Did you know that based upon our recent 2022 bin audit data, in Townsville, 52% of the average waste bin weight is compostable organics?
This means we are throwing out over 100 kilograms of composable food each year. For Townsville as a whole, that’s over 10,000 tonnes of food waste from households alone.
That adds up! It is estimated that Australian households spend between $2,000–$2,500 per year on food that is wasted. Food waste is not only costly to households, it consumes expensive landfill space and generates methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
To address food waste Council undertook a FOGO (food organics, garden organics) trial with 1500 participating residents across four Townsville suburbs. The trial aimed to collect data to aid in reducing the amount of organic material that ends up in landfill and to assist in future resource recovery efforts. Council aims to divert this material from landfill and work towards a goal of zero waste to landfill by 2030.
The FOGO trial ended on 30 June. By the end of the trial, over 800 tonnes of organics were diverted from landfill towards beneficial reuse products such as soil conditioner or compost. Residents embraced the trial, with over 79% of households participating, and the recovery rate of food and garden material exceeding Queensland Government targets. The weight of waste disposed of in the red lid waste bin decreased by almost 5kg per household per week as a result of the diversion of food and garden organics to the third bin.
How do I reduce waste landfill?
Don’t stop the good work there Townsville, there are many ways you can reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill. You can step up to fight food and garden waste by making simple changes at home.
- Make it easy to find food that needs to be used up - create a shelf in your pantry and fridge for food that needs to be eaten first.
- Get everyone in the household to use food on this shelf first or rotate food by moving the oldest items to the front.
- Make it failproof by using transparent containers to easily see what’s inside.
- Eat the oldest items first.
- Freeze excess food.
- Cook one meal each week that combines foods that need to be used up.
- Use your leftovers as a tasty lunch.
- Preserve any unused vegetables by pickling or preserving food.
- Check your pantry, then make a plan!
- Use our free meal planner and plan meals to use up ingredients you already have.
- Get the family to help choose the menu so you know they will eat up the food.
- Avoid recipes that need a special ingredient that you may not have or use again, or substitute with something else.
- Take stock before you shop. Check what ingredients are in your fridge, freezer and pantry to make sure you don’t buy more of the same.
- Write a shopping list and stick to it when you shop. Don’t shop when you’re hungry or you might end up buying more than necessary.
- Keep food where you can see it. You know how it goes - out of sight out of mind. Use clear containers and keep labels facing forward.
- Freeze food for later. Label what it is, date it and add it to your next menu plan.
- Prevent ‘freezer burn’ by freezing food in airtight containers or wrapping foods tightly.
- Remember to defrost frozen food in the fridge, especially meat and dairy.
- Separate fresh produce – certain fruits and vegetables such as ripe bananas, apples and avocadoes let off high amounts of ethylene, which can accelerate the ripening of produce nearby.
- Make sure your fruit bowl is not overcrowded, so ethylene gas can move around.
- Use the crisper drawer in the fridge for fresh produce – it helps trap the humidity inside keeping them fresh for longer.
- Ensure your fridge door seal is working and the temperature is not too hot or too cold. Your fridge should be between 1 - 5°C.
- Keep fresh bread in a cool place – ideally wrap bread in a tea towel and place in a breadbox or freeze it.
Composting reduces the amount of organic waste going into landfill.
By composting your food scraps and green waste, you are converting it into a useful by product that’s ideal for a garden fertiliser. It is a win-win!
There are a range of steps to successful DIY Composting. Learn how with our easy 7 step guide in our DIY Composting Factsheet in the Resources section below.
Composting Tips and Tricks
Did you know that worm tubes are ideal for the natural disposal of organic waste including fruit and veg scraps, egg shells, shredded paper and more.
Discover how easy it is to make your own worm tubes in our DIY Worm Tube Factsheet in the Resources section below.