Food and garden organics trial

What is the Food and Garden Organics trial?

Council has selected approximately 1,000 residential households to participate in a food recycling trial. This means all food scraps will be sent for recycling into compost rather than landfill.

Sending food scraps to landfill generates methane gas, a harmful and potent greenhouse gas. The food that ends up in landfill is a valuable resource that can be converted into compost, conserving our natural resources for future generations. Landfill space is also running out fast, so we need to look into how we can recycle much more to avoid increasing tipping, transportation and council rates.

What should residents in the trial area do?

Use the kitchen caddy provided by Council for food scraps. When the caddy is full, empty these food scraps into your normal green waste wheelie bin. Put the green waste bin out each Tuesday night for collection on Wednesday morning. It's that easy!

The green waste bin will be collected WEEKLY every Wednesday from 29 June 2016.

What happens to the food scraps in the green waste bin?

A dedicated truck will come and collect the food and green waste from the trial area and take it to a specialised recycling facility to be turned into compost. This is a different facility to the green waste or garbage from the non-trial area, so please don’t encourage others outside of the trial area to mix food in with green waste!

Tips for managing your food and garden organics

Do you love the trial, but hate mess, bugs and smells? View our top tips for managing your food and garden organics!


How we deal with bugs, smells and mess:

  • Mix vinegar and water, and spray on food scraps
  • Sprinkle salt along bin rims
  • Sprinkle bicarb soda (baking soda) inside the bin after it has been cleaned
  • Mix a few drops of eucalyptus oil in water and spray inside the bin and caddy
  • Meat and fish - freeze until bin collection day

About the Trial

Why is Council trialling this new service? 

Your area has been selected to represent a great mix of dwelling types and demographics in the Inner West Council area. Our recent audit revealed that the average Inner West Council bin contains 37% food waste, which can be recycled using this new organics service.

There are many issues associated with placing food waste in the garbage bin. As you know, all items placed in the red lidded garbage bin end up in landfill. This causes a number of issues:

  • When food is thrown into landfill it creates greenhouse emissions, impacting climate change
  • Food is a valuable resource that can be processed into compost, conserving our natural resources for future use
  • Landfill space is running out fast and we need to look at how we can avoid waste and recycling more to avoid increasing tipping, transportation and council rates

How long is the trial for?

This is an ongoing trial, commencing Wednesday 29 June 2016, targeting 1,056 households.

Can I opt out at any stage?

Yes you can. Please continue using your red lidded garbage bin and continue to present that weekly.

How was this trial area chosen?

Council chose an area that was demographically representative of the Local Government Area. The area includes a mix of different types of dwellings - including single, multi-unit, terrace and boarding houses. Information collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics was used to determine the demographic profile of the area.

I don’t live in the trial area, can I still participate?

Unfortunately not. Council is trialling the service in one area of Council that is representative of the area and will be monitoring and evaluating the trial to determine if such a service would be effective for the wider community to avoid food being sent to landfill and increase recycling. If you are outside the trial area, your bin service will not change and your green waste bin will be collected fortnightly. If you place food organics in your green waste bin, your bins will be rejected and not emptied by the collection crew as the contents of the green bin in the trial area are taken to a different facility for processing.

I run a business. Can I participate in the trial?

No, Council does not service commercial businesses, only residential households. Should you have any business sustainability questions, please contact Council’s Senior Environment Officer – Business Sustainability on 9335 2061.

How to participate

How do I use the kitchen caddy bins?

It's easy! All food scraps can be placed loosely in the kitchen caddy bin or wrapped in newspaper. For packaged food that has expired, please remove the packaging first. Then place it in your existing green-lidded green waste bin.

This way all your organics will be in the one bin, ready for transport to the recycling facility.

Will I receive a new wheelie bin?

No, you can use your existing green bin.

What if I don’t have a green bin?

Council can provide you with either a 140 litre or 240 litre green waste bin. Please email or contact 9392 5000 and state that you are participating in the Food and Garden Organics (FOGO) trial. The bin will be delivered to you within 5 working days.

What if my green bin went missing and I haven't paid for a replacement?

Council will provide you with a free replacement at the beginning of the trial to enable you to participate. Please email or contact 9392 5000 and state that you are participating in the organics trial. Please specify the bin size of bin you prefer. The bin will be delivered to you within 5 working days.

What kinds of food scraps can I place in my bin?

You can place any type of food scraps, cooked or raw, leftovers, spoiled or out of date foods into your green bin. This includes:

  • Fruit and vegetable peelings, fruit (including citrus and vegetable scraps)
  • Egg shells and dairy (including cheese and yoghurt)
  • Pasta, rice, bread and cereals (including noodles, bread and pastry)
  • Meat and bones (cooked or raw meat scraps and bones)
  • Seafood (including bones and shells)
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Green waste (including branches, leaves and grass clippings)

What happens to my food and garden organics in the green bin?

Council will collect your green bin weekly and it will be taken to a SUEZ facility for processing. The material will be screened, shredded and composted. Once the composting process is complete, the compost will be used to add nutrients to soils.

What will happen if I put the wrong things in my green bin?

The wrong materials in your green waste bin can contaminate a whole truckload of organics requiring disposal in landfill; therefore contaminated bins will be rejected by collection crews. A rejected bin sticker will be placed on top of your bin lid to let you know that there is a wrong item in the bin. You will need to remove the item and contact Council to organise for it to be emptied.

Your green waste bin should only contain food scraps (loose or wrapped in newspaper) and/or garden organics.

If in doubt, please refer to the brochure, email or call 9392 5000 during business hours.

I live in a unit block and I'm worried about people not caring for the bins. Could we use plastic bags?

No. Plastic bags will jam the machinery and interfere with the recycling process. The recycling facility does not accept these. If you’re struggling to manage the bins, please contact Council at or by calling the Petersham Service Centre on 9392 5000.

What happens if my green bin is not emptied?

Sometimes bins get missed. Please email or call 9392 5000 to report it and Council will collect it within 24 hours. 

What if my kitchen caddy gets damaged?

Email or call 9392 5000 during business hours for a replacement.

Other questions

I live alone or with one other person, we don’t generate enough organics to fill a bin.

It doesn't matter how much or how little you have, Council will empty your green waste bin weekly as long as you place it out for collection. If your green waste is too big for you and you need a smaller 140L bin, email or call 9392 5000 during business hours.

Every little bit helps. Together, your little bit, along with the rest of the trial area will drastically reduce organic waste sent to landfill and ensure it is recycled.

What if I don't have any garden refuse and compost my food scraps?

Council supports home composting and encourages you to continue to do so. This is the most effective and environmentally friendly way to manage your organic waste. Any food that you do not currently compost can alternatively be placed into your green waste bin like meat scraps, bread etc. In addition, garden organics are not essential for this collection. Your food scraps are the most important part as we are trying to reduce this waste to landfill. We still encourage the use of your green waste bin for food scraps even if you have little or no garden organics.

Does Council offer a bin washing service?

No, Council doesn’t have a bin washing service available but people can refer to the Yellow Pages to find a suitable service provider.

Can I purchase additional kitchen caddy bins for other household purposes?

Our contractor will be supplying the kitchen caddies to all households in the trial area. There is a limit of one bin per household. Should you wish to purchase more for other household purposes, you can purchase them from major hardware stores.

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Page last updated: 23 Sep 2019