Food and garden bins to roll out in 2025

Mitchell Shire Council will institute a weekly food and garden organics kerbside collection service from March 2025.

Councillors made a unanimous decision about the food and garden bins, along with fortnightly garbage and recycling collections, at a council meeting on August 17.

Council also plans to introduce a fourth glass-only bin, to be collected monthly from March 1, 2025.

Food organics garden organics, commonly referred to as FOGO, is estimated to make up close to half of the average Victorian kerbside garbage bin.

Council currently delivers kerbside collection services to about 90 per cent of Mitchell Shire households with more than 8500 tonnes of garbage and 3800 tonnes of recycling collected during the 2019-20 financial year.

When organic waste is put into landfill, it decomposes and creates methane which has a global warming potential 25 times greater than carbon dioxide.

Organic waste disposed of in landfill also produces leachate, a liquid which must be carefully managed as it contains harmful substances that can pollute groundwater and waterways if not contained.

By removing organic waste from kerbside garbage, council will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and leachate produced in its landfills.

Once collected, FOGO material will be transported to an Environment Protection Agency-approved organics processor for on-site composting, which turns food and garden waste into a range of high quality, natural soil conditioning products such as mulches, composts, blended soils and potting mixes used in landscaping, horticulture and agriculture.

A glass-only collection is expected to improve the recycling of glass, but also of plastic, metal and paper as small shards or pieces of glass wil no longer contaminate recyclables.

A monthly glass-only collection was recommended by council officers after data demonstrated that up to one quarter of kerbside recycling bin is comprised of glass.

Council officers estimated the four-bin service would result in an annual waste charges of $651 after accounting for five per cent growth per year of the existing waste service charge.

North ward councillor Bill Chisholm said a FOGO service would take pressure off the Hilldene landfill.

“Hopefully with this whole process, some of it will be funded for the residents through the landfill levy,” he said.

“For every tonne of waste that goes into landfill, the State Government collects a landfill levy and currently they’re sitting on $560-580 million so hopefully some of that money comes back and funds the costs involved in this.”

Central ward councillor Annie Goble said she supported the introduction of FOGO collection, but it needed to be accompanied by an ‘indoctrination’ program.

“Currently the public, probably a substantial number of them, do not even manage to separate their rubbish from their recyclables and there are even cases where recyclables are put into black garbage bags and are thrown into the recycling bin,” she said.

“What I’m saying is if they can’t manage two, I doubt whether they would manage four.

“Rather than just giving them a slap on the wrist, we need to have something in our local laws where people who contaminate the bins have a warning, maybe a second warning and then a significant fine.”