Waste Reduction & Food Production

I’ve been remiss. Actually, quite remiss.

Something happened this year that I didn’t acknowledge or pay credence to at the time. So here it is, before the year ends!

This year the City of Albany introduced the FoGo (Food Organics & Garden Organics) collection service. Other localities around the State have been rolling out the same service.

I guess the reason for not commenting about it was because, well, as astounding and beneficial as it is for our community, our environment and our world – we’ve been doing it all along anyway. It’s just something we do as a family.

So what makes this occurrence even remotely remarkable is the fact that what we have been doing as a family is now officially MAIN STREAM. La la Laaaa!

And I should say here that I am very aware that we are not the only family that practice this, but we are collectively, probably still the minority in the bigger scheme of things. But nope, no more. Our whole street can do their bit now. Our whole neighbourhood. Our whole town. Perhaps our whole STATE!

What this means for the average household in Albany and surrounds is that any kitchen waste generated in the home can now be collected in this handy kitchen caddy along with the green waste normally collected. The degradable liner bag is easily removed and put into the green waste bin along with and extended number of items ranging from:

Fruit and vegetable scraps

Cooked food

Meat, bones and seafood

Dairy

Soiled paper, cardboard, napkins and tissues

Egg shells

Coffee grounds and tea leaves

Garden prunings

Pet poo

Kitty litter

Shredded paper

The Impact

The impact of such a welcome change is easy enough to follow. Less waste in the regular bins means less biodegradable waste in landfill. It is diverted to the commercial green waste facility where it is safely composted. Evidently this will reduce the amount of regular waste (wrappings, food trays, nappies etc) in the general waste bin – so it won’t need collecting on a weekly basis. A practice that has been a steadfast routine for most of our lives.

Less waste going into landfill is a better outcome too. Especially organic waste that is going to decompose and create unwanted problems such as gasses and leachate. With the collection and diversion of recyclables such as glass, plastic and metal containers and the addition of the kitchen caddy for organic waste, the lifespan of our local landfill site can substantially be extended further into the future before arriving at its full and bloated capacity. Perhaps hopefully, with a shorter compaction and settlement time, meaning it can then transition to its next life much quicker. It might become community parkland or a green belt or nature reserve.

This is the logo you want to be looking for if you wish to purchase your own bags to replenish your supply. Some councils around the state will supply these bags on a yearly basis.

It’s really a fantastic thing this FOGO. For us as a family however, little has changed. We don’t have a green waste bin to empty our FOGO caddy into. We compost and re-use whatever green waste we can get our hands around on-site. Our garden size is adequate enough and with various uses that we can accommodate our green waste and the even some from friends and family. It actually comes down to time and ability as to whether we take it or leave it for their waste collection. Our waste ultimately ends up as a product that we can feed our soil with and increase our own backyard food production. As will the FOGO waste, which will have a second life as compost for those wishing to enhance their gardens performance.

What has changed is we now have a lovely, purpose built kitchen caddy that any visitors to the house can identify with and use. The greater change will be from the combined effort of our population and the change in behaviours and habits of each household to amplify the benefits overall. This is the power of everyone doing their own bit.

Our next post will be about how we as backyard gardeners can make this process even better and gain a variety of benefits along the way with some real world examples from our own little paradise.

For the continuation of this post click here.

Further Information:

For Albany locals : information on the FOGO bin service

Bio Plastics Information

FOGO Summer Schedule

10 thoughts on “Waste Reduction & Food Production

  1. That seems like a good idea, but in our Community, which seems to talk about environmentalism much more than actually participating in it, such bins are not used. They only contribute more plastic to the environment, and eventually get discarded in the trash along with everything else. It is discouraging. The waste is disturbing, and even more disturbing when things that are supposed to help us waste less become part of the waste. When I lived in town, and took the dumpster for our building out to the curb weekly, I found that the recyclery bins were regularly filled with trash. NO ONE sorted their recyclables, so the bin that was closed to the gate, whether for paper, cans or bottles, was the first to fill up with trash.

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    1. That is really disheartening to hear Tony. I thought we were a bit behind with all of this stuff here in Australia. People want to live in a convenience society but without the inconveniences. If recycling isn’t convenient or easy it won’t happen. An interesting insight that I really wasn’t aware of. Thanks Tony.

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      1. What is so frustrating is that it really is so easy. We have all the resources to do it. Yet, all we do is talk about it, and brag about our plastic infrastructure that is supposed to help us accomplish it. The Santa Clara Valley used to be famous for orchard production, but it is all urban now, and very few of us go outside. Those who do ride their fast bicycles through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, without taking the time to look at it. Tesla is an important employer here, and brags about how electric cars are saving the planet, but my old cars, which have outlasted several modern cars without going to a landfill, are shunned. They get great gas mileage by the way. It is all so backward.

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      2. Don’t it always seem to go
        That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
        They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot

        How painfully true. Though even nowadays, so much of what has gone does not seem to go unmissed. It’s tapping into human behaviour somehow to induce the required change. I’m curious to see if our FOGO system actually IS working.

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      3. This is disturbing Tony. I’m sure this isn’t restricted to your area. I can see parallels here. I’ve seen it in my travels, which has only compelled me further to do what I can here. Like so many challenges facing the world today I really think that the responsibility lies more with the individual than the individual or the government cares to acknowledge.

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      4. Yes, exactly. I think that some municipal governments try, but can not do much for those who are not receptive. Some cultures are more receptive of course. I found that those in Oklahoma were more environmentally aware than they give themselves credit for. I mean, some are environmental responsible as a normal way of life, rather than to conform to some pointless trend. They do not brag about it, just because it is so normal for them. However, Seattle is infested with apathetic people who moved there from California, after ruining California.

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