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April 09, 2019

An ‘Easy’ Change to FOGO for Lake Macquarie

Ms Doove has been ensuring her two kids Tom, 7, and Lucy, 5, are ready for the changes to council’s waste service on Monday, July 30.

The ‘Food+Garden=Green’ change means household food scraps will be placed in kerbside green lid bins.

A small kitchen bin, compostable bags and information packs have been provided to every household in Lake Macquarie.

Green bins will also be collected weekly, while red bins will shift to fortnightly.

Green bin waste will be processed at the Remondis Organics Resource Recovery Processing Facility opened on Thursday at Awaba.

The process will help reduce about 17,000 tonnes of waste going to landfill each year and offset increasing annual waste disposal costs.

“I’m a big fan of what they’re trying to do,” Ms Doove said.

“Council’s pretty progressive in terms of instigating what is quite a significant change.

READY: Sam Doove with son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, at home in Eleebana. The family are ready for the changes to Lake Macquarie's waste service. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

 READY: Sam Doove with son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, at home in Eleebana. The family are ready for the changes to Lake Macquarie’s waste service. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“I don’t think it will be particularly cumbersome, we already try to not throw out food scraps. We’ve got chooks and worms for instance, but we’re confident it’s going to reduce our landfill waste a fair bit.”

Ms Doove believes people will quickly adapt to the change and help make a broader difference.

“Any change challenges people,” she said. “But I do really feel like they’re making it particularly easy for us, in terms of it’s just putting your scraps in a different bin.

“It’s just a bit of perhaps a reality check for people that things can’t keep going on as the status quo, maybe we all have to just do even a small thing like putting your food scraps in a different bin to have an impact.”

Dr Alice Howe, council’s manager sustainability, says it will be the first major change to kerbside collections since the introduction of the green bin in 2013.

“About a third of the material in our garage bin is food waste,” she said.

“That’s a valuable resource that can be turned into high-quality compost and it’s much cheaper to process it as compost than it is to landfill it.

“So it has environmental and economic benefits to our community.”

Dr Howe said 16 councils in NSW take food waste through green bins, but Lake Macquarie would be the first in the Hunter as part of a three-bin service.

Council always planned to include food scraps in the green bin and trials held in Fishing Point and Rathmines have left it confident residents will embrace the change.

“The only thing that can’t go in is hard shellfish shells; so muscles, clams, pipis,” she said. “Everything else can go in, [even] dog waste can go in, but not cat waste.

“Pretty much everything else that anyone would eat apart from those hard shells.”

Compostable bags, like the ones provided, are the only type of bag that can be placed into the green bin. Normal plastics and biodegradables can not be used.