Food and garden waste

Food organics. Garden organics. (FOGO)

From 1 July 2020 the green waste bin (green lid) service is changing. From this date, all residents will be able to put their food waste into the green bin along with their garden waste.

A 2019 audit revealed that over half of the waste thrown into the red bin by a typical household in the City of Melton is food and garden materials.  This valuable resource is sent to landfill and lost forever. By placing food and garden waste into the green bin, you will play an important role in diverting waste from landfill. 

Every time you use the green bin instead of the red bin, less food and garden waste ends up in landfill, reducing the production of harmful greenhouse gases and relieving pressure on landfill space. 

We are committed to diverting all food waste away from landfill and thank you for helping us to achieve this goal. 

Frequently asked questions

What does FOGO mean?

FOGO stands for ‘Food Organics Garden Organics’ and describes the materials that can go into your Green Bin from July 1.

Food Organics (FO) is any food waste material generated from meal preparation and plate scrapings. Garden Organics (GO) is all green and brown garden material such as grass clippings, weeds, flowers, hedge trimmings, small twigs and branches etc.

The change is that from 1 July 2020, loose food will also be accepted in the Green Bin along with garden materials – essentially it is changing from a GO to a FOGO!

When are the changes happening?

The changes to the Green Bin services start from July 1 2020. Up until then you can continue to use your Green Bin for garden materials as normal, however please do not start adding food materials until 1 July.

Why is Council doing this?

Waste audits undertaken in August 2019 found that just over 50% of waste thrown in the Red Bin by a typical Melton household each week is food scraps and garden waste materials.

When food and garden waste is sent to landfill (via the Red Bin), not only is that valuable resource ‘lost’, it also breaks down slowly and releases methane gas – which is a harmful greenhouse gas. Diverting food waste, along with garden waste, into the Green Bin from 1st July will prevent this from happening.

By providing residents with the option to put loose food waste into the Green Bin Council is committed to providing services to Melton residents that ensures a sustainable future for Melton.

Council is aiming to divert 3000 to 5,000 tonnes of food in the first year. We need your help!

What happens to the material after it is collected?

It is taken to a purpose built composting facility in Melbourne, where it undergoes some very specific processing. Ultimately all the materials (food and garden waste) are processed into mulch and nutrient rich compost that improves soil health, fertility and productivity for use within the agricultural and horticultural sector.

Is this going to cost me anything?

Yes, the cost will be the same as the current upgrade to service if you do not have a green bin already.

I already have a Green Bin – what does this mean for me?

This means that between now and 1st July 2020, you can continue to use your Green Bin as normal for green and brown garden waste materials (grass clippings, hedge trimmings, leave, weeds, flowers and small tree pruning).

As from 1 July 2020, you can start to add loose food waste into your Green Bin along with your garden materials. By placing all your food waste into the Green Bin (FOGO) rather than the Red Bin (general waste) you are playing your part in diverting waste from landfill, helping turn your food waste into a valuable resource.

I have a Green Bin but it is already full of garden waste - there is no room for food scraps too

Thank you for using your Green Bin for garden waste and keeping this material out of landfill.

To make sure you can also divert your food scraps away from landfill, consider establishing a backyard compost bin for some of your excess garden materials and food waste in addition to utilising your Green Bin.

Food waste actually does not take up a large amount of volume in your bin so you may be surprised what you can fit in!

I don’t need a Green Bin as I already compost my food scraps and garden waste / I feed my scraps to worms / chickens

Excellent! Thank you for doing this – please keep doing it!

However, if you are still continuing to place some of your garden materials or food scraps that are not suited to composting in your Red Bin (general waste) – then a Green Bin can actually complement backyard composting - helping you to divert ALL your Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) material away from landfill and making sure none of this valuable resource goes to waste. You can order your Green Bin today by contacting council and asking for an upgrade of you collection service to add a Green bin. Please note this upgrade will include a cost of service change.

Do I have to put all of my food waste in to my Green Bin?

No, it is not compulsory to use the Green Bin for food. While food waste is still acceptable in your Red Bin, this material all ends up in landfill.  Melton Council is encouraging all residents to opt in for a Green Bin and help as best they can to divert this waste from landfill.

Every little bit helps – thank you!

I don’t have a Green Bin – what does this mean for me?

You can order a new Green Bin today and start using it for your garden waste materials. Then from 1st July 2020, you can start including all your loose food scraps in addition to garden waste materials playing your part in securing a sustainable future for Melton. You can order a Green Bin today by contacting council and asking for an upgrade of you collection service to add a Green bin. Please note this upgrade will include a cost of service change.

What size Green Bins are available?

Households can opt for either a 120L or 240L Green Bin.

Can I change the size of my existing Green Bin?

To change the size of your existing Green Bin you will need to contact council and ask for an upgrade of you collection service to change size of your Green bin. Please note this upgrade will include a cost of service change.

Do I have to get a Green Bin?

You do not have to have a Green Bin – it is voluntary only. Food waste and garden waste is still accepted in your Red Bin.

How often is my Green Bin going to be collected?

Your Green Bin will be collected fortnightly just the same as it is now. The Green Bin is collected on the alternate week to the Yellow Bin. Your Red Bin still goes out every week.

Why are Council not collecting the Green Bin weekly?

As this is a new service, Council have decided to retain the same service schedule for the time being. This is likely to be reassessed in the future.

What should I being doing to prepare?

From 1st July, all your food waste materials can be placed in your Green Bin. Until then, only garden waste materials are acceptable. Keep an eye out for more information about what kinds of materials can be placed into the Green Bin and how you can get involved. Remember the changes only start from July 1.

If you don’t have a Green Bin –you can sign up at any time– by contacting council and asking for an upgrade of you collection service to add a Green bin. Please note this upgrade will include a cost of service.

Where can I get more information?

Council will be providing lots more information between now and the 1st July. Keep an eye out to learn more about the service changes – details will also be regularly updated on our Waste and recycling webpage.

Will I be able to put my food waste in a compostable or other bag and place that into the Green Bin?

No – it is very important that food waste is placed ‘loose’ into the bin. Items such as plastic bags, wrappers, food containers and other general waste items cannot be processed by the composting facility.

Won’t my bin start to smell with food in there?

Green bin odour can be effectively managed by taking a few simple steps. Store your Green Bin in the shade. Layer your food waste with garden waste materials such as dried grass clippings and leaves.

You can also wrap your food waste in a small kitchen towel or tissue before placing it in your bin.

You can store all of your food waste in a tub (e.g. an old ice cream tub) in your freezer until the night before collection and then you can empty your food waste into the bin.

How do I get my food scraps from the kitchen to the Green Bin?

Food scraps can be stored in an old ice cream container with a lid (or similar) before being taken out and emptied into the Green Bin. It is recommended food waste storage containers are emptied regularly and rinsed between uses. Food scrap containers can be stored in the fridge during warmer months and recycled and replaced when necessary!

Will Council be providing a container to capture and store food scraps?

No – at this stage Council are encouraging residents to use an old ice cream container or similar. This decision may be reviewed in the future.