Food Organics Recycling Trial

Published on 08 February 2023

Image of a person scrapping food waste into a kitchen caddy

During March and June 2022, Council conducted a Food Organics trial in a number of medium density unit blocks (952 apartments) covering four different areas which were selected to provide a diverse range of demographics. The trial was conducted in conjunction with the Northern Sydney Alliance Councils after securing funding from the State Government. During the same time, Council also conducted a Food Organics/Garden Organics Trial with 230 houses in the Chatswood West and North Ryde area.

Each resident received a kitchen caddy and compostable bags to collect their food scraps, with the bags being disposed of in a food only bin in the units and in the garden organics bin in the houses. The bins were emptied weekly for both trials.

Data was collected during the trial which captured the amount of food diverted from the red-lidded waste bin along with the levels of contamination. At the end of the trial, participating residents were asked to complete a survey to provide feedback on their experience of the trial and any comments for improvement.

The main outcomes of the trial showed a low participation rate of residents in the units which could have been attributed to limited space within the kitchen for the caddy, odour from the organic material in the caddies, the compostable caddy liners breaking, the burgundy colour of the food bin being similar to the waste bin, language barriers, lack of food organics or lack of interest.  Participating houses which utilised their garden organics bin was much higher, however the odour of the organic material in the kitchen caddies, the breaking of the compostable caddy liners and a lack of interest was still prevalent.

The combined results of the trial provided valuable information for Council to utilise when writing new collection and disposal contracts and future implementation. Further studies will be undertaken which will consider the viability and full costs of implementing the varying options that will reduce food organics from landfill.

View the detailed report of the findings at the below link:

Food Organics Recycling Trial Report