
Where can I find more information about what goes into the FOGO bin now?
Check the updated A-Z list of what goes in the FOGO bin on our website.
Why is the EPA applying these rules?
With the NSW government mandating all local councils to implement FOGO by 2030, it’s understandable that they want to ensure greater consistency on what can be placed in the FOGO bin across all councils. New studies are also showing that some items previously accepted may contain chemicals and additives that could damage the environment if composted.
Why can we still use a compostable liner to line the caddy but we can’t put compostable packaging in the FOGO bin?
Excessive amounts of compostable packaging can affect the quality of FOGO compost and damage the environment. The EPA understands that certified compostable liners help divert food waste from landfill by making it easier for households to separate their food scraps in their kitchen so they have approved its ongoing use. You can also line your caddy with newspaper.
Why can we still use paper to line the caddy but can’t put paper in the bin for composting?
It is more economical to recycle all recyclable paper and cardboard. By recycling paper we can reuse a resource that has already been used to produce more paper instead of using raw material. The EPA accepts newspaper and paper towels as caddy bin liners because they understand that it can make it easier for households to separate their food scraps in their kitchen. Newspaper and paper towels can also still be used to wrap bones, shells and meat to help reduce odour and insects in your bin.
How will it affect the FOGO service in Randwick City?
Just five per cent of Randwick City’s FOGO content consists of materials now banned by the new rules. Therefore, the changes will not dramatically affect the amount of organic waste recovered.
Is FOGO compost safe and good for the environment?
FOGO material is professionally composted and complies with the Australian Standard for composts. The material undergoes a series of quality control measures and laboratory analysis to produce a high-quality product. FOGO compost is not put into use if it doesn’t meet these strict standards. By FOGOing, you are reducing landfill and also creating a fantastic product!
How is Council communicating the changes to the community?
Any change takes time for people to adapt. We understand this and will support residents through the process. As a leader in implementing FOGO, we are subject to changing circumstances and new research and consequently need to be flexible and adapt. Randwick City residents have shown that they are great supporters of FOGO so we are confident the community will understand and embrace the changes to FOGO. We are currently implementing an education program to communicate the changes to our community. You’ll see new information in your 2023 waste calendar. Any replacement FOGO bins and bin caddys will also have updated information hot-stamped on them. New posters and brochures will be available for download on our website by February 2023.
When are the changes taking place?
The NSW EPA is supporting councils and residents as we transition and we encourage residents to start making the change from 1 January 2023.