Glenorchy City Council - Waste wise and award winning!
The Glenorchy City Council’s Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) means less waste, but more community benefits! Recognised in the recent Local Government Professionals Australia (Tasmania) awards, the Glenorchy City Council were winners of the Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Award for their Glenorchy FOGO Project.
Introduced in January 2020, the Glenorchy City Council’s FOGO kerbside collection addresses the significant amounts of food and organic waste going to landfill. By reducing organic waste in landfill through composting measures, Glenorchy City Council has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated CO2 equivalent of 2,960 tonnes – reducing the production of the greenhouse gas methane, the major by-product of organic decomposition in landfills.
The FOGO project also helps contribute to a circular economy. The organic waste collected from local households provides results in around 33 tonnes of nutrient-rich compost each week for agriculture. It also helps to address the diminishing capacity of Glenorchy’s municipal landfill. A further project goal is to see FOGO compost sold in retail stores in Hobart.
The FOGO project helps address the cost of waste disposal, which can be challenging for households and for council. Prior to FOGO, 30-60% of garbage bins consisted of compostable organic waste. Council received a small but regular number of complaints about the challenges in fitting their waste into the 140L household garbage bin collected fortnightly. The provision of FOGO on a full cost recovery basis, has reduced the need for larger families to pay for additional waste collections, trash packs, green waste collections, and gardening services. Residents can apply for an exemption if they can compost in their own gardens – a shoutout to all the green thumbs and gardeners.
Strong ongoing community engagement at all stages and has been a crucial element to FOGO’s success. The pursuit for FOGO was championed by the ‘Waste-Wise Advisory Group’, a community-based organisation who worked with the Council in guiding the approach. In addition to consultation with the Waste-Wise Group, the Council sent out surveys to residents to gauge community interest, participated in nine months of community and school events such as the Moonah Taste of the World, and focussed on an education campaign.
As a result, the Glenorchy municipality has embraced FOGO with 20,000 households helping to divert 1,558 tonnes of green waste from landfill in the first 3 months alone through their kerbside bin collection. In the eight months since it was introduced, only 1% of residents have opted out and a minimal FOGO contamination has been recorded - consistently scoring 4 out of 5 through a rigorous reporting system.
FOGO collection services show Local Government is leading the way on waste in Tasmania. With a number of councils planning FOGO in the near future, some councils have already rolled out FOGO across the state with City of Hobart, Central Coast, City of Launceston, West Tamar, and of course Glenorchy joining in the effort towards resource recovery and the circular economy. The benefits of FOGO collection see an increase in the municipality’s environmental sustainability, transforms waste into a useful resource for Tasmanian agriculture and council purposes, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and takes a step closer towards a circular economy.
The Glenorchy City Councill will be eligible to take their winning FOGO campaign to the national level and represent Tasmania at the National Awards to be held later this year – we wish them the best! See more here: https://lgprofessionalstas.org.au/2020-awards/2020-award-winners/