FOGO (Food organics garden organics)

Managing FOGO in summer 

See how to make a cheap, all-natural deodorising spray with items in your pantry.

 

Tips for managing FOGO this summer

FOGO FAQs

What is FOGO?

FOGO is a combined Food Organics, Garden Organics (FOGO) food recycling service that turns your green lid bin contents into compost for farmers. Your green lid bin accepts all food scraps including meats, dairy and bones with your regular household garden organics.

A family of three tipping food scraps from a plate into a countertop kitchen caddy.

What do I need to FOGO?

You will need a container to collect your food scraps in the kitchen and a green lid wheelie bin that gets collected weekly.

You don't need the Council supplied benchtop bin to start! You can use any container that suits your kitchen size or aesthetic.

We recommend using a container that can be stowed under the sink, in the fridge or next to your chopping board or knife block as a reminder to use it. 

If you don't have a green lid FOGO bin, you can order a 120L or 240L wheelie bin at no additional cost.

Order a FOGO wheelie bin

One large and one small green-lidded bin each labelled FOGO.

How do I order a benchtop bin?

It's not mandatory to use the supplied benchtop bin.

You can use any container that suits your kitchen size or aesthetic.

We recommend using a container that can be stowed under the sink, in the fridge or next to your chopping board or knife block as a reminder to use it. 

You can request a benchtop bin by clicking on the button below. You can also request a replacement lid, handle or benchtop bin if required.  

Order a kitchen benchtop bin

Why do I need to FOGO?

All councils in NSW are required by the state government to provide a food recycling service by 2030, and Inner West Council is one of the first Sydney councils to do this. Using your FOGO food recycling bin helps our environment to:

  • Halve waste that goes to landfill
  • Turn food and garden organics into compost to support farmers and grow better quality produce to feed our families
  • Reduce the impacts of climate change

A green-lid kerbside bin and a green-lid kitchen caddy at the centre of a comic-book-style motif

How do I FOGO?

You can use any container to transfer your food scraps – including meats, dairy, and bones – into the green lid FOGO food recycling bin.

Once you receive your kitchen benchtop bin and compostable liners, you will be able to easily transfer your scraps from kitchen to kerb:

  1. Line your kitchen benchtop bin with the compostable liners provided, newspaper or paper towel, or put it in ‘nude’ (loose)
  2. Collect food scraps, expired food and old takeaway food in your kitchen benchtop bin
  3. Empty into your green lid FOGO food recycling bin as needed
  4. Cover your scraps with leaves, branches or grass clippings. This will keep your FOGO food recycling bin smelling fresh

Important notes

All expired, stale, rotten or freezer burnt foods must be removed from their packaging before going in the FOGO food recycling bin.

Only use certified compostable liners. No plastic or ‘biodegradable’ bags or liners.

If using compostable bags, consider twisting them closed instead of tying, as the knot takes longer to break down/compost.

How can I check my bin collection days?

Visit the waste calendar page.

Be a FOGO hero - check your calendar

What can go in my FOGO bin?

Remove all packaging and place the following food in the green lid FOGO bin:

  • All food including rotten fruit or vegetables, stale or mouldy bread, or leftover meals that didn't get eaten in time
  • Garden organics
  • Compostable liners that comply with Australian Standards (AS4736) for commercial composting

Any type of food can be placed in your green lid FOGO bin. For example:

  • Fruit and vegetable peels and scraps

  • Meat, chicken, seafood (except oyster shells) and small bones (cooked and uncooked meats)

  • Dairy products (cheese, yoghurt etc.)

  • Bread, pasta, rice, cereal

  • Tea bags and coffee grounds

  • Eggs and eggshells

  • Out of date food (processed or fresh)

  • Expired takeaway
  • Garden organics:

  • Grass

  • Leaves

  • Twigs, small branches, tree bark (no logs or branches longer than 100 centimetres or more than 15 centimetres in diameter)

  • Flowers, garden weeds and garden prunings
  • The following items CANNOT go in the FOGO bin:

  • Pet poo or pet poo bags 

  • Logs or branches longer than 100 centimetres or more than 15 centimetres in diameter

  • Kitty litter

  • Fibre-based materials, such as bamboo, timber or cardboard packaging and cutlery, paper towels and serviettes

  • Compostable or biodegradable packaging

  • Vacuum cleaner dust, washing machine or dryer lint
  • For more information check the NSW EPA website.

    I'm concerned about fortnightly garbage collections. What can I do?

    Almost 300 tonnes of food scraps from the Inner West used to go into landfill every single week before FOGO. That's why it's important that food scraps go in the green lid FOGO bin for weekly collection and processing into compost for use by farmers to grow food.

    We understand that a shift to fortnightly red-lid bin garbage collection can feel like a big change for some, so we have a few supports in place to help you manage:

    1. Book and extra red lid bin collection when it's really needed. Council is offering an additional booked collection of red-lid garbage bins (in the alternate week to the scheduled pick up) to assist households whilst they transition to the weekly FOGO and fortnightly garbage.  
    2. Upsize to a large (240L) garbage bin on fortnightly collection
    3. Request an additional recycling bin - you can order a recycling or FOGO bin at no extra cost 
    4. Check out Council's A-Z: What Goes Where waste guide for more ideas on how a wide range of items can be recycled, reused, donated or sold, rather than thrown in the red lid garbage bin.
    5. Contact our Waste Busters - they're our helpful team who will look at your waste and give you tips on how to create space in your red lid bin and make FOGO work for you.

    What if I have nappies, incontinence pads or pet waste?

    Unfortunately, the chemicals and plastics in disposable nappies and incontinence pads mean they can't be disposed of in the green lid bin and must be sent to landfill. The same is true of pet waste and most commercial cat litter products.

    We understand that some families may find this transition challenging and so are offering a range of options to support households struggling with FOGO Food Recycling:

    1. Book and extra red lid bin collection when it's really needed. Council is offering an additional booked collection of red lid garbage bins (in the alternate week to the scheduled pick-up) to assist households whilst they transition to the weekly FOGO and fortnightly garbage.  
    2. Upsize to a large (240L) garbage bin on fortnightly collection
    3. Opt-in for a week red lid garbage bin collection - You can register for weekly red lid garbage bin collections. Priority will be given to those households that need it most first (such as medical reasons, disability,  large volumes of nappies or large families of 5 or more).

    Research has been undertaken by Lake Macquarie council which identified that odours from nappies are at peak smell at 3 days and the smell does not get worse after this time. Nappy smell would not be different whetherweekly or fortnightly red lid garbage bin collections. The smell can be reduced by wrapping nappies in a plastic bag and storing your bin in a shady spot where possible.

    You might also like to check out the details of our reusable nappy rebate.

    Are my rates changing?

    No, the domestic waste charge on your rates has not changed. We switched the collection of your red lid garbage bins to fortnightly with the collection of the green lid FOGO Food Recycling bins to weekly. The amount of waste, collections and trucks has not changed. Food is still collected weekly - just in a different bin. We will need just as many staff and trucks on the ground as before.

    A council resolution determined that any additional costs associated with an upsizing of garbage bin and additional red lid garbage bin collections during FOGO Food Recycling will not be passed on to ratepayers for up to 2 years to allow households time to transition to FOGO.

     

    Do I have to use a compostable liner?

    No, you don't. Putting food in loose without using a liner is the most environmentally friendly way to FOGO. If you choose to put food in loose, here's some tips to get you started:

    • Use an airtight container to collect your scraps. This minimises smells in your kitchen
    • Store your container near your knife block, under the sink, in your fridge or next your bin as a reminder to use it. Make sure it is stored away from direct sunlight
    • Empty your container regularly in the warmer months (2 to 3 times per week)
    • Cover food scraps in your green lid wheelie bin by layering these with garden organics to help absorb liquids, reduce odours and avoid the attraction of pests

    If you're new to FOGO, liners can make food recycling easy and mess-free. We recommend emptying your benchtop bin 2-3 times per week in the summer months to reduce smells and ensure liners don’t decompose in your kitchen benchtop bin.

    Where can I get compostable liners?

    Council will provide you with a pack of compostable bin liners as part of your FOGO starter pack. 

    Compostable liners are also available from Council service centres, libraries and mobile customer service stalls held throughout the community, from Tuesday to Saturday.

    You can also purchase compostable bin liners from major supermarkets, independent grocers and hardware retailers. Make sure you purchase green liners with the seedling logo or marked "AS4736".

    Can I use any green bag to collect my food?

    No - regular plastic bags and "biodegradable" or "degradable" bags, without the seedling logo or marked "AS4736" are not suitable. These bags will not decompose and will contaminate the compost used by farmers to grow food.

    Want to learn more?

    See the full list of FOGO FAQs

     

     

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