Residents will be allowed to put food waste in their green-lidded bin if the Greens councillors and candidate for Wollongong City Council get their way.
Jamie Dixon, who is vying for a seat on the council in the upcoming ward three byelection, has launched a petition calling on Wollongong Council to adopt a Food Organics and Garden Organics service.
The green initiative will allow food waste to be composted rather than ending up in landfill.
Mr Dixon said the idea was a “no-brainer” and Wollongong Council should follow the lead of Shellharbour and Kiama councils which had already rolled out the scheme.
“Food waste is the largest component of the rubbish in our red-topped bins,” he said.
“It produces the largest amount of greenhouse gases and odours when it rots in landfill.
“This is a wasted opportunity, as 32 other councils in NSW are utilising this food waste as a resource.
“The waste is turned into a nutrient-rich compost. The repurposed fertiliser can then be spread around council parks.”
Mr Dixon said the scheme would benefit residents, the environment and the council.
“The service is a great idea, is achievable and is well within the council’s role,” he said.
“Council pays the state government for every tonne of waste going into landfill, but is able to claim some of those costs back, in order to set up appropriate waste reduction schemes, like FOGO.
“Shellharbour Council received a $1.58 million Environment Protection Authority grant to start their FOGO scheme.
“Kiama Council has reduced its landfill waste by 40 per cent and Shellharbour has reduced it’s waste by nearly 3500 tonnes per year
“Shellharbour is now stopping more than 60 kilograms of waste per family every year from entering landfill, while producing a sellable product.
“By keeping food waste away from our landfill, we can cut greenhouse gas emissions, as well as greatly reduce odours from council’s Kembla Grange facility.”
Greens Wollongong councillor Mithra Cox said many residents had contacted the council to request a FOGO service in the city.
“After the ABC aired its War on Waste program, the FOGO concept hit the public’s consciousness,” she said.
“People were horrified about how much waste goes into landfill.”
Fellow Greens Wollongong councillor Cath Blakey will ask the council to investigate developing a FOGO collection service at the next council meeting.
“It is terrible that our food scraps are buried in landfill rather than being turned into beautiful rich soil that can nourish our farmland and council parks,” she said. “We can also cut council’s landfill emissions.
“It would be good to have a regionally-consistent approach to green waste.”
Mr Dixon said the scheme would use the existing green topped bins.
“Also, part of the funding will provide every household with a counter-top caddy for collecting the food waste,” he said. “That means there will be zero cost to the householder.
“Some residents have said they were able to downsize their red top bin which saves them money.”
The petition will be presented at the council meeting.
To sign the petition, visit: www.illawarragreens.org.au/FOGO