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A new chapter in Council’s circular economy journey
August 31, 2023

Wellington Shire Council has awarded a new 10 year contract to Cleanaway in Gippsland to collect general household waste and recycling, effective Monday 4 September 2023.

Operating from a local depot in Sale, Cleanaway will be Wellington residents’ first port of call for reporting missed, damaged or stolen bins.

The contract is the result of partnering with neighbouring Gippsland Councils to get the best possible value for residents’ waste and recycling charges, and aims to allow for the processing of recyclables in Gippsland in future.

In welcoming the contract, Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye said Cleanaway shared Council’s commitment to community engagement and environmental stewardship, and was perfectly positioned to join Council in supporting a circular economy.

“Together, we will aim to reduce the total amount of waste going to landfill by providing ongoing education across the community, focussed on increasing materials recovery and reducing overall waste generation,” Cr Bye said.

Over the next few years, Council will team up with Cleanaway to introduce important changes to its current waste service, including the separation of glass and a third bin for food and garden organics for all residential properties that currently receive a kerbside collection service.

While there is no immediate change to scheduled bin days, individual collection times may vary as Cleanaway determines the best routes to service Wellington Shire.  

If you have a missed, damaged or stolen bin, phone Cleanaway in Gippsland on (03) 5133 6872 or email  

Context: The Victorian Government has introduced the Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) Act 2021, which includes a new four-stream waste and recycling system to be introduced state-wide between now and 2030.

When Will I Get a Green Bin?

We understand - it’s been a slow-moving process. It’s been in the works for quite a few years, and we're aiming to roll out a FOGO bin (food organics and garden organics) as soon as possible, depending on processing capabilities within Gippsland. Frustratingly, it takes time to ensure local infrastructure for processing organics is in place. 

Wellington Shire Council has been part of a joint procurement process, working with Bass Coast Shire, Baw Baw Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Latrobe City and South Gippsland Shire Councils to secure contracts for the collection, transport, processing and recycling of kerbside waste. This ‘Gippswide Kerbside’ tender evaluation panel is still finalising contract details with the preferred tenderer for FOGO processing. It is possible infrastructure will still need to be built once the contract is finalised.

Currently, green waste is collected at our Transfer Stations and is processed by Council’s contractor, who turns it into mulch and dirt. Once food is added to the mix, it needs to be processed differently to be safely turned into compost and soil conditioner without becoming a bio hazard. This can involve the need for contractors to build specialised processing infrastructure, such as in-vessel composting silos.

At this stage, we’re expecting FOGO to be rolled out to residents in mid-2025. Everyone who currently gets a kerbside collection will get an organics bin, which will be collected weekly.

The state government has legislated all households have access to services for glass recycling by 2027, and to food organics and garden organics by 2030. According to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, currently only about 32 per cent of Australians have access to FOGO. The infrastructure needed to process triple the volume currently generated by Australians is simply not there yet, but we are hopeful the state government’s timeline will bring forward some innovation and investment in the FOGO space.

As for a glass bin, we are waiting to see the impacts the state government’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) has on the glass waste stream to determine what glass recycling will look like in Wellington Shire, in order to ensure the best value for residents. The CDS will come into play November 2023.

It is exciting to hear there’s such strong community support for FOGO and glass recycling. The waste and sustainability team are counting down the days!

Reese Mitchell from Waste Management Company, Cleanaway.

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