The chief executive of the City of Sydney has warned that there will be “enormous” challenges with implementing food and garden organics (FOGO) waste collection in the inner city.
A push to commit to FOGO collection in City of Sydney households during the current council term failed this month, after a motion tabled by Labor councillor Linda Scott was amended ahead of new legislative requirements for council FOGO services expected next month.
Under a FOGO collection model, food waste would be added to the green lid garden waste bin to be recycled into compost, allowing residents to pay a smaller waste levy and reduce their emissions.
CEO says waste collection in the city ‘more difficult than anywhere else’
During the council meeting, City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone said that there are “a number of issues” with FOGO collection in the inner city.
“Everyone wants to do it, but I want councillors to understand, that this is really, really difficult, and in the inner city, it’s more difficult than anywhere else,” Ms Barone said.
“We literally got to educate household by household, each block of flats almost on its own, needs to sort out its own solution for each block of flats, and there are thousands of people we need to talk to, so the cost of education to get the behavioural conversion is enormous.”
In the amended motion, which was supported unanimously, councillors recognised that the City is committed to developing a FOGO collection service “in line with the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy”, with legislative requirements for the strategy expected to be confirmed next month, upon which Ms Barone will be requested to present a paper to councillors that will address the possibility of FOGO delivery during this term.
Ms Barone said that the cost of FOGO collection would be the “real issue”, with potential changes to levies and education expenses making the service extremely challenging for council staff. She also cited an infrastructure issue in the collection service, adding that “there’s not enough anaerobic digestion or composting plants to take all this waste”.
FOGO deadlines from original motion ‘can’t be met’: Deputy lord mayor
Sylvie Ellsmore. Photo: Facebook.
At the council meeting, Greens councillor Sylvie Ellsmore flagged her concern with council’s failure to commit to a timeframe for FOGO rollout, saying that she was “disappointed that we are not making the decision tonight” to roll out the service in the council term and to include it in the budget. She hoped that council would “get some specific options” once the report on FOGO delivery is available next month.
Deputy lord mayor Jess Scully said that she didn’t “see value in imposing deadlines on our staff that can’t be met”, and added that council had an “intention” to bring forward an options paper that, with the anticipated legislation, would provide “more room and tools to implement this change”.
In 2019, the City began a trial food scraps collection service for selected residential properties, with the formal trial period concluding in October last year. The trial is currently under review, with the collection continuing for properties that were already receiving the service.