FOGO Roll-Out in Review
Updated: Sep 14, 2021
On 4 May, the City of Boroondara launched phase 1 of its new Food Organics and Waste Organics (FOGO) waste collection service for residents living in standalone dwellings or on properties with up to three units.
In the weeks leading up to implementation, council replaced the orange lids of former green waste bins with lime green FOGO bin lids or delivered a new FOGO bin to properties who did not already have a green waste bin. Residences received a small kitchen caddy FOGO bin, compostable bin liners, and information about the new waste program in their letterbox.
General waste in Boroondara for residential properties is now collected fortnightly instead of weekly, and FOGO bins are collected weekly along with the recycling bin. The new FOGO bins are appropriate for most food waste and most garden waste. According to council waste audits, only 31% of the contents of general waste in Boroondara should actually be going to landfill where it breaks down into harmful greenhouse gases. FOGO aims to reduce the amount of food and garden waste going to landfill by up to 19,000 tonnes per year. Instead, this waste is hot-composted and returned to the land in the form of soil conditioners and fertilisers, promoting healthy vegetation growth.
When FOGO was launched, some disgruntled residents took to Facebook to air their grievances about the new system. Complaints ranged from inadequate information and communication about waste collection changes, difficulties using the bins and bin bags, to not having received their FOGO bins before the changes began and thus being left with weeks of general waste. Following the complaints, council organised the collection of waste and/or delivery of FOGO bins for individual residents who indicated they had missed out.
The Glenferrie Times conducted a small community survey to gauge general attitudes toward the roll-out of the new waste collection service. While most felt prepared in the weeks leading up to the launch, some felt inadequately prepared nor informed about the changes. All respondents, however, unanimously support the new waste system. One local commented they were "scared fortnightly collection wouldn't be enough for our landfill but it has worked so well!". Another resident had a very difficult experience with council, waiting weeks to have their bin replaced and in the meantime their garbage was overflowing on the street. While one noted that "it's a bit yuck to manage" when the bin liners decompose while still in use, another loves that it is "so much better for the environment".
A resident did express the need for FOGO to include apartment buildings. Phase 2 of the FOGO waste collection service, scheduled for May 2020 to June 2021, will introduce FOGO bins to residential blocks of 4 to 15 apartments/units. Council is accepting expressions of interest for eligible properties to start phase 2 of FOGO early through an online survey accessible at boroondara.vic.gov.au/FOGO. Apartment blocks with more than 15 units are typically serviced by private waste collection contractors instead of council, and therefore will not be serviced by FOGO.
Presently, nothing will change for commercial properties in terms of waste collection. Following FOGO roll-out to all residential properties, council will assess the best service to offer for commercial premises.