Waste and recycling FAQs

What does FOGO mean?

“FOGO” stands for Food Organics Garden Organics and refers to the weekly collection of food waste, as well as natural material from your garden.  FOGO waste will be turned into compost.

A handy way to think about FOGO is ‘If it didn’t grow, it’s not FOGO’.

Why are we changing to a new bin system?

The City of Fremantle is committed to reducing the volume of waste to landfill and aims to improve upon our recycling recovery rate.

The 3-bin Food Organics, Garden Organics (FOGO) system will provide residents in the City of Fremantle with more options for separating their waste, with the aim of improving recovery rates, increasing diversion from landfill and reducing costs of processing material.

By collecting nutrient-rich food waste alongside garden waste in the new FOGO bin, we can generate a high-quality compost to use on farms, parks and gardens and avoid organic waste going to landfill which produces harmful methane gas.

The system has been successfully trialled in the City of Melville as part of a joint project between the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council, Cities of Fremantle, Melville and the Town of East Fremantle.

During this trial, the 3-bin FOGO system was proven to achieve around 65% diversion from landfill. The process prevented valuable resources from going to landfill and was accompanied by strong participation and support from residents.

The 3-bin FOGO system is the WA State Government’s preferred kerbside collection system and is considered the most suitable for achieving the State Government target of 65% diversion from landfill by 2020.

While 3-bin FOGO systems have been implemented in a range of councils across Australia and several councils in the state’s south west, all other 3-bin systems in the Perth Metropolitan area currently only offer residents a third bin for Garden Organics (GO), excluding valuable, nutrient rich food waste.

What’s happening to my bin service?

If you currently have the two-bin system, your household will soon have three separate bins: one for general rubbish, a FOGO bin for compost and a recycling bin.  

You will receive a brand new 240 litre lime green-lidded FOGO bin, for all your food scraps and garden clippings, which will be turned into high-quality compost and collected weekly.

You will keep your yellow-lidded recycling bin, which will be collected fortnightly. A larger 360litre yellow-topped recycling bin can be made available upon request.

You will receive a new 140 litre red-lidded general waste bin for general rubbish items that can’t be recycled or turned into compost, which will be sent to landfill and collected on the alternative fortnight to your yellow-topped recycling bin. If you find your household is struggling with capacity issues after you start using the new bins, contact your council to see if a solution can be provided to you.

Your old General Waste Bin will be taken away and reused or recycled into a new bin.

  • You will also be provided with a kitchen caddy when your new bins are dropped off. The caddy will be attached to your lime green-lidded FOGO bin when the rollout occurs. Inside the kitchen caddy will be information to help you use your new bins as well as compostable liners to help you separate your food scraps in the kitchen.

What can I put in each bin?

Lime-green lidded FOGO bin (WEEKLY): All food organics including raw and cooked meat, bread, dairy, bones, shells, and garden organics. This bin will be composted so it’s important to keep plastic and glass out of this bin. All food waste is to go into your FOGO bin either in a compostable liner, wrapped in newspaper or loose in the bin. Please make sure food is removed from packaging before being placed in the bin as any plastic packaging can contaminate the compost.

You can also place pet droppings and kitty litter into this bin either straight into the bin or in a compostable liner, however biodegradable plastic liners are not to go into your FOGO bin, only compostable liners as they will break down naturally in the composting process.

Yellow lidded recycling bin (FORTNIGHTLY): Recyclable materials including:

  • Paper (excluding shredded paper)
  • Cardboard (flattened)
  • Glass (clean and empty)
  • Plastic containers and plastic bottles (clean and empty)
  • Aluminium cans (clean and empty)
  • Steel cans (clean and empty).

All items should be clean, dry and empty with lids removed and placed in the bin loosely, not tied in bags.

The following items should not be placed into your yellow-topped recycling bin: 

  • Plastic bags and plastic film
  • Nappies
  • Meat trays and polystyrene
  • Clothes and textiles
  • Garden and food waste
  • Gas bottles and aerosol cans
  • Electronic waste and batteries
  • Ropes, cables and hose
  • Materials in bags

Red lidded general waste bin (FORTNIGHTLY): General rubbish items that cannot be composted or recycled, such as nappies, polystyrene, plastic bags and soft plastics.

What goes in which bin?

For a full A-Z list of which bin to put your waste and recycling in click here:

Why is the size of the general waste bin changing?

On average, around 60% of the waste we put into our general waste bin is FOGO material. When food and garden waste is sent to landfill, it generates harmful methane gas and contributes to higher processing costs through landfill fees.

Residents are encouraged to use their FOGO bin to ensure we can recover as much organic waste as possible and convert this material into much need compost. All your food waste including leftovers, peelings, cooked and raw meat, bones, shells, bread, seafood and dairy products can go into your FOGO bin, along with paper products like tissues, napkins, shredded paper, soiled newspaper and soiled pizza boxes.

Are there any variations available to the standard bin sizes/collection schedules?

While the alternating fortnightly collection of the yellow-lidded recycling and the red-lidded general waste bin will not be able to be changed, residents who feel they may need more capacity for their recycling are able to upgrade to a 360litre yellow-lidded recycling bin.  To assess the customer’s eligibility for an extra capacity bin, please send enquiries to the Waste Management team

For FOGO properties – fee waived

For NO FOGO properties – fee waived for interim roll out period (usually a fee applies)

In some instances, households can request extra general waste capacity (red lid) following a needs assessment. Please contact your Waste Management Team to find out more.

Our household doesn’t have much food or garden waste; do we still need the FOGO bin?

Even if you don’t have a lot of food or garden waste, residents are encouraged to use their FOGO bin to ensure we can recover as much organic waste as possible. If food and garden waste is sent to landfill, it generates harmful methane gas and contributes to higher processing costs through landfill fees.

All your food waste including leftovers, peelings, cooked and raw meat, bones, shells, bread, seafood and dairy products can go into your FOGO bin, along with paper products like tissues, napkins, shredded paper, soiled newspaper and soiled pizza boxes.

If you find there’s not much going in your FOGO bin each week, you may wish to speak to your neighbour to see if you can set up a sharing arrangement.

We already compost at home, do we still need the FOGO bin?

We encourage you to continue to compost at home, however you can use your lime green-lidded FOGO bin for things you can’t put in your home compost bin, like bones, meat and seafood! 

Why is the City purchasing brand new bins?

Other Councils have researched this and it is proven not to be economically viable to convert the existing bins. For example, some bins have hinges that are permanently attached therefore the lids cannot be replaced or easily removed.

There are many different sized bins in the City as well as aged and different bin stock.  In order to ensure efficient emptying of the bins by our bin trucks these bins all need to be unified.

Will my old bin be recycled?

Yes.  Old general waste bins in the FOGO areas will be retrieved for shredding and recycling.

How does the rollout work?

The rollout will consist of residents receiving two new bins, a brand new 240L FOGO bin for all the natural materials from the kitchen and the garden, as well as a brand new 140L General Waste bin for items that can’t be composted or recycled.

These two new bins will be delivered to the kerbside on bin day, along with a small Kitchen Caddy, which will contain an information pack about the new system and everything you need to start separating food waste in the kitchen, including a year’s supply of compostable liners.

Your old dark-green topped General Waste bin will be emptied as usual and will be taken away and either re-purposed throughout the City/Town or recycled into new bins. When you receive your new bins, leave your old dark green bin out on the verge and it will be removed the next day. 

Once you have received your new bins you can start using them straight away. Your FOGO bin will be collected weekly on your usual collection day and your recycling and general waste bin will be collected on alternate fortnights

You will place two bins out for collection each week, either FOGO and Recycling or FOGO and General Waste. Your collection calendar will be part of the information pack inside your kitchen caddy.

What if I don’t want the bin? Can I opt out?

No. Once rolled out, the FOGO service will become the standard collection service for the majority of the City and we are encouraging all households to participate to the best of their ability.

Residents are welcome to contact the City and discuss any concerns or restrictions that might inhibit you from fully participating in the 3-bin system. 

I don’t have room to store a bin that I am not going to use

We encourage everyone to do their best to get behind the FOGO program and to recycle whatever food organics and garden organics that they can.  If you already compost you can use the FOGO for other organics such as bones, meat, seafood shells and dog poo.

The additional 140L bin being provided for General Waste is smaller than a typical 240L bin and for those households with genuine storage issues, the City can provide the option to downsize to a smaller 140L FOGO bin following an assessment.

Currently there is no option to downsize to a smaller 140L Recycling bin.

If your yard is too small to keep the new bin on your property you are welcome to call the Waste Management Team to discuss a solution.

When will I know if I am going to be included in the first roll-out?

You can check your eligibility for FOGO and your bin retrieval days via on our bin collection days page.

How are you going to determine which large complexes will be in the first roll out?

Multi-unit developments and developments with a commercial/residential mix will be exempt from the first round of FOGO, due to the high risk of recycling contamination in these areas.

Council will make a decision to review Multi-Dwelling Developments (MDD) and Multi-Use Developments (MUD) properties in the future to develop more efficient FOGO service offering.

People who believe that their properties can comply with the high level of non- contamination rates required for FOGO are welcome to contact the Waste Management Team and these properties will be reviewed after the rollout.

I live in a large complex when can I expect to be included in the next/future roll-out?

Multi-unit developments and developments with a commercial/residential mix will be exempt from the first round of FOGO, due to the high risk of recycling contamination in these areas.

Council will make a decision to review Multi-Dwelling Developments (MDD) and Multi-Use Developments (MUD) properties in the future to develop more efficient FOGO service offering.

If we don’t get included in the first roll-out is it business as usual with the current bins?

Yes.  Although your bin pick up days may change. Check on our bin collection days page.

What is this costing?

The City has received funding through the WA State Government’s Better Bins Program which has provided $30 per household to assist with the costs of providing the bins to residents.

The remaining funding toward the bins has been covered by your rates.

What is the difference between GO and FOGO?

Some councils have implemented a three-bin Garden Organics (GO) system.

  • In most cases, a Garden Organics (GO) system currently only offers residents a third bin for Garden Organics (GO), excluding valuable, nutrient rich food waste which is then sent to landfill
  • By collecting nutrient-rich food waste alongside garden waste in the new FOGO bin, we can generate a high-quality compost to use on farms, parks and gardens and avoid organic waste going to landfill which produces harmful methane gas.

How do I deal with odours from the FOGO bin?  

  • To reduce odours put your FOGO bin out for collection every week, even if it’s not full
  • Wrap and place any odourous food scraps such as seafood shells in the freezer until collection day
  • Keep your bins in the shade with the bin lids tightly closed
  • Layering cardboard, newspaper or green waste at the bottom of the FOGO bin can help to absorb liquids and prevent waste sticking to the inside of the bin. If you’re using cardboard, make sure you remove any plastic or sticky tape before placing it in the bin.
  • Where possible, allow lawn clippings and garden cuttings to dry out before going in the bin to avoid weight issues in the FOGO bin, and cut garden waste to size so the lid can be closed. There is a weight limit of 70kg on FOGO bins and overfull bins may not be collected.
  • Try sprinkling baking soda, kitty litter, vinegar, oil of cloves or lemon juice into the bin after it has been emptied
  • Clean your bin regularly with hot soapy water

My FOGO bin is too large

  • Even if you don’t have a lot of food or garden waste, residents are encouraged to use their FOGO bin to ensure we can recover as much organic waste as possible. If food and garden waste is sent to landfill, it generates harmful methane gas and contributes to higher processing costs through landfill fees.
  • All your food waste including leftovers, peelings, cooked and raw meat, bones, shells, bread, seafood and dairy products can go into your FOGO bin, along with paper products like tissues, napkins, shredded paper, soiled newspaper and soiled pizza boxes.

If you find there’s not much going in your FOGO bin each week, you may wish to speak to your neighbour to see if you can set up a sharing arrangement.

My FOGO bin is too small

  • If you find you don’t have enough space in your FOGO bin, contact the City’s Waste Management Team
  • In additional to the organics collection service provided through your FOGO bin, the City also provides Bulk Garden Organics pickups which are scheduled for twice per year.

What is the location of composting facility?

FOGO is currently delivered to the Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC) in Canning Vale and processed by the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC)

What is the process for composting FOGO?

The material is delivered to a commercial composting facility and undergoes a manual sorting process where any items that don’t belong in the FOGO bin are removed. The system is only set up to remove a very small amount of contamination. If the amount of items that shouldn’t be placed into the FOGO bins increases substantially, the quality of the compost can be compromised and won’t be able to meet Australian Standards.

What happens to the compost?

The compost is currently processed into Australian Standard AS4454 Unrestricted use compost which has a range of uses.

Is the compost available for residents?

Not currently.

What happens to the contamination in the compost?

Any items that should not be placed into the FOGO bins are removed by hand when possible.

However, the system is only set up to remove a very small amount of contamination. If the amount of items that shouldn’t be placed into the FOGO bins increases substantially, the quality of the compost can be compromised and won’t be able to meet Australian Standards.

Contaminated waste will end up in landfill.

What goes in the Kitchen Caddy?

All your food waste including leftovers, peelings, cooked and raw meat, bones, shells, bread, seafood, coffee grounds, tea bags and dairy products can go into your kitchen caddy, along with used napkins, tissues and paper towel.

How do I deal with odours in the Kitchen Caddy?

Empty the caddy when the compostable bag is about ¾ full so it can be tied off. Gently squeeze excess air out of the bag before tying it off and placing it in the FOGO bin.

If your household is not producing a lot of food waste, it is still recommended to empty the caddy every 2-3 days.

Wrap and place any odourous food scraps such as seafood shells in the freezer until collection day

Keep the lid of the caddy tightly closed when not in use and store out of direct sunlight.

How do I get more compostable liners?

The City will supply 150 liners and you can contact the City for a second lot.  Details of those requesting will go into a spreadsheet.

This will be reviewed after the first 6 months and more information will follow.

The bin liners supplied with your caddy are compostable and residents should not use their own plastic bags!

Biodegradable vs Compostable Liners?

Whilst many products are labelled as ‘Biodegradable’ it does not necessarily mean the products will break down completely during the composting process. Biodegradable products are often made of a mixture of plant based materials and plastic, which can end up breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces, potentially further contaminating the compost.

The supplied caddy liners are certified compostable and are made from plant products.  They are designed to completely break down in the same way as other organic material in a composting facility.

The liners supplied with your caddy are compostable and residents should not use their own plastic bags! Newspaper will also make a great alternative.

Other issues with compostable liners

When lining your kitchen caddy, place a layer of paper towel or newspaper inside the compostable liner to help absorb any liquid from the food scraps. Where possible, drain off any excess liquid from scraps before they go into the caddy. 

If your household is not producing a lot of food waste, it is still recommended to empty the caddy every 2-3 days.

Store your liners away from moisture, heat and direct sunlight

I don’t want the Caddy or the Kitchen Caddy is not visually appealing

You can use any other preferred alternative container to separate your food waste, consider repurposing the caddy or returning it to the City for distribution to another household.

If you don’t wish to use the compostable liners provided by the council, you can wrap your food in newspaper and place it into your FOGO bin

If you don’t wish to use any form of liner or wrapping for your food waste, you can place the items directly into your FOGO bin

Where can I download the Fremantle waste calendar?

Download the Fremantle waste calendar.