Food and garden organics (FOGO) waste service

A hand reaches to open a FOGO bin while holding some food waste

Yarra City Council is introducing a new kerbside waste stream in 2024. Residents and organisations that receive a kerbside waste collection service from Council will receive a new 120 litre lime green-lidded bin that will collect food and garden organic (FOGO) materials.

Residents will receive their new bin sometime between April and the end of June 2024. The first collections for your FOGO bin will not commence until 1 July 2024.

This new FOGO collection service will provide our community with a new avenue to reduce waste and recycle more materials.

Why are we introducing this service?

Each year, Yarra City Council collects around 15,500 tonnes of material from residents and organisations that is sent to landfill, with approximately 40% made up of food and garden organic materials.These materials in landfill break down over time, releasing large volumes of methane into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

The Victorian Government has introduced Circular Economy legislation which includes a requirement for all councils to provide households with a four-stream waste service (glass, recycling, FOGO and rubbish) by 2030.

Planning for the introduction of the introduction of a FOGO service began in 2019 with the introduction of our Abbotsford four-bin kerbside waste collection trial. The trial has been overwhelmingly successful, with a 60% rate of diversion from landfill and strong support from the community. It is now time to roll out FOGO to the rest of our community.

Our community has been advocating for the introduction of municipality-wide FOGO for a long time through many Council strategies. The most notable of these are the Council Plan, Community Vision and our engagement on the circular economy strategy.

How often will the FOGO bin be collected?

This FOGO kerbside collection service will be added in all suburbs (other than the Abbotsford trial area) without changing the existing waste collection service for rubbish, recycling and glass. The collection frequency for the municipality (other than the Abbotsford trial area) will be:

  • weekly FOGO and rubbish
  • fortnightly glass and recycling. 

Waste collection in the Abbotsford trial area, where a FOGO service is currently in place, will remain unchanged:

  • weekly FOGO
  • fortnightly glass, rubbish and recycling.

What can/cannot go to in the FOGO bin?

The introduction of a new waste service means that our habits need to change. Many materials that previously went into the rubbish stream can now be recycled in your FOGO bin. Council will ensure that you receive reference materials to guide you in the transition.

The following items can go in your FOGO bin: 

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Bread products
  • Meat and seafood
  • Looseleaf tea and coffee grounds
  • Leftovers
  • Garden clippings and weeds
  • Plants and flowers
  • Leaves and branches

The following items cannot go in your FOGO bin: 

  • Products labelled compostable or bio-degradable products (including bags)
  • Plastic bags
  • Tea bags
  • Pet faeces, animal remains and litter tray contents
  • Tissues, napkins and paper towels
  • Treated wood or wooden chopsticks
  • Any item that goes in your recycling or glass bin

What happens to the materials collected in the FOGO bin?

Council will collect the materials in your lime green-lidded FOGO bin and transport this valuable resource to our processor RepurposeIT’s facility in Epping to be turned into compost. The compost will primarily be used on farms to grow fresh local food, as well as in parks and gardens.

By recovering this valuable material, we can ensure that it is reused and continues to provide value to our community. It’s only waste if it’s wasted!

How do I best use this service?

There are three steps you can keep in mind if you want to minimise the amount of food waste you produce at home:

  1. Food Waste Avoidance – Reduce the amount of food you throw away by being intentional with your purchasing habits. Learn more about how to avoid food waste at home.
  2. Composting/worm farming – Take advantage of Yarra’s Partnership with Compost Revolution and purchase a subsidised compost bin/worm farm to recycle your food waste at home.
  3. Use your FOGO bin – Place your remaining food and garden organic materials in your FOGO bin for collection.