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What Governments in Australia Are Doing to Support Composting

Team Compost Connect, 30 November 2023
What Governments in Australia Are Doing to Support Composting

What Governments in Australia Are Doing to Support Composting

There are so many reasons to love composting. It’s turning what would otherwise be waste into a nutrient-rich, plant-loving resource.

By composting (both at home and on an industrial scale) we can promote healthy soil and plants, conserve water, prevent soil erosion, and reduce carbon emissions associated with sending organic waste to landfills.

Excitingly, the Federal Government recognises the value of composting, too. They’ve set a National Waste Strategy to halve food waste by 2030, as well as have FOGO (Food Organics and Garden Organics) collection available to Metropolitan households and businesses by 2030.

While this all sounds promising in theory (and it’s a great starting point), it’s important to recognise that this strategy is only guidance, not a mandate. So we’re seeing states, territories and local governments develop their own approach to organics collection programs.

Let’s take a closer look at the composting strategies – state by state – to see how each government is responding to the National Waste Strategy target.

State Strategies For Composting

New South Wales

New South Wales is mandating Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection for all NSW households and select businesses by 2030.

Between 2013 and 2021, NSW launched Waste Less, Recycle More, an initiative funding waste reduction projects to reduce overall waste. The initiative includes an Organics Infrastructure Grant Program to make it easier for households and businesses to do the right thing with their organic waste. The program provided $57 million over 9 years to fund FOGO infrastructure and equipment for the public sector, businesses, community groups, NFP and NGOs.

The current challenge with NSW FOGO collection: In July 2022, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) released a Position Statement on acceptable inputs for FOGO bins, and unfortunately, compostable packaging did not fall into these acceptable inputs due to concerns over PFAS contamination. Some sustainable packaging companies are moving quickly to completely phase out PFAS.

South Australia

South Australia has implemented a Food Waste Strategy 2020-2025 which will see a three-bin system adopted across all metro councils, making sure all residents in Adelaide will have access to an organics collection system by 2025.

The City of Adelaide provides a shining example of widespread composting initiatives and environmental change. For example, Rundle Mall was the first retail precinct to trial a new multi-bin system, in collaboration with Green Industries SA and the City Council of Adelaide.


Victoria’s circular economy plan states that all Victorian households will get access to four core waste and recycling services:

  • Combined food and garden organics (FOGO)
  • Glass
  • Combined paper, plastic and metals
  • Residual waste

The transition to this system has already begun, with a mandatory rollout of FOGO bins by 2026 – 2027, with the aim for all Victorians to have access to a bin or local composting by 2030.

What’s more, in 2021 the Circular Economy Organics Sector Transformation Fund granted a total of $10.2 million to organic processing businesses to develop new or enhance existing organic processing infrastructure to improve product quality or increase capacity.

Western Australia

WA’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Strategy aims to increase material recovery to 75% by 2025. From this target, all local governments in the Perth and Peel regions will have a consistent three-bin kerbside collection system, including the separation of FOGO from other waste categories. The State Government will help fund FOGO services to make it a cost-competitive option for local governments.


Tasmania is one step ahead. In November 2019, all green waste bins in Hobart City switched to FOGO bins, which means all residents and businesses have access to FOGO collection services.

For the rest of the state, Tasmania developed a Draft Tasmanian Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy, with the final strategy yet to be released.

In 2021, Tasmania published a Waste Initiatives Progress Report which saw the 2012 – 22 state budget allocate $4.5 million to improve organic waste (including FOGO) reprocessing capacity across Tasmania.


From August 2021 to September 2022, over 3000 households across Townsville, Rockhampton and Lockyer Valley participated in a FOGO kerbside collection trial. The trials diverted hundreds of tonnes of organic waste from landfills – with these results now being used as evidence to support wider implementation of FOGO collection throughout Queensland.

In 2023, the Palaszczuk Government announced it would invest $151 million to help Queensland households better dispose of organic waste. The new FOGO service will be titled GROW, with an estimated delivery of over one million organic bins.


Looking to the ACT, a Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection pilot started in November 2021 in the districts of Belconnen, Bruce, Cook and Macquarie. From here, a FOGO Feasibility Summary states that this pilot will continue until the FOGO service is available in all Canberra households.

What’s more, according to the ACT Circular Economy Strategy and Action Plan there are plans to build a large-scale FOGO processing facility in Canberra.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory has released a Circular Economy Strategy 2022 – 2027 which aims to reduce, reuse and recycle waste into a valuable resource. However, the strategy has not provided specific details on the use of FOGO collection services to tackle the waste problem.

The city of Darwin has a Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy. Over the next 10 years, the strategy aims to reduce kerbside waste going to landfills by 50% and establish a composting facility for processing food, garden organics and timber.

Examples of Local Government Composting Initiatives

For composting to become widespread on a national scale, we need government action at every level. Several local councils across Australia have taken matters into their own hands and begun or partnered with local composting initiatives.

Compost Revolution

A number of councils across Australia have partnered with Compost Revolution – a multi-award-winning program that educates and provides equipment to residents who want to reduce their organic waste through home composting and worm farming. Councils that partner with Compost Revolution may receive subsidies on worm farms, bokashi bins and compost bins. Learn more about participating councils here.

Adelaide City Council – Rundle Mall

In collaboration with Green Industries SA and the City Council of Adelaide, Rundle Mall in Adelaide’s CBD trialled a new multi-bin system, with separate bins for food waste and compostable packaging, cans and bottles and general waste.

Since launching the 12-month program, it’s helped replace over 20,000 single-use plastics with compostable products (source), as many vendors were encouraged to switch to certified compostable packaging options.

Free Composting Workshops

Interested in starting your own home compost bin? Great! There are a number of councils that provide free composting workshops. Check with your local council to see if this is something they offer.

Challenges With Composting Across Australia

Right now, there’s currently no national mandate to implement Food and Organic Waste Collection (FOGO) across Australia.

As you can see, many states and local governments are championing the composting movement, however, it’s clear we need to move at a faster pace. Only 25% of Australian councils offer a FOGO collection.

Together, we can make a difference, tackle these challenges, and encourage widespread change.

Here are a few things you can do.

  • Encourage your local council to implement firmer targets and stronger regulations. Sign our petition or write a letter to your MP.
  • If you’re an individual, support businesses with a composting facility in place – check out our map.
  • If you’re a business, check if a compost pick up service is available in your area.
  • Share this page with everyone you know so they can learn more about what their government is doing to start composting

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