Grant funding expands composting facility

Published on Monday, 4 January 2021 at 9:25:36 AM

The further rollout of the Food Organic Garden Organic (FOGO) trial is one step closer with the City of Greater Geraldton being awarded $176,000 in grant funding from the State Government to expand its composting site located at the Meru Waste Facility.

The Western Australian Government’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery WasteSorted Grant will be used to increase the size of the concrete pad and bunkers required to turn FOGO waste into compost so it can accommodate an additional 2500 households and the proposed full implementation of the program in 2021/22.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the results of the Waste and Recycling Survey and ongoing evaluation of the FOGO trial are informing the further rollout of the trial.

“The results of the Community Waste and Recycling Survey conducted in July 2020 showed more than 75% of respondents supported the introduction of City wide FOGO waste collection,” he said.

“Also, a recent survey of the 530 FOGO trial participants showed more than 60% of respondents said their top three reasons for participating in the trial were because it was good for the environment, they wanted to reduce waste to landfill and to recycle as much as they could.

“The survey also showed the majority of respondents felt they were successfully separating FOGO waste from general waste and bin monitoring results agree.”

Six months into the trial the content of both the FOGO and general waste bins were monitored for contamination over a six week period.  Following a quick visual check of the bins, tags were placed on the handle that provided feedback to the household on how well waste was being separated in both bins and what could be improved upon.

Following some initial contamination including disposing of recyclables in the general waste bin and non-FOGO waste in the FOGO bin, the contamination rates trended downwards over the six week period.

The survey also highlighted two challenges the City will need to resolve before a City wide rollout of the program could be considered.

“Once participants were used to separating FOGO waste and using their FOGO bin, collection of their general waste bin was changed to fortnightly,” Mayor Van Styn said.

“Although the majority of participants didn’t find this to be a problem, the fortnightly collection of general waste is proving challenging for some households who said despite some recycling efforts and FOGO waste separation their general waste bin was still filling up every week.

“The other challenge is around the production of Australian Standard compost.”

To help resolve the issue, the City has been adding FOGO waste from local food businesses who opted into the trial through an Expression of Interest. The compost ‘recipe’ is now being fine-tuned and this product will eventually be used in the City’s parks and gardens.

The rollout of the FOGO trial to a further 2500 households is part of the City’s Strategic Waste Management & Recycling Action Plan 2020-2030 which provides a commitment to achieving a 60% diversion of waste from landfill by 2030. Given approximately 40%, of the rubbish in resident's bins is made up of FOGO waste, collecting this waste and turning it into compost is the obvious place to start.

PICTURE CAPTION: FOGO trial participants Melissa Raffan with her children Lucy and Jack.

FOGO trial participants Melissa Raffan with her children Lucy and Jack.

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