FOGO information for households

Find out what can and can't go in household FO and FOGO bins.

Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) is a kerbside collection service that allows food to be added to the green lid garden waste bin so it can be recycled into top quality compost.

Material that goes in FO or FOGO bins

Food only

  • Food
  • Compostable plastic kitchen caddy liners that comply with Australian Standard AS 4736-2006 (for commercial composting) used to collect and transfer food waste to the FO bin
  • Fibre-based kitchen caddy liners (eg paper or newspaper) used to collect and transfer food waste to the FO bin

Food and garden organics

  • Food 
  • Garden organics 
  • Compostable plastic kitchen caddy liners that comply with Australian Standard AS 4736-2006 (for commercial composting) used to collect and transfer food waste to the FOGO bin
  • Fibre-based kitchen caddy liners (e.g. paper or newspaper) used to collect and transfer food waste to the FOGO bin. 

Materials that do not go in FO or FOGO bins

Nothing else goes in FO or FOGO bins, including home-compostable products (Australian Standard AS 5810-2010).

  • Pet poo and poo bags

Studies show that pathogens including viruses and intestinal worm eggs, are not always killed at composting facilities. To protect human health, potential pathogen sources such as pet poo, pet litter and poo bags cannot be added to FOGO or FO bins. These should go in the red bin to be sent to landfill.

Agricultural manures can go into compost because commercial composting facilities know how to process these.

  • Fibre-based materials, such as bamboo, timber or cardboard packaging and cutlery, paper towels and serviettes

Fibre-based food contact materials including baking paper, coffee filters, paper towels, serviettes; fibre-based food containers such as coffee cups, pizza boxes, plates, bowls; paper bags; cardboard packaging; and other compostable plastic bags do not go in the FO or FOGO bin.

These products often contain additives to provide water and grease resistance in food packaging, and can include per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which may cause human and environmental harm. All Australian governments have agreed that further release of PFAS into the environment from ongoing use should be prevented where practicable National per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Position Statement

These products provide negligible or no nutrient value to compost.

These products should not go in FOGO or FO bins.

  • Compostable or biodegradable plastic products or bags

Emerging research shows that the impact of increasing compostable plastic content in compost (other than kitchen caddy liners that comply with Australian Standard AS 4736-2006) may impact its safe application to land.

Composts cannot be lawfully applied to land in NSW unless there is evidence that compostable plastics breakdown under normal operational conditions at commercial composting facilities to produce a high quality and safe compost.

A circular economy aims to keep materials in the productive economy and decrease the need for new materials. Compostable alternatives to single-use plastic items are not recyclable and are only used once before being composted or disposed of  so do not fit with a circular economy approach.

  • Vacuum cleaner dust, washing machine and dryer lint

Studies show that vacuum cleaner dust derived from furniture, textiles and electronic devices is a potential source of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) chemicals while lint from washing machines and dryers concentrates microplastics that shed from synthetic textiles. These wastes should go in the red bin to go to landfill.

Why compostable plastic kitchen caddy liners are allowed but not other compostable plastics

Research has shown that compostable products provide negligible or no nutrient value to compost.

Compostable plastic kitchen caddy liners represent only a small amount of manufactured compostables and help divert food waste from landfill by enabling easier and cleaner food waste collections for households and businesses. 

Compostable plastic kitchen caddy liners that comply

Australian industry-certified compostable kitchen caddy liners that comply with Australian Standard 4736:2006 (for commercial facilities) means they can fully break down when appropriately processed at a commercial composting facility. The Australian standard differs slightly to overseas standards, for example, by requiring worm and plant toxicity tests. 

Home-compostable plastic kitchen caddy liners should not be used for FOGO/FO bins.

Managing source separated waste at festivals that only use compostable foodware

From 1 November 2022, single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and bowls (without lids) will be banned in NSW. The ban applies even if these items are made from biodegradable, compostable, or bio-plastics. This includes those made from Australian certified compostable plastic that complies with Australian Standard 4736:2006.

Further items, including plastic bowls (with lids) and cups are scheduled for review in 2024 to determine whether a phase out is appropriate at that time.

Consider reducing the use of these items ahead of time, and whether they need to be supplied at all. Reusable alternatives may be appropriate at festivals. If you still need disposable alternatives, check these resources.

In NSW, the The Compost Order 2016 specifies the maximum levels of plastics and other physical contaminants allowed in compost being applied to land. It does not allow compostable (or conventional) plastics or fibre-based packaging materials to be accepted by composting facilities.