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Get a head start during National Recycling Week

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

Epping’s resource recovery business Repurpose It is helping residents across Melbourne’s north to get on top of recycling in time for National Recycling Week.

Repurpose It, a company that collects recovered resources from residential and commercial areas across the City of Whittlesea and Hume, has big plans for residents within the municipalities, including Mitchell Shire by next year, to become greener.

The company takes residents’ food organics and garden organics, FOGO, into its composting facility, where food waste is transformed into high-grade compost.

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Across the City of Whittlesea, it is estimated that 60 per cent of residents have access to a FOGO bin.

Repurpose It chief executive George Hatzimanolis said the FOGO bins were starting to have an impact on landfill diversion, but the objective for the next three years was for more residents to make use of the new system.

“Traditionally that was a green waste bin, and then now the roll out with FOGO, that was known as garden organics, and then now FOGO,” he said. 

“The major difference is there is obviously the ability for residents to divert their food waste into their garden bin, that will get picked up on a bimonthly roster depending on the municipality that they’re in.

“We have seen a slight increase in the overall budget of organic waste, which is an indication that the food organic waste is being diverted from landfill from the general waste bins and ending up in the FOGO bin.

“But ultimately it’s still relatively new, and we’d like to see 100 per cent of the residents in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, especially the municipalities that we work in Whittlesea and Hume, and in the future, the Mitchell Shire.”

For residents wanting a head start in recycling, Mr Hatzimanolis suggested to think about their actions when it came to food waste.

“In terms of the actual FOGO and getting the most out of that service, there are some simple things at home around just being conscious around the separation of food scraps for example,” he said.

“Ultimately, we want to produce less waste and I think that should always remain at the top of the hierarchy in terms of the circular economy and doing better by an environment is to generate less waste.

“We hope with people having to put a little bit more effort into how they separate their food scraps, that they start to notice actually how much food waste they’re producing.”

In other ways to increase environmental awareness, the company released an educational series that discusses how the community can participate in the circular economy.

Filmed in the City of Whittlesea, the online series ‘Living with Purpose’ is hosted by celebrity gardener Jamie Durie and walks through the journey that household and commercial waste takes, from unusable scraps to repurposed materials to be used in the community.

“We’ve highlighted some of the work we’ve done in our local gardens … in donating compost produced out of diverting food and garden organics and kerbside recycling back to the community gardens to grow new food,” Mr Hatzimanolis said.

Mr Hatzimanolis said there were plans to create more educational programs across Melbourne’s north, especially for the younger generations.

For more information on Repurpose It and its online series, visit www.repurposeit.com.au.

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