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Keep organic waste out of landfill

Did you know that a third of your household waste is organic waste, usually from discarded food?

Keeping organic waste separate from household waste helps to reduce landfill. Food waste can be converted into high-grade organic compost, ensuring that valuable resource isn’t lost.

Organic waste can cause serious problems when it enters landfill. Find out more about our organic waste collection in Melbourne and how you can do your part for our environment.

Why keep organic waste separate from household rubbish?

According to Sustainability Victoria, the average Victorian household throws away around $2,200 worth of food each year. This adds up to 250,000 tonnes of food discarded each year across the state — it’s a significant amount!

When food waste or organic waste enters the landfill, it emits greenhouse gases, including methane, as it decomposes. These harmful gases harm the environment as well as human health.

Aerobically composted organic waste is kept out of landfill and creates less harmful gases that form a natural part of the biogenic cycle. Farmers and gardeners can then use this compost to grow fresh produce.

Reducing the amount of organic waste in household rubbish also helps more general waste items such as paper and cardboard to be sorted for recycling, further reducing the total volume of landfill.

What can go into organic waste?

Most types of food rubbish can go into organic waste, including:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Rice and pasta
  • Bread and cake
  • Coffee grounds
  • Flowers
  • Eggshells and eggs
  • Plate scrapings, including meat, fish, and leftovers

Small amounts of meat and fish from plate scrapings can go into organic waste, but large portions need to go into household rubbish.

What can’t go into organic waste?

Items that are not quickly biodegradable cannot go into organic waste. These include:

  • Plastics, including glad wrap and cutlery
  • Aluminium foil
  • Straws
  • Glass
  • Food handling gloves
  • Cooking oil
  • Metal
  • Chux cloths
  • Paper towel and serviettes
  • Teabags

Organic waste mustn’t be contaminated at all. If you aren’t sure if an item is organic waste, put it into your household rubbish.

Contamination of organic waste is a safety risk to the people handling waste, damage machinery and reduce the quality of the final compost product. When you take the time to ensure organic waste is not contaminated, it helps our team to process and recycle more effectively!

You can find more information about what can and cannot go into organic waste

How do I stop organic waste from smelling bad?

As organic waste begins to decompose, it may emit a bad smell, especially in summer. Don’t let this prevent you from recycling organic waste!

Here are some tips to prevent an unpleasant odour:

  • Close the lid of the bin — it might seem obvious, but it will help
  • Ensure organic waste is collected regularly
  • Keep it out of direct sunlight
  • Allow coffee grinds to cool before adding them to organic waste
  • Sprinkle organic waste with baking soda
  • Put any fish or meat scraps in the freezer until collection day
  • Plan your meals to reduce the volume of organic waste
  • Use leftovers for lunch the next day

After each collection day, rinse the bin with the hose and allow it to dry before refilling it with fresh waste. Eucalyptus or vinegar around the bin opening can help to repel flies and other insects from organic waste.

Does the council collect organic waste?

Not all councils in Victoria will collect organic waste for free, and the collections can be infrequent. If your council collection isn’t frequent enough, you can have organic waste collected by WM Waste Management.

Can you collect organic waste from businesses?

No, WM Waste Management does not collect organic waste.

What happens to organic waste after collection?

A truck collects organic waste for transport to a waste processing facility. Here it is spread out for sorting to remove any contamination.

After sorting, uncontaminated organic waste is feed into a composter and heated to 60 degrees Celsius to kill any dangerous bacteria and other organisms. After three days, it’s removed and re-sorted on conveyor belts to catch any contaminants such as metal or plastic not removed during the first sorting.

Next, organic waste is spread in the warm and humid environment of large aeration sheds for 42 days. A final sort checks for contamination before processing into rich compost with additional nutritive additives.

The final product fertilises commercial gardens, farms and public gardens. Compost is a valuable organic resource that provides the nutrition that grows flowers, fruit and vegetables in Victoria.

Using compost in gardening, landscaping and horticulture has many benefits. Compost helps restore the health and fertility of the soil and reduces the amount of synthetic fertiliser used. It also helps to reduce the amount of watering needed to grow plants.

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