Federal government to build composting facility in Canberra

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Federal government to build composting facility in Canberra

The federal government has announced $13 million in funding for a new large-scale composting facility in Canberra.

The facility will be built in Hume and will process food and garden waste collected from household green bins across the city.

Chris Steel, the city services minister, said the new facility was an essential part of the FOGO rollout in the ACT.

He said that it will turn around 50,000 tonnes of food and organic waste into valuable compost for use in the agriculture and viticulture of our region, and gardens.

Around 5,000 households in Belconnen, Bruce, Cook and Macquarie are currently trialling a FOGO collection system.

Steel said that service would be expanded to include all ACT households once the new facility was up and running.

He said that this is going to be a fantastic story.

This is Canberrans food waste that is going to be turned into compost so that we can return those nutrients that are otherwise going to landfill to the soil to improve our soil and grow our food again.

It will be a circular process. A $23 million recycling facility will also be built in Hume, according to Steel.

He said that we were partnering with the federal government to upgrade the existing facility to process our plastic, aluminium, paper and cardboard products, as well as glass.

We've come to the conclusion that it would be better to build a new state-of-the-art materials recovery facility next to the existing site, as we've progressed through the design process. He said the government would now go through a procurement process and he hoped both facilities would be operational within 18 months, though he noted the unpredictability of the current construction market.

Zero Waste Evolution Chair Mia Swainson welcomed the funding injection and said a simple, targeted education program would be essential ahead of the FOGO facility coming online.

She said that the key is to bring Canberrans on the journey, making sure that people know what can go into the processing and what can't.

There's going to be different food and garden waste from around the house that can go in and some that can't, depending on the technology.

It's important to keep that contamination level down low, because it will be a key to success. Ms Swainson said that success would require a new way of thinking about waste for many Canberrans.

She said that the trend is for all of the organic waste to be recycled and reprocessed.