Gippsland councils look to prepare for food waste collection services

Gippsland councils, including Wellington Shire, are moving towards providing food organics, garden collection services.

THE implementation of a food organics, garden organics (FOGO) service is scheduled to be in place across the state by 2030, as the state government moves towards a circular economy.
As a result of state government policies, there will be a lot happening locally in coming years to support Gippsland’s journey toward a zero waste, low carbon, circular economy, including in Wellington Shire.
Resource Recovery Gippsland executive officer Matthew Peake said a clear benefit to the region was having all Gippsland councils on board with the implementation of a FOGO kerbside collection service — a service that has been in place across Bass Coast for several years.
“Valuing waste as a resource makes environmental and economic sense,” Mr Peake said.
“In Victoria food and garden organics make up approximately 50 per cent of household waste going to landfill, with food comprising an average by weight of 36 per cent,” he said.
“Diverting food from landfill enables councils to support communities to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste and, in true circular economy style, produces a resource (compost) that can be returned as an asset to improve agricultural and horticultural productivity.”
Wellington Shire too is part of the initiative.
Council’s natural environment and parks manager Tim Rowe said Wellington was excited to  be part of the collaborative approach to deliver an improved waste service.
“An important part of achieving that target is to remove organics from landfill which will not
only reduce costs, but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
“The removal of and subsequent re-processing of these organics into a viable soil improvement product is an important initiative that creates new economic opportunities and contributes to a circular economy.”
In Victoria, almost a third of councils are already trialling or providing a FOGO service for their residents, and where it has been successfully implemented, a great deal of community consultation was undertaken by councils to ensure the development of fit-for-purpose collection and processing centred around the use of residents’ existing garden organics (green-lidded) bins.
“Each council is at a different stage of their journey toward FOGO and there’s a lot to put in
place within the region to make this transition smooth and sustainable,” Mr Peake said.
“To enable this, Resource Recovery Gippsland has been working closely with all six Gippsland councils on the Gippswide Kerbside project, a collaborative procurement approach to collecting and processing of kerbside waste.
“Gippswide Kerbside is all about councils coming together on behalf of their communities to leverage market-place efficiencies and cost effectiveness in the resource recovery sector.”
Mr Peake said the region-wide approach to the collection, processing and transport of waste, organics and recyclables would help maximise economic development and investment and provide positive environmental outcomes for Gippsland.
The state government is spending $380 million on the implementation of Recycling Victoria, the state’s circular economy policy and 10-year action plan in a bid to deliver “a cleaner, greener Victoria with less waste and pollution, better recycling, more jobs and a stronger economy”.
Other initiatives to transform the state’s waste and resource recovery sector include the implementation of a container deposit scheme, a ban on single-use plastics, a glass collection system, and industry and infrastructure development to bring about collection, processing and production innovation and efficiencies.