Organic Resource Recovery trial reaches halfway milestone

Date published: 19 April 2022

More than 270 tonnes, or the equivalent of 5,400 full kerbside wheelie bins, of organic materials have been diverted from Townsville landfills since the start of the Food Organics, Garden Organics (FOGO) Kerbside Collection Trial in October last year.

The Townsville-based trial which aims to determine the environmental and economic benefits of kerbside collection for food and garden waste has now reached the halfway mark.

Townsville City Council added either a third FOGO or GO kerbside bin for 1,500 households in Idalia, Burdell, Vincent and Heatley as part of the trial.

Acting Mayor Mark Molachino said the results had been very positive.

“The trial has been split into two parts, with 1,000 households in Idalia and Burdell using their new lime-green lidded bins for food and garden waste, meanwhile, 500 households in Vincent and Heatley have been using their extra bin for garden waste only,” Cr Molachino said.

“We have seen industry-best standards for household participation rates of up to 90 per cent in some areas.

“Our team has also recorded an average contamination rate of below 2 per cent, which tells us most households are doing the right thing and are only putting food or garden waste in the kerbside bins.

“Trial participants will be surveyed within the next few weeks so we can gather further information about how the trial is going and receive any feedback they have.

“The information gathered will be used to evaluate whether the program will roll out citywide, what it might look like and what further infrastructure might be needed.”

The Queensland Government provided $242,000 to Council to conduct the FOGO Kerbside Collection Trial.

Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said the trial was about exploring initiatives to reduce the amount of potential value add materials and resources going to landfills.

“Waste management is a considerable expense for ratepayers,” Cr Soars said.

“For example, construction has started on two new landfill cells at the Stuart waste facility at the cost of more than $10 million. Our current cell, constructed in 2020, is expected to reach capacity within the next 12 months.

“Initiatives like the FOGO Kerbside Collection Trial are about looking for sustainable ways to divert materials from going to landfills to be reused or repurposed.

“One of those initiatives has been diverting the garden organic material to be processed by local business Atlas Soils to turn into a soil conditioner which Council has already used in parks and gardens across Townsville.

“Council wants to achieve a goal of zero waste to landfill by 2030, and resource recovery initiatives like this are vital to helping determine the best and most effective method to achieving that.”

The FOGO Kerbside Collection Trial is planned to end in September.