Food Organics Collection
As part of our commitment to environmentally sustainability, Adelaide City Council is taking part in a Food Organics Collection Trial.
Half of the contents of an average household rubbish bin is food waste or organic material. This trial aims to reduce the amount of food waste destined for landfill by providing residents with a small lined basket, known as a Bio Basket, to collect food waste in their kitchen. The contents of the basket can then be placed in with their Green Organics bin for collection so it can be processed into nutrient rich compost to enrich South Australian soils, reduce evaporation and conserve water.
City of Adelaide residents who receive the Green Organics Collection will be provided with a Bio Basket to take part in the trial.
In early December those residents will receive your Bio Basket which can be used immediately. A brochure which includes more information about the Bio Basket and the Food Organics Collection Trial will also be delivered.
View the Food Organics Collection brochure (PDF, 379Kb)
Food Organics FAQs
1. What is the trial?
The trial involves the collection of food organics (in your kitchen) in a small basket, known as a Bio Basket, lined with a compostable bag. The bags of food scraps are then put into your Green Organics bin for collection and composting with the garden organics.
2. Where is the trial taking place in the Adelaide City Council area?
The trial includes all residents within the City of Adelaide who currently have a Green Organics service.
3. When is the trial happening?
From week commencing 8 December 2008.
4. When will I get the basket and bags?
The bags and basket will be delivered to your home in early December.
5. How many homes are involved?
About 1250 homes will be involved in the trial.
6. Why are we doing this trial?
Approximately half of the contents of an average household rubbish bin destined for landfill are food waste or organic material. This trial aims to remove this material, collect and process it into nutrient rich compost that can enrich South Australian soils, reduce evaporation and conserve water. It will also help us achieve the State Government’s target of reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfill. As part of the trial, Zero Waste SA and Council will be able to gather useful information that will help refine the system and maximise the benefits.
7. What will happen if this trial is successful?
Council will consider the outcomes of the trial in consultation with Zero Waste SA, and if deemed successful will consider implementation on a permanent basis.
8. I don’t have a Green Organics bin. What do I do?
The trial will only involve households who have a Green Organics bin at the commencement of the trial.
9. Will my Green Organic bin collection dates change during the trial?
Your Green Organics collection day may change as the result of changes introduced with the New Recycling System, but the food organics collection trial itself will not cause any change. Check your calendar for your Green Organics Collection dates.
10. What will happen if I put the wrong thing into the Bio Basket?
Contamination of the collected organic material will interfere with the composting process and may result in the material not being able to be used. If you are unsure about an item, please refer to the sticker on top of your bin. Continued contamination will result in the non-collection of your kerbside Green Organics bin.
11. Does a Food Organics Collection Trial operate anywhere else?
Adelaide City Council is one of ten South Australian Councils participating in this Zero Waste SA supported trial. This combination of compostable bag and container is successfully used in several Councils in Victoria and New South Wales, and is also used in Europe. This trial will test how it may be adapted to our local community and conditions.
12. I don’t qualify with a Green Organics bin but I would like to participate. Can I have a
container and some bags?
Unfortunately the trial is only for Adelaide City Council residents with a Green Organics collection at the start of the trial. An existing Green Organics collection is a pre-requisite for collection of the food organics as the food and garden organics are then composted together.
13. I live in the trial area but don’t want to participate. Do I have to?
Baskets and compostable bags will be issued to all Adelaide City Council households with a Green Organics service. Part of the data collected will be to measure participation, so you should retain the basket and bags – you may change your mind and participate later.
12. Should I be putting my green bin out for collection each fortnight even if it is not yet full?
YES - If the bin contains any organic material it should be placed on the kerbside for collection. This is due to the fact that it will reduce the potential for odour from the resident’s bin and during the collection process. Also the fresher the material, the better it is for composting, as it contains more moisture.
13. Can I use the bag as a bin liner for waste instead of plastic bags?
Theoretically this type of bag could be used as a kitchen bin liner. However, the bags being used in the trial are too small to fit into a standard kitchen bin. Also, because it is a trial we only have a limited supply of the bags and it is preferred that the bags are only used to line the dedicated food waste containers provided by Council and Zero Waste.
14. How much is the trial costing and who is paying for it?
The trial is an initiative of Zero Waste SA with costs being shared by Zero Waste SA and all participating Councils.
15. What happens if I run out of the special compostable bags or my basket is damaged?
You receive 150 bags at the beginning of the trial, which should be enough to last for 12 months. However, if you do run low, please drop in to Council’s Customer Service Centre in Pirie Street to collect additional bags.
Plastic bags should never be used in your Bio Basket as they will contaminate the composting process.
Similarly if your basket is damaged, bring it in to Council’s Customer Service Centre in Pirie Street for repair or replacement.
16. What are the bags made of?
The bags are constructed of biodegradable material based on cornstarch, vegetable oil and compostable polyester. When commercially composted with other organic materials, they completely break down in approximately 30 days.
17. Where are the Bio Baskets and bags made?
Both the bags and baskets used in this trial are imported. However, if this trial becomes a permanent measure, it is hoped they can be produced in South Australia.
18. Can the bags be used for other purposes?
Cornstarch bags are made in a variety of different sizes for different purposes. However, for the purpose of this trial they are specifically for use in the food waste container.
19. Why do I have to use a bag? Can I just put food waste in the green bin?
The cornstarch bag is used because it ‘breathes’ and keeps food scraps fresher than if they were to be placed directly into your Green Organics bin. Placing food scraps into the bag also reduces the possibility of flies and vermin.
20. Can I use the compostable bags in my home compost bin?
Theoretically yes. However, it is strongly advised that organic material be EMPTIED from the bag when placed in backyard compost. Successful decomposition of the bags relies on a number of factors such as a large volume of compost, regular aeration and heat creation, which may not be effectively achieved in a home compost system. If these conditions are not present, it will result in a much slower decomposition rate of the bags.
21. What do you mean by garbage?
Our definition of garbage is any item or material that you wish to dispose of that is nonorganic or cannot go into your recycling bin.
22. What can and what can’t we put in the Bio Basket?
All food scraps and peels; meat scraps and bones; teabags and coffee grounds; egg shells; dairy products; hair; shredded paper and tissues; and paper towel CAN go into the Bio Basket.
The following items should NOT be placed in the container – plastic bags/any plastics; cans/metal; glass/ceramics; sharps; nappies; cigarette butts or ash; large amounts of soil; animal waste/kitty litter; vacuum dust and clothes dryer fluff; textile materials or personal hygiene products.
23. What about seafood scraps and fallen fruit from my fruit trees?
All meat scraps and bones, as well as any seafood scraps can be placed into your Bio Basket. Fallen fruit from your fruit trees should be placed directly into your Green Organics bin.
24. How often should I empty my container?
Your kitchen Bio Basket should be emptied every 2 to 3 days or as you feel necessary (being mindful of the limited supply of bags provided).
25. How does this composting process differ to what has been done in the past?
The composting process carried out for the trial purposes is based upon the existing primary processing and open windrow techniques, but is kept separate from other composting activities at our processor’s facilities. The material from our trial area is more intensively operated, examined and managed for the purposes of the trial. The activities also have specific approval from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA).
26. Where does this material go? What does it turn into?
All food and Green Organics collected during the trial will be sent to an approved site for processing into compost and mulch. The compost and mulch manufactured is certified to the Australian Standards AS4454 Composts, Soil Conditioners and Mulches. The compost will then sold to the public, landscaping supply yards, landscapers and agricultural growers for soil improvement, surface mulching, increased plant performance, water retention and aesthetical improvement.
27. Can I use other compostable/biodegradable bags?
No. The compostable bags that have been supplied to the participating residents have specifically been chosen as they conform to the relevant compostable liner guidelines. Other bags that claim to be degradable or compostable may not be suitable or may not meet the required guidelines.
28. What happens if the Green Organics bin begins to smell during summer?
It is unlikely that the addition of material from the kitchen food waste container will cause any additional odour in the Green Organics bin during the summer months. However, you may like to wash your bin in between collections or as you feel necessary.
29. Will the food waste attract flies and vermin?
Because food waste does not go off quickly using this system, it is very unlikely that it will attract any flies or vermin.
30. How will contamination be managed?
If contamination is evident before collection, the bin will not be collected and information will be left with the resident with details of the nature of contamination. A visual inspection will take place for subsequent loads.
(In the event that the Green Organics bin is contaminated again, a final notice will be placed, with subsequent loads being refused if they are contaminated.)