The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is introducing new regulations that govern what can and can’t be placed in the Bega Valley Shire’s FOGO bins.
Council’s Waste Services Manager, Alan Gundrill said the unexpected change from the NSW Government prohibits disposal of many items previously allowed under the current FOGO organics recycling service.
“Residents and businesses with a FOGO service are only permitted to dispose of organic kitchen scraps and garden waste under the new regulations,” Mr Gundrill said.
“This means items such as food-soiled paper and cardboard packaging, certified compostable packaging and cups, teabags, tissues, coffee filters, vacuum cleaner dust, hair, animal droppings and cat litter will no longer be permitted.
“These items must now go in the red-lid landfill bin. The only permitted exception is the use of certified compostable bags, or paper for lining kitchen caddy bins.
“This is a major departure from the FOGO service we delivered four years ago and as proud leaders in community-wide organics recycling, we are disappointed at the EPA’s decision.
“Ultimately this will lead to more resources ending up in our rapidly filling landfill facility—resources that through our commercial composting facility are able to be turned into a valuable commodity.”
Mr Gundrill said the NSW EPA had cited a number of reasons for the change.
“Specific concerns had been raised about the long-term impacts of accumulated bio-plastics and substances commonly used in the manufacture of compostable food packaging,” Mr Gundrill said.
“We take quality control of our compost products seriously and through hand-sifting and regular testing, we are proud to have a high-quality product with very low contamination levels.
“The upside of these changes will lead to the improvement of an already great product as well as simplified bin use rules, which will make it easier for our community to recycle their food and garden waste.
“We are aware that initially some people may find the change of rules confusing, so we are rolling out the EPA’s Scrap Together campaign to help explain what can and can’t go in your FOGO bin. We will also be seeking additional funding from the EPA to pay for an awareness campaign and educational materials.
“It’s important we support the community and our FOGO for Business customers through these changes and we are currently changing Council’s website content and working with designers to update information signage.”
Image: Bega Valley Shire Council