As we move towards a circular economy which prioritises reuse and recycling, it’s helpful to think about what we get rid of and where it goes after we throw it in our bins.
We can all help to reduce waste. Understanding where our waste materials end up helps us make informed decisions about how to dispose of things that we no longer use or need.
Food and garden waste
Our waste team collects your food and garden waste from your kerbside Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bin, and takes it to Boroondara Recycling and Waste Centre.
Your FOGO bin has a lime-green lid.
Compacting and transporting
At Boroondara Recycling and Waste Centre, your food and garden waste is emptied into large hoppers and compacted to fill semi-trailer trucks. The trucks carry the waste to Cleanaway’s South East Organics Facility in Dandenong South.
At South East Organics, the material goes through several decontamination stages. Obvious items of contamination are manually removed by staff. Next, magnets remove metals from the material. Finally, the material passes through an industrial shredder.
If a contaminant like a plastic bag or glass bottle hasn’t been spotted by this stage, it will get shredded and mixed with the other material, contaminating the entire load. Contaminated FOGO material isn’t fit for composting and it gets sent to landfill.
After the material is shredded, it’s compacted again before being transported in semi-trailer trucks to one of two composting facilities: Biomix or Dutson Downs Soil, both of which pasteurise and mature the material to a high-grade compost.
Composting and maturing
At the composting facilities, the material is sealed inside very hot composting units where it starts to break down. Pathogens, insect eggs and weed seeds are destroyed in the heat. The decomposing material breaks down further in open areas for another 10 weeks, at the end of which it is ready to use as a compost product in soil.
Uses in farming
Farmers buy the soil compost to use in agriculture, horticulture and viticulture. Compost is known for its ability to restore nutrients to depleted soil, improve water retention in the soil and stabilise soil structure.
Collecting and transporting
Decontaminating and sorting
The material goes through several decontamination stages. Obvious items of contamination, like plastic shopping bags, are manually removed by staff. Advanced sorting technology then separates and bales the remaining material into groups of paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, steel and aluminium.
Any material that's too contaminated to be sorted is sent to landfill.
VISY’s packaging business processes most of the recycled materials into new packaging materials – which are themselves recyclable.
Our waste team empties your kerbside household waste bin (dark green lid) and takes the contents to Boroondara Recycling and Waste Centre.
Compacting and transporting
At Boroondara Recycling and Waste Centre, the waste is tipped into large hoppers and compacted to fill large semi-trailer trucks. The trucks carry the compacted waste to Cleanaway’s Melbourne Regional Landfill in Ravenhall in Melbourne's outer west.
At the landfill site, waste is tipped into open holes and buried. There’s no sorting or processing of the waste before it's dumped.
There are only a few remaining landfill sites operating near Melbourne, and the State Government has committed to not build any new sites. This means landfill space is running out.
Due to limited space and State government levies, landfill costs will continue rise and this cost will ultimately flow back to the ratepayer. Therefore it’s important we reduce the amount of rubbish going there.
Waste buried in landfill can take a long time to break down. Some items take longer to break down in landfill than they do elsewhere.
Organic materials like kitchen waste, garden clippings, paper and cardboard buried in landfill sites create methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Liquid created in landfills can also seep into the soil and water table, polluting the surrounding land. While these substances are captured and managed, no management system is perfect.
We can reduce these environmental problems by limiting what we send to landfill.
Put your food and garden waste in your FOGO bin (lime green lid) and your paper, cardboard, tin cans, glass and hard plastics in your recycling bin (yellow lid).