Have your say on tackling food waste and the waste levy

The NSW Government is taking significant steps to reduce waste ending up in landfill and boost recycling efforts, with two discussion papers opening today for feedback.

The draft Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) Mandates and the Waste Levy Review are part of a broader commitments to increase recycling, reduce the waste NSW produces, and minimise the amount of organic waste going to landfill.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Chief Executive Officer Tony Chappel said the proposed FOGO Mandates will help divert up to a million tonnes of food and garden waste from households and half a million tonnes from businesses.

“Every tonne of organic waste diverted from landfill saves 1.5 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted and can be processed into high-quality commercial compost to enrich soils in parks, sporting fields, and agriculture,” Mr Chappel said.

“Under the draft proposal, organics waste collection services will be provided for all households from July 2030, and for some businesses and institutions from July 2025.

“These changes will ensure large supermarkets, pubs, cafes, universities, and hospitals have a FOGO bin and collection services to recycle food waste instead of sending it to landfill.”

The mandates also propose to require large supermarkets to report on the amounts of surplus food being donated to charities like OzHarvest, Second Bite and Foodbank.

The public is being consulted on:

  • What parts of the state the mandates should apply to.
  • If the frequency of food waste collections should be mandated.
  • If there should be some exemptions to where the mandates apply.
  • If there are other aspects of the draft FOGO proposal that need to be considered.

The community is also being asked to have its say on how to further cut back on waste and enhance recycling incentives, as part of a review into the waste levy.

Mr Chappel said an issues paper has been released today following extensive consultation with councils, the waste and resource recovery industry, and other government agencies, to better understand the challenges and opportunities to increase recycling and resource recovery across the state.

“The review is seeking feedback on how the waste levy is currently operating to make sure the right balance is struck between the cost of getting rid of waste and the environmental impacts, with the cost of living,” Mr Chappel said.

“While the levy has been instrumental in driving recycling and managing waste to date, it needs to be fit for purpose, and you can help shape the future of recycling by sharing your perspective.”

The paper is the first stage of the review and focuses on three issues:

  • Enhancing recycling incentives – exploring adjustments to levy rates and levy area boundaries to reinvigorate recycling while minimising cost-of-living impacts.
  • Creating a level playing field – opportunities to improve the waste levy and its administration to make it easier for waste operators who safely manage waste and do the right thing while reducing opportunities and incentives to do the wrong thing.
  • Amplifying circular economy outcomes – ensuring the right infrastructure, technology, and policies are in place for the levy to have the greatest effect on resource recovery.

The draft Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) Mandates and the Waste Levy Review are open for public consultation for six weeks until 15 July 2024.

To find out more information and to participate in the consultations visit: https://yoursay.epa.nsw.gov.au/