Audit reveals a waste of organics

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
An audit at the Wellington Regional Organics Processing Facility shows some contamination.
Camera IconAn audit at the Wellington Regional Organics Processing Facility shows some contamination. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

The South West’s organics processing facility in Dardanup is taking in more than 421,000kg of contaminated waste per year that cannot be composted, an audit has shown.

Bunbury Harvey Regional Council conducted an audit of seven tonnes of organic waste at the Wellington Regional Organics Processing Facility.

The waste is from Food Organics and Garden Organics bins across seven local governments.

The audit revealed contamination levels were sitting at an average of 2.22 per cent, which was described as “quite good” but the big volumes of waste received at the compost facility means 421,800kg of non-compostable waste is being taken in every year.

The figures mean the 44,818 households that have a FOGO bin are throwing out an average of 9.41kg of contamination a year each.

Council chief executive Tony Battersby said the audit highlighted waste behaviour such as food still in plastic wrapping, clothing, plastic containers and recyclable beverage containers being placed in the FOGO bins.

“While the contamination rate is good it is important to take that extra bit of time to ensure there is no plastic or non-organic items in your FOGO bin,” Mr Battersby said.

“The end product compost produced from the contents of household FOGO bins is currently certified organic to Australian Standard ... so it is really important that only organic compostable items are placed into your lime green FOGO bin to be composted.”

The audit results come as the compost facility is set to receive about 19,000 tonnes of waste from FOGO bins over the next 12 months – up 8000 tonnes more than the previous year.

The additional waste is coming from the roll-out of a FOGO system in the shires of Harvey and Augusta Margaret River, along with a trial of 500 households in Busselton.

The other local governments sending waste to the facility include Bunbury, Capel, Collie and Donnybrook-Balingup.

Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said the city continued its focus on proper waste management and it was important residents updated themselves on the guidelines of what was compostable.

“Bunbury’s waste diversion from landfill is about 62-63 per cent, which is pretty good,” he said.

“We’re well ahead of the game, we’re probably leading the State in terms of diversion of waste from landfill and we just keep at it.”

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