FOGO is the way to go

BRIGHTON Community News (BCN) continues its questions and answers on FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics).

BRIGHTON Community News (BCN) continues its questions and answers on FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics).

I don’t think I have enough food scraps or garden waste. Why should I have a FOGO bin?

Australians discard up to 20% of the food they buy, equating to one in every five bags of groceries purchased. When food is discarded, you also waste the water, fuel, and resources to get the food from the paddock to your home. Research shows we waste 1kg per person per week or 5.46 litres. There are two types of food waste: ‘avoidable’ and ‘unavoidable’. Unavoidable is the inedible parts of food – trim, peel, shells, bones etc. Avoidable comes from leftover meals or cooking too much, such as pasta/rice, when food is out of date, stale, too soft or hard to eat anymore or gone past the expiry date. Most avoidable and unavoidable food waste goes into a FOGO bin.

Even if you don’t have a garden, the community still need to stop food waste going to landfill. A FOGO bin is not like a regular waste bin and is not expected ever to be full. However, every little bit of food waste not going to landfill helps the environment. Food scraps in landfill make methane and become a greenhouse gas. Recycling food scraps in a FOGO bin will help prevent a major environmental problem.

Can I opt out of FOGO?

All residential households (unless you live in units or townhouses with three or more residences) will receive a FOGO wheelie bin and a kitchen caddy, with deliveries starting next month with the collection service beginning in October. There’ll be a free FOGO trial period of two months to opt out of the FOGO service based on specific criteria, but you will only be able to do this after the free trial period.  

Council recognises some people genuinely might not need or be able to use/afford the FOGO service. 

Once the trial period is over, residents can apply for an exemption based on the following:

Home composter

 You may qualify for the ‘Home Composter’ exemption if you effectively manage the organic waste (eg garden waste and food scraps) your property generates through various means. Remember there are items you can put in a FOGO bin you wouldn’t put in home compost, including meat, dairy, pet waste and diseased plants. You will be asked to fill out an exemption form describing your home composting methods, including photos. Council will conduct random audits/visits on households to verify a composting system at the address.

Financial hardship

If you are experiencing financial hardship, you will be able to contact Brighton Council customer service and ask about applying for an exemption based on Council’s financial hardship policy or rates assistance to keep your FOGO bin if desired. Council’s policy is here:

Exceptional circumstances

You may qualify for the exceptional circumstances exemption if you can demonstrate that circumstances make the provision of a FOGO service unreasonable or impractical.

Next month BCN will cover how to use your kitchen caddy and FOGO wheelie bin once you receive them, including tips on keeping them clean.