Research & Reports

Australian councils urged to recycle 87 per cent of food waste sent to landfill

A nation-wide ‘Let’s Go FOGO’ campaign is being launched to urge 84 per cent of local councils to provide Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) collection services for residents.

According to the National Waste Report 2018, only 16 per cent of councils around Australia offer kerbside food organics recycling bins and 87 per cent of food waste went to landfill in 2016-17.

BioBag World Australia director Scott Morton said food waste costs Australia $20 billion a year and half of this comes from our homes.

“Up to 50 per cent of general household waste is FOGO. The amount of greenhouse gases produced by food waste in Australian landfill each year is equivalent to the emissions of Australia’s steel and iron ore industries combined,” Morton continued.

“South Australia has the most councils offering residents FOGO bins, followed by New South Wales and Victoria. Tasmania and Western Australia are catching up, but Queensland is lagging far behind.”

Councils that offer residents kerbside FOGO bins:

  • 40 per cent in South Australia
  • 26 per cent in New South Wales
  • 24 per cent in Victoria
  • 10 per cent in Tasmania
  • Three per cent in Western Australia
  • One per cent in Queensland
  • Zero per cent in the Northern Territory and ACT

“Organic waste contains valuable resources that can’t be recovered from landfill. Recycling food waste is an opportunity for a better environmental outcome,” Scott said.

“Not only do FOGO generate the greenhouse gas methane as they decompose in landfill, but their nutrients remain locked in landfill and can’t be used again to grow plants and food.

“In landfill, organic waste also produces a liquid that can pollute groundwater, create odour, encourage pests and create unstable landforms. Diverting food waste from landfill with a FOGO bin service has many benefits.”

Many councils are already trialling or introducing FOGO collection services around the country, but the numbers are currently still low.

“Recycling organic waste can reduce the costs of landfill disposal for local councils and provide nutrient rich fertilisers to replenish Australian soil, so farmers rely less on chemical fertilisers,” Scott added.

“We need more councils to adopt FOGO now because it’s a viable economic and environmental solution. Composting FOGO waste is cheaper than sending it to landfill so ratepayers benefits from extra funding for other community services.

“People can help move our local councils towards FOGO faster by telling their local councillors they’re ready for a FOGO bin to collect their food waste.”

New research in South Australia shows using compostable bags in kitchen caddies significantly increases diversion of food waste from landfill.