Food organics, garden organics trial enters new phase

09 September 2022

A trial to assess community attitudes toward future changes in the collection of food and organic household waste is entering a new phase.

About 1,000 households, 500 at Bellbird Park and 500 at Raceview, have been participating in Ipswich City Council’s food organics, garden organics (FOGO) trial for the past year, with each house receiving a new 240 litre green top bin for free under the trial.

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said council is now ready to transition the trial to its next phase, which will focus on behaviour science, bin tagging and other behaviour change activities.

“The initial trial phase will cease on the 12 September and the weekly collection of the FOGO service for trial participants will change to fortnightly, and their general waste service will return to weekly,” Mayor Harding said.

“In recognition of participants’ efforts, council will transition trial participants into council’s fortnightly FOGO service free of charge until June 2023.

“Under the new service configuration, council will be working closely with the Department of Environment and Science to develop and implement behaviour change campaigns such as bin tagging programs, which will focus on reducing contamination and increasing positive participation.

“Our FOGO trial has been a great success to date, with initial survey results indicating residents were happy with the service and would support it long term.

“During the fourth quarter (March-May 2022) of the trial, 82 tonnes of organic material were diverted from landfill. This is an excellent outcome as it helps generate high-quality compost while significantly reducing landfill disposal costs and community rates.

“While we still have a way to go, weekly participation rates have steadily increased indicating participants are starting to use their FOGO bin more often. Our goal is 80 per cent participation and in this fourth quarter, it increased to 67 per cent in Raceview and 48 per cent in Bellbird Park.

“Our contamination rate goal is 1 per cent – and while the overall average contamination rate by participants was 25 per cent, this is obviously something we can focus on and improve.

“We would like to thank all residents for their contributions to date, your efforts will go a long way to increasing waste diversion from landfill, improving recycling rates and generating high-quality compost while significantly reducing landfill disposal costs and community rates.”

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Deputy Chairperson Councillor Paul Tully said FOGO had changed the way residents use green bins and general waste bins, including frequency of collection.

“Residents in the trial zone have been able to send food waste, leftovers, grass clippings and a range of other organic material for composting rather than to landfill,” Cr Tully said.

“These green bins have been collected weekly, rather than fortnightly, with general waste (red top) bins moving to fortnightly.

Recycling yellow-top bins remained on fortnightly collection as well.”

Deputy Mayor and Division 1 Councillor Jacob Madsen said up to 40 per cent of current general waste collection is food waste or branch clippings and can and should be saved from landfill.

“By continuing to expand our FOGO service, we have been able to divert a significant volume of materials from general waste bins and landfills and have turned it into something useful, like compost,” Cr Madsen said.

Division 1 Councillor Sheila Ireland said more than 70 councils across the country have already implemented citywide FOGO collection.

“By transitioning to a free-of-charge fortnightly FOGO service, we will be able to test a variety of targeted education and engagement programs aimed at reducing contamination to acceptable standards thereby further supporting informed decision making and investment when the time comes for our possible city-wide FOGO roll out in 2023,” Cr Ireland said.

Council welcomes any feedback and encourages residents to ask questions at or by email to the Resource Recovery team at