This time next month, Wollongong residents will be able to start putting all food scraps - including meat, bones and cooked food waste - into their green bins, as the council starts its roll-out of its much-awaited "FOGO" program.
The Food Organics, Garden Organics waste system has been trialled in selected households for the past year, but in the second last week of November will kick-off city wide.
However, the council had warned that people must wait until they have received a FOGO caddy - which can be used to store the food waste in the kitchen before it goes into the green bin - before they change the way they dispose of the garbage.
The FOGO rollout will coincide with each household's green-lid bin days, with the caddies to include a how-to guide, compostable bin liners and a sticker to go on the green-lidded organics bin highlighting what can go into the green bin under the new system.
"The caddies will be delivered to all households with an existing green waste collection with the FOGO contents to be placed in the green-lidded bin with garden waste," a council spokesperson said.
"It's anticipated as people get used to putting anything that was once edible - including fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood, tea bags and coffee grounds - into their FOGO bins there will be a reduction in content in their red-lidded household bin.
"This is because on average, 40 per cent of our waste in the Wollongong LGA is made up of food waste - averaging about 150kg of food per household per year."
Once a household has a caddy delivered, they can immediately start using the green-lidded bins for FOGO.
"We ask people not to put food matter into the green-lidded bins before the arrival of their caddy," the spokesperson said.
"This is because FOGO bins are processed differently to ensure the materials break down safely and effectively. Those households who participated in the FOGO trial - and have maintained their FOGO bins - can continue to do FOGO as normal."
To help reduce teething problems as the city gets used to a new way of recycling food - the landfill-bound red bin will continue to be picked up weekly, along with the green bins, for at least the first two years of the FOGO program.
Also for the two years of the program, ratepayers will not be changed any extra for the FOGO collection - but the council has flagged a possible $40 contribution in the third year of the service.
This means it will cost the council just under $6 million to implement the program in its first two years.
However, these costs will reduce year on year following introduction, the council said.