Managing food waste

Nillumbik was one of the first Victorian councils to accept food waste in the green waste bin. Since 2003, tonnes of garden and food waste in Nillumbik have been taken to a commercial composting facility and turned into compost for use on farms, vineyards and community gardens across Victoria.

Keeping food waste out of the landfill bin is a simple step we can take to reduce carbon emissions. When food breaks down in landfill it releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. 

Place food waste in the green waste bin and save it from landfill, to create compost instead. 

Free kitchen caddy

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To help Nillumbik residents easily separate their food waste, Council is providing free kitchen caddies. These small bins can sit on your kitchen bench top ready to collect food scraps in the kitchen.   

Kitchen caddies can picked up from locations across the Shire. 

Pre-order your caddy 

Fill out the order form to collect your caddy from one of our four locations. 

  • Edendale Community Environment Farm, 50 Gastons Road, Eltham Mon to Fri 10am-4pm Sat and Sun 10am-3pm
  • Hurstbridge Community Hub, 50 Graysharps Road, Hurstbridge Mon to Fri 9am-3pm
  • Panton Hill Living & Learning, 18 Bishops Rd, Panton Hill Mon to Thu 9am-3pm

Order your caddy

The caddy is a one-off complimentary item for Nillumbik households and will be available for a limited time only.

Tips to manage your food waste

  • Use a kitchen caddy or other container to collect your food scraps.
  • Clean and rinse your green waste bin and kitchen caddy regularly.
  • Use paper towel or newspaper to line your caddy or to wrap loose food scraps.
  • Place some garden waste (leaves, grass clippings or weeds) at the bottom of your green bin.
  • Layer food waste with garden waste.
  • Allow hot food to cool down before placing in your green waste bin.
  • Store foods such as seafood or meat in the freezer or fridge until bin night.
  • Sprinkle bi-carb (baking soda) in your kitchen caddy to absorb any potential odours.
  • Keep your green waste bin in shade.
  • Put your green waste bin out for collection each week, even if it isn’t full.

Where does your green waste go

Council's green waste is taken to Veolia compost facility and recycled to use on farms and gardens across Victoria. This video shows how your green waste is composted.

 

Why did Nillumbik introduce food waste in the green waste bin?

  • Nillumbik was one of the first councils to include food waste in the green waste bin. Since 2003, tonnes of garden and food waste have been taken to a commercial composting facility and turned into compost for use on farms, vineyards and community gardens across Victoria.  
  • Before 2003, bin audits showed that almost half of the landfill bin contents was food waste needlessly ending up in landfill. When food breaks down in landfill it releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.   
  • Saving food waste from landfill and turning it into compost instead is a much better outcome for the environment.  
  • All Victorian councils are required to provide a food waste recycling service by 2030 as outlined in the State Government's Recycling Victoria Policy.  

 

 

What happens to the contents of my green bin?

The contents of Nillumbik’s green waste bin are taken to Veolia compost facility in Bulla. The material is processed in large in-vessel composters where the temperature and humidity are carefully monitored to create the ideal composting environment to meet the Australian composting standards. The process takes about 10-14 days, then the material is taken to mature in mounds outside and sold to farms across Victoria. You can view the process here

 

 

What can go in my green waste bin?

  • Fruits and vegetables  
  • Bread, cereal, rice, pasta and noodles 
  • Meal scraps  
  • Meat and fish scraps including bones 
  • Dairy and egg shells 
  • Coffee grounds and tea leaves 
  • Leaves and twigs 
  • Garden prunings, grass and weeds 
  • Cold ash 

Food waste may be loose or wrapped in newspaper or paper towel.

No plastic, compostable or biodegradable bags of any kind. 

 

What cannot go in my green waste bin?

  • Bin liners, including compostable or biodegradable ones 
  • Nappies or sanitary pads 
  • Animal faeces 
  • Teabags (paper/silk/biodegradable) and coffee pods, but you can empty their contents into the green waste bin 
  • Stickers, elastic bands
  • Food packaging, including compostable or biodegradable 
  • Plastics and glass
  • Textiles including wool and cotton

Tea bag tags and fruit stickers contain plastic that does not break down in the composting process.  

 

What about compostable bags and packaging?

Nillumbik’s green waste is taken to Veolia compost facility. Any item marked degradable or biodegradable including compostable plastic bags are not accepted at the facility, as they reduce the quality of the compost created. 

The composting process takes 10-14 days in large in-vessel composters where the temperature and humidity are carefully monitored to create an ideal composting environment. The material is taken to mature in mounds outside and then sold to farms. As the process happens over a short time-frame, compostable plastics do not completely break down and end up in small pieces throughout the compost, reducing the quality of the product. Farmers do not want plastic pieces (or what looks like plastic pieces) on their crops. 

Veolia services most councils in the north-west region of Melbourne, so we are not alone in being not able to accept compostable bin liners. There are some composting facilities in Victoria that do accept compostable bags or bin liners. These facilities recently opened to service councils in other areas across Victoria. 

 

Can I put paper in my green waste bin?

The compost facility at Veolia accepts food waste and paper towel or newspaper to wrap loose food scraps in. The facility can manage small amounts of paper towel and newspaper for the purpose of helping households manage their food waste. 

Larger quantities of paper towel or newspaper in the green waste bin would affect the quality of the compost they create and there are also concerns about the different types of paper towel on the market that could end up in the compost. 

 

Why is the landfill bin collected fortnightly?

When food is removed from the landfill bin and collected weekly in the green waste bin there is no longer a need for a weekly landfill collection.  

Removing food waste from your landfill bin is one of the easiest changes we can make to start reducing our waste and reduce the impacts of climate change.  

The cost of disposing waste to landfill is continually increasing, so it is important to correctly sort our waste. Our waste audits show about a third of the landfill bin is food waste (by weight).  

Food waste recycling is a state-wide initiative (State Government's Recycling Victoria Policy), with all Victorian Councils required to introduce a service by 2030.This will include changing the frequency of landfill bin collections to fortnightly to achieve state-wide landfill diversion rates.  

 

My bins are still full. What can I do?

We understand the fortnightly collection of the landfill bin can be difficult for some households, particularly larger families or families with young children in nappies. Households can order an extra landfill bin, upsize to a 140L bin or have a weekly collection for the time needed. These options attract a charge due to the landfill disposal costs. See Bin options  

 

 

Can weeds go in the green waste bin?

Noxious weeds can go in the green waste bin. Nillumbik’s kerbside green waste is taken to Veolia compost facility where it is composted in large containers at high temperatures (up to 60 degrees Celsius) for approximately two weeks. This process kills any weeds, seeds, harmful bacteria and other pathogens. 

Watch this video to view the process.