Cth ‘considering national approach to kerbside FOGO collections’

The Federal Government is reportedly contemplating a uniform approach to garbage collection in a bid to meet National Waste Policy Action Plan targets.

Under the plan, reported in The Australian newspaper on 20 February, a national food and garden organics (FOGO) collection service would be implemented to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste volumes sent to landfills, and produce compost.

The newspaper quoted Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley as saying states and local governments had to harmonise waste collection.

“If you drive from western Sydney to the eastern suburbs, you go through five different bin collection regimes,” she said.

“As far as I’m concerned, we really should have one.”

The paper said Ms Ley is “a long-time supporter” of the FOGO collection system since it was implemented in her NSW hometown of Albury in 2014.

“There is a huge opportunity to have such a win-win,” she said.

“You use the food waste, you turn it into compost, you improve the quality of your soil, you sequester more carbon in that soil … but the most exciting thing I can say as a farmer is you get more productive soil, so you can grow more in the soil that you have.”

Households account for a third of Australia’s food waste, throwing away 3.1 million tonnes of edible food each year.

“There’s probably at least a quarter of the food waste stream between your fridge and your bin, and  consumers need to act on that, so part of this is consumer education,” Ms Ley told the newspaper.

Since the FOGO program was implemented in shires around Albury in 2014, more than 128,000 tonnes of organic material has been collected and composted.

There are currently 223 local governments across Australia with either FOGO pickups or GO collections.

All states and territories have agreed to halve the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by 2030 under the National Waste Action plan, and many jurisdictions, as well as councils, have implemented incentives or programs like “Love Food Hate Waste” to reduce the volume of food waste going to landfill each year.