Labors Shadow Minister for Regional Services and Local Government Stephen Jones today joined Shellharbour City Mayor Marianne Saliba and Wingecarribee Shire Councillor Graham McLaughlin on an inspection of Shellharbour City Councils successful green waste recycling project known as FOGO (Food Organics and Gardens Organics).
Councillor McLaughlin wants to make the recycling of green waste a key issue in the upcoming elections for Wingecarribee Council. The FOGO bins, which have been in use since 1 July this year, allow residents to place all food waste in a green lidded bin along with garden materials.
Mr Jones said that any opportunity to improve waste disposal in the local area should be taken seriously.
Its a sad fact that in Australia we throw out an enormous amount of food each year and when it goes to landfill it produces methane, which is bad news for the environment. So its a great thing that leaders like Graham McLaughlin are looking for alternatives."
Ms Saliba said that she was happy to share her Councils experiences with Councillor McLaughlin.
Developing the organics processing facility to take care of waste put in the FOGO bins has been a great success in Shellharbour City and Id be delighted to work with our neighbouring council in the Southern Highlands to help them introduce the scheme.
Mr McLaughlin said that he was committed to improving Wingecarribee Councils rubbish collection system.
At the last council meeting I put a question on notice asking staff to investigate and bring back a preliminary report on food waste and the possible use of organic bins.
The response was really encouraging. If we can reduce domestic household waste by 30 per cent due to food organics being diverted then this would result in transport and disposal savings of $450,000 per year.
This makes a lot of sense for a Council that has told rate payers to expect a series of rate increases over the next four years. I dont think you can ask ratepayers to put their hands in their pockets for more money if we cant demonstrate that we are constantly looking for ways to save money in what we are already doing.
Todays inspection is part of my fact finding mission to look at how the FOGO bins are working here and how a similar model could be used in the Highlands.
Im always on the lookout for new ideas and this certainly sounds like a promising way forward. Weve seen the positive impact of green bins, its time to look into new options for Wingecarribee waste disposal.