Why is a waste strategy needed?

    Each year, the average Maroondah household produces 451 kg of waste which is sent to landfill.  As our population and the amount of waste we produce increases, we’re sending increasingly more waste to landfill.  The state government’s Statewide Waste Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan aims to reduce our reliance on landfills by creating new waste processing infrastructure.  Over the next ten years, this will result in significant changes to the waste and resource recovery industry. 

    What is in the draft Strategy?

    The draft Strategy provides a plan for how we will manage and reduce waste and litter over the next ten years in Maroondah.

    The strategic framework outlines how we will respond to the key challenges and opportunities that face the waste sector, both now and into the future.   The framework includes four outcome areas with associated action plans and targets which will drive change to achieve our collective vision for managing waste and litter in 2030.

    What are the draft Strategy’s targets?

    Each of the four outcome areas have measurable targets and each priority action will also be measured and evaluated.  

    The four outcome area targets are:

    Outcome area 1: Less waste to landfill

    In 2030, Maroondah will have halved the amount of waste we send to landfill, based on 2020 levels, with an interim target of 20% reduction by 2025.

     Outcome area 2: More resources recovered and recycled

    In 2030, 80% of materials collected from kerbside bins will be diverted from landfill, with an interim target of 72% by 2025.

    Outcome area 3: An informed community, with the capacity to make sustainable decisions

    Target 1. Recycling contamination level is at, or below, the Victorian state average, by 2030.

    Target 2. Amount of materials recovered at recycling stations and events doubles by 2030.

    Outcome area 4: Clean streets, parks and public spaces

    In 2030 we will have clean streets, parks and public spaces.

     The community satisfaction levels in regard to council’s management of litter and illegal dumping will have improved and the amount of dumped rubbish requests will have reduced.

    How was the draft Strategy developed?

    We are seeking the community’s feedback on the draft Strategy and the proposed targets and actions.   Feedback from the consultation will be considered and used to inform the final Strategy which will be presented to Council in July.

    Why are you consulting on the draft Strategy?

    We are seeking the community’s feedback on the draft Strategy and the proposed targets and actions.   Feedback from the consultation will be considered and used to inform the final Strategy which will be presented to Council in July.

    What are the proposed changes to our current waste services?

    In addition to a suite of actions designed to drive us towards meeting the Strategy’s targets, the draft Strategy is proposing the folowing key changes to our waste collection services over the next ten years:

    • Introducing a food organics and garden organics (FOGO) service in May 2023, which will allow households to place all food scraps into the garden organics bin.  There would be no changes to the current collection frequency of either the garbage or garden organics bins.  The service would include provision of free compostable bags and kitchen bench scrap buckets for those who want them.
    • Sending waste to an advanced waste technology instead of to landfill.  The state government will oversee the group procurement of this new processing infrastructure.  As such, the nature of the technology is not decided on, but it is likely that it will be a form of thermal processing.
    • A glass only recycling service, to be introduced in 2027, as required by the Recycling Victoria Policy.
    • Standardising the bin lids to meet the Australian Standard for Mobile Waste Containers AS 4123.7 2006 (R 2017).  This means changing our recycling bin lid to yellow, our garden organics to lime green and our general waste to bright red.

    What is advance waste and resource recovery treatment/technology (AWRRT)?

    Advanced waste and resource recovery treatment/technology is an umbrella term which includes a range of different treatment/technologies which are used to recover recyclable materials and capture the energy value of the residual waste for use as liquid or solid fuels, gas, electricity and/or heating.   AWRRTs capture more resources and provide a more sustainable alternative to landfills.

    Why are we introducing a Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) service?

    By placing our food waste into the garden bin, instead of our general waste bin, we can divert up to 3,500 tonnes of waste from landfill each year for use as compost on farms and gardens.   This would result in an annual emissions saving of up to 1,310 tonnes of CO2-e.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of introducing a food organics and garden organics (FOGO) service?


    • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions from landfill. In landfill, food and wet garden organics have the potential to generate methane which has a global warming potential 25-32 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and greater over a shorter period. One tonne of food in landfill has potential to generate methane with a warming potential equivalent to over two tonnes of CO2.
    • Reduced environmental risk from landfill. Decomposition of food and other biodegradable organics in landfill generates leachate and organic compounds that make heavy metals and other toxins more soluble and bioavailable. They also cause odour and promote vermin and insects at landfill.
    • Recovery of food organics to compost is more in line with the waste hierarchy principles than decomposition and potential gas capture in landfill.
    • There could be cost savings in the future if the landfill levy increases above the current consumer price index (CPI), restrictions are imposed on landfilling of putrescible waste, or application of a carbon price to greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Reducing the organic fraction of the garbage stream can make it more viable to recover more resources from the garbage stream using advanced waste technologies.
    • Households with garden organics services can dispose of much more organics per fortnight than they could fit into their garbage bins and saves having to manage this waste on site or taking it to a transfer station.

    Potential disadvantages

    • Increased waste and resource recovery costs, particularly if the service is not utilised correctly and contamination clauses are enacted.
    • Environmental and amenity risks associated with the organics processing facilities.
    • Environmental risks from the use of recycled organics if they are contaminated.

    Why can’t we introduce the Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) service earlier?

    There are a number of variables which influence when a new service can start:

    • Timing needs to align with Council’s collection and processing contracts.
    • Market considerations such as existing processing capacity significantly impedes how quickly a new contract can begin.  In order to take food with our garden waste in Maroondah, we, along with our eastern neighboring Councils, need to procure a new processing facility (due to a lack of local processing capacity for organics).
    • Victorian Government procurement timelines influence the timing of when Councils go out for group procurement for new facilities.  The eastern region procurement group was scheduled last out of the four Metropolitan Melbourne organics procurement clusters.
    • Once we have signed up to a new organics processor, we will be required to give 18 months notice of our intent to include food with the garden organics.

    Why isn’t Council changing to a fortnightly general waste bin collection and a weekly FOGO service?

    Council undertook a research project to assess our capacity to change to a fortnightly general waste bin service.  

    The research assessed how much recoverable food waste was present in Maroondah bins, how full the average Maroondah general waste bin is, and our household demographics.   

    We found that although by weight the average general waste bin has 50% food waste, by volume, these materials account for 11% of the bin contents.  This means that diverting food waste will not greatly reduce the volume of the materials needing garbage collection, rather, it will reduce the overall weight. 

    We also found that fortnightly garbage services were more likely to have higher contamination levels. Because we intend to use our FOGO as compost on farms and in public places, it is very important that we have low levels of contamination, otherwise we risk adversely impacting the end-users of the compost.  Council intends to review the collection frequencies at the end of the strategy period.  

    Will fortnightly FOGO lead to odour issues?

    Council intends to provide households with compostable bags and kitchen scrap buckets.  Tying the food organics up in a compostable bag, and mixing or layering with garden waste, will help to mitigate odour issues.  Council will provide more details on how odour can be managed, as well as other tips and hints for a successful FOGO bin, as we get closer to the start of the service.

    Where does garbage, recycling and garden organics go once I put my bins out?

    General waste is transported to Hanson’s Wollert Landfill.  Hanson’s Wollert landfill is highly engineered and captures approximately 85% of landfill gases which in turn provides enough alternative energy supply to power 10,000 homes each year.

    Recycling is sent to Polytrade recycling in Dandenong South. Recyclables are sorted & reprocessed ready for manufacture into a variety of products. Polytrade Recycling's Plastic division reprocesses PET & HDPE bottles and then turns them into high quality resins suitable for manufacturing into various products such as PET Soft Drink Packaging / HDPE Milk Bottles, Plastic Recycling Wheelie Bins & Irrigation Pipes. Polytrade Recycling’s Paper division sorts paper and cardboard for local manufacture and exported for new cardboard packaging, newsprint production & other forms of packaging. Sorted glass is turned into new glass bottles and jars, insulation and glass abrasives.

    Garden organics is composted and provided to farms in the Gippsland farming region.  It’s more important than ever that we provide the farmers with clean compost so they can grow food safely.

    Why do we need a glass-only collection service?

    The Victorian Government's Recycling Victoria Policy 2020 requires all Councils to provide the community with access to a glass only recycling service by 2027.  This service will be for glass bottles and jars not accepted for refund through the proposed Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) which is to be introduced in 2023.  

    Removing glass from the commingle recycling bin is purported to increase the value of the other materials in the bin, like paper and plastic.  

    The Victorian Government is currently preparing a state-wide transition plan to transition to the new glass and food and garden organics services.  The plan will ensure there is the appropriate local markets to recycle and repurposed the glass collected, and to compost the additional food waste collected.

    We will undertake further consultation prior to introducing the service to ensure it meets the needs of our community.

    Why does it cost money to recycle?

    The materials placed into our blue-lidded bins do have value but, for most packaging items, it’s still cheaper to make them from virgin materials than it is to recycle them.  That means that we need to offset the cost difference in order to make recycling viable.  Victoria also has a small manufacturing industry so there is minimal market pull for the materials.

    What can I do to reduce waste and the associated costs?

    There are changes that everyone can make to what we buy and how we recycle that will have a significant impact on waste reduction and improve recycling.  From what we buy to how we dispose of it, we make choices every day that can help us work towards a more sustainable future.  Here are four simple steps you can take:

    1. Where possible; try to limit how much you consume.  Avoid heavily packaged goods, consider buying in bulk, plan your supermarket trips so that you avoid impulse purchases.
    2. Continue your recycling efforts.
    3. Check what can and can’t be recycled.(External link)
    4. Buy products made from recycled materials.  The more people buy recycled goods, the greater the demand for recyclable materials.

    How can I stay informed about waste management in Maroondah?

    We will update the YourSay page as the project progresses.  You can be notified of updates by clicking on the subscribe button on the right hand side of the page.

    Will Council save money by introducing a Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) service.

    The FOGO service wont save us money in the short term.  This is because it costs more money to process our garden organics when we add food in making the overall cost to process more than landfill. 

    We also have to take the materials further which results in increased collection fleet costs. However, the Victorian Government is proposing staged landfill levy increases over the coming years which will make composting our food waste cheaper than landfill in the long term.