Food and garden waste (FOGO)

FOGO stands for Food Organics and Garden Organics; that's your food scraps and waste from the garden. Based on our 2019 waste audits, these organics make up 46 per cent of the waste in our bins at home.

The average household spends around $2,000 a year on food that ends up in landfill. There it breaks down into greenhouse gases. About 3 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions comes from organic matter rotting in landfills.

Why recycle food waste

Composting breaks down food and garden organic waste into reusable organic matter. Decomposition takes place through naturally occurring bacteria, fungi, worms, millipedes and other micro-organisms. There are many benefits of composting. It saves valuable landfill space, creates fertiliser for your garden and improves soil condition.

You can set up your own compost system (PDF 84 KB) by following some easy steps. Home composting diverts organic waste from landfill, helping to reduce our impact on climate change. 

Food recycling in apartments

In 2019, the City of Port Phillip waste audits identified that food waste makes up approximately 36 per cent of the contents of the garbage bin in our apartment buildings. We are working with people in apartment buildings to trial ways for them to recycle food waste.

Food Organics (FO) collection in high rise apartment buildings

To help our communities living in apartment buildings to recycle food waste, we have partnered with waste education service, Reground, to introduce a Food to Farm: FO collection service in three apartment buildings in our City. The collected food waste will be converted into compost and mulch products at a facility in regional Victoria.

We are inviting interested residents with the support of their Owners Corporation to apply for this opportunity. To be eligible, your building will be 10 or more storeys high and contain more than 85 apartments.

Get involved in the FO collection trial

What to do with FOGO

Elwood FOGO trial

Council is trialling three new recycling services in different parts of the municipality. We are doing this to test new approaches with our community to support waste reduction, increase recycling and reduce contamination in kerbside bins. One of the trials we are introducing is a food organics and garden organics (FOGO) collection service for 500 households in Elwood. 

The FOGO trial will run for 11 months. The first bin collection was on 6 August 2020.

What are the benefits of a FOGO bin?

In June 2020 we conducted an audit in Elwood and found that 60 per cent of our household garbage bins consisted of FOGO materials. When these materials break down in landfill, they produce harmful greenhouse gases. If we collect these in a separate FOGO bin (or stream), we can recycle these materials into a commercial compost to be used on farmland and nurseries throughout Victoria.

Why was Elwood selected?

Elwood was selected for the trial as houses generally have both the space to store an extra 240 litre bin and gardens that will produce suitable material for collection.

The trial area is a roughly rectangular area bordered by Bluff Avenue and St Kilda Street (top to bottom) and from Glen Huntly Road and Ormond Road (even-numbered households only) to Ormond Esplanade as shown in the map on the right.

This map shows the Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bin trial area in Elwood. The area is a roughly rectangular bordered by Bluff Avenue and St Kilda Street (top to bottom) and from Glen Huntly Road and Ormond Road (even-numbered households only) to Ormond Esplanade.

Elwood FOGO bin trial area

When is my FOGO bin collected?

The FOGO bin is collected fortnightly on a Thursday morning, beginning Thursday 6 August until Thursday 24 June 2021. You can download the full list of FOGO bin collection dates:

There is no change to your garbage and recycling collection.

What materials can be collected in a FOGO bin?

The main acceptable and unacceptable items are listed on both the FOGO bin and the lid of the kitchen caddy. You can also check the full list of accepted items:

Not sure about an item? Email the Waste Futures team at dontwasteit@portphillip.vic.gov.au

What can I use to line my kitchen caddy?

Your kitchen caddy is designed to be used without a liner and can be hand washed or put in the dishwasher. We recommend emptying and washing your caddy every two to three days.

If you would like to use a liner, check out a handy link to make a newspaper bin liner. Don’t forget you can put the newspaper liner in your FOGO bin too.

What happens to the collected FOGO materials?

View the FOGO flowchart (PDF 1.97 MB) or read the steps below.

  1. Collection: FOGO materials are collected and taken to Cleanaway's South East Organics Facility in Dandenong South.
  2. Decontamination: Contamination is hand-removed – things that shouldn’t be in the FOGO bin are taken out.
  3. Shredding and stacking: FOGO materials are shredded then stacked into long piles called windrows, which are kept moist and turned regularly for 16 to 20 weeks.
  4. Composting: These materials are composted at 50 to 70 degrees to destroy weeds and pathogens. Lab testing ensures the compost complies with standards.
  5. Screening and grading: The composted FOGO is screened into required sizes. Different grades of compost are required for different applications.
  6. End product: Your processed FOGO is ready for use! This compost is full of nutrients and used to rehabilitate land throughout Victoria.

Reducing food waste

Sustainability Victoria's Love Food Hate Waste reports that the average Victorian household spends $2,136 a year on food that they throw out.

We’ve created a weekly meal planner and shopping list (PDF 121 KB) to help you plan your meals before you shop for groceries. It's a proven way to reduce what you buy and what you throw out.

For more tips on smart shopping and food storage to reduce food waste, see the Love Food Hate Waste How to Save Food resources.