New bins on their way for inner west in bid to slash landfill by 40 per cent

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Inner West residents will soon get a fourth bin – with a burgundy-coloured lid – to recycle food scraps in a bid to cut landfill waste by up to 40 per cent.

As councils in Sydney struggle to implement a state government edict to introduce food organics and garden organics (FOGO) bins by 2030, the Inner West Council will roll out a Food Recycling program to every home by October this year.

The bins, typically smaller than red bins, hold kitchen food scraps. The scraps are used to create compost and used in parks, farms and gardens. Food scraps are estimated to make up around 40 per cent of the contents of most red bins, which go to landfill.

Some councils provided residents with benchtop caddies to empty into larger bins. Credit: Janie Barrett

A 2021 state government plan, the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy, introduced rules that require councils to collect FOGO bins for every resident by 2030, later than an earlier plan which said they should be introduced by 2023.

Only three Sydney councils – Randwick City Council, Penrith Council and Woollahra Council – have fully implemented the scheme in Sydney, leaving more than 20 local government areas without a full collection program. Most say they have struggled with the cost of the program, as well as limited supplies.

“Due to the lack of processing plants and transfer stations, we have had to fight hard to access the limited capacity from providers,” Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne said. “We have now entered into a contract with Veolia and are in a position to roll out a full food recycling service.”

Three councils in Sydney have fully implemented the program, while Cumberland and Canada Bay councils have begun trials.Credit: Environmental Protection Agency

The council previously had a smaller trial of the food recycling service, which was available to about 1000 apartment complexes.

Parramatta residents are also set to receive new bins by next year, with the council expecting to lock in a contractor for the waste service by the middle of this year.

The City of Canterbury Bankstown, which has also implemented a trial, says cost remains a prohibitive factor.

“Like many councils across Sydney, our main hurdle is getting it right in a cost and environmentally effective manner,” a spokesperson said. “There are still many questions to be answered, including existing contracts, bin configuration, truck configuration and the frequency of collections.”

Randwick City Council, which has had two years of FOGO bin collection, said 29,000 tonnes of organic material had been diverted from landfill since the program began. Red bin content had reduced by 26 per cent.

“No big change to everyday life is ever totally hassle-free,” said Randwick mayor Dylan Parker, “but Randwick’s experience shows that when a community is open-minded and buys in to being part of the solution they can achieve impressive results.”

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