Food is 37% of our tip waste

An idea that could keep almost 40 per cent (by weight) of waste out of local tips and thereby extend the time before another landfill site is required, is to be explored by the council’s Waste Strategic Working Group.

We've been told Merimbula is filling up much faster than first thought.

Councillor Cathy Griff

The co-collection of food and green waste, known as FOGO is a service that could help reduce the load on the Central Waste Facility, at Wanatta Lane and slow the speed at which it and other sites are filling. The service which is currently offered by about 40 councils in NSW can also reduce the methane that is generated and emitted from the landfill, capture food waste full of nutrients that is too valuable to waste and produce quality compost. 

In response to a question on notice from councillor Cathy Griff, council revealed that 37.7 per cent of all waste, by weight, going to landfill, was food waste.

Typically about 1.8kg of waste food is collected from each household per week in FOGO collections, which if implemented in Bega Valley, could amount to the diversion of 500 tonnes of waste per year. This figure is based on a participation rate of 50 per cent but council has said the service could grow if it is made available to the commercial sector.

Cr Griff said it was important to have a good education program around any changes to recycling practises.

“We need to make a change in our recycling customs but it’s not difficult and will make a huge difference,” she said.

There has been a call for increased garden waste collection from four weekly to two weekly particularly as a waste audit showed over 30 per cent of green bins were full to overflowing. 

It is possible that a FOGO trial could be started in the 2017-18 financial year which would give council and the waste operator a chance to identify any potential issues around the service.

A new waste collection contract has to be ready to go to tender by September this year which would give the Waste Strategy Working Group the ideal opportunity to identify the level of service and its cost that could be contained in a five-year plus contract.