Food and garden organics

Council started a weekly kerbside collection of food and garden organics for township residents in April 2024. The organics bins are collected from households in Creswick, Trentham, Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs.

Food scraps and garden cuttings are transported to Creswick Transfer Station where it is transformed into compost to improve local gardens, soil and farmland.

With the introduction of weekly organics collection for townships, red-lidded landfill (general rubbish) bins have moved to fortnightly collection, with no changes to the fortnightly yellow-lidded recycling collection.  

Here are some tips on getting the most out of the food and garden organics service. Click on the 'Videos' tab below to see more videos.

Our bin audits in 2023 showed that around half of the contents of red-lidded landfill bins are made up of items that can go into the lime green-lidded food and garden organics bin. This includes food scraps and leftovers, meat, bones, dairy products, garden clippings, leaves and non-noxious weeds. The audits also show a further 12 percent of the contents of red-lidded bins are items that could be recycled in the yellow-lidded recycling bins. By separating items carefully, it may be possible to reduce the volume of waste going to landfill by around 60 percent.

We will continue to work with the community to educate and share information about the food and garden organics bin and ways to reduce household rubbish. Keep in touch with the latest updates from Council via Facebook, sign up to our e-newsletter Hepburn Life or look out for updates in local news publications.

What can go in a food and garden organics bin?

What goes into FOGO

Yes - Fruit and vegetable scraps (including citrus, onions and garlic), meat, bones, seafood, egg shells, dairy, leftovers and out-of-date food, leaves, garden prunings and grass, plants, twigs, grass, non-noxious weeds, coffee grounds and loose leaf tea.

No - Plastic or compostable or biodegradable bags, coffee pods, tea bags, compostable or biodegradable items (such as plates and cutlery), cooking oils, kitty litter, animal droppings, tree stumps, noxious weeds and large branches.

Read our flyer(PDF, 2MB) with more information for households or the bin collection calendar(PDF, 5MB).



Frequently asked questions

Who receives a weekly food and garden organics collection?

Township residents (Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford, Hepburn, Hepburn Springs, Trentham) receive a weekly 120L lime green-lidded food and garden organics kerbside collection as part of their collection service which also includes a 120L fortnightly, red-lidded landfill/general rubbish collection and a 240L fortnightly, yellow-lidded mixed recycling collection.

The organics service started in April 2024.

What is the current collection schedule for townships?

  • Lime green-lidded food and garden organics bin – collected weekly (new service 2024)
  • Red-lidded general waste (landfill) bins – collected fortnightly
  • Yellow-lidded recycling bins – collected fortnightly

Why can't I use bags in the caddy or bin?

Our is a bagless system. Even compostable or biodegradable bags can't be used. You can place food scraps and garden cuttings straight into your caddy and lime green-lidded bin.

We don’t use bags for a few reasons:
❌ Bags can hide contaminants (i.e. things that aren’t food or garden waste)
❌ Bags don’t break down quickly enough – even compostable and biodegradable bags don’t break down fast enough
❌ Bags are really hard to remove from the piles of organic matter – they have to be removed by hand!
❌ It’s best practice to keep bags out of composting systems.


I don't have a lime green-lidded bin or kitchen caddy, what should I do?

Deliveries for the food and garden organics bin have been completed.  If your property does not have a bin (or kitchen caddy) please report it online at - this will allow you to track progress of your request. You can also call our friendly customer service team on (03) 5348 2306 to organise bins.

You may like to use a container to collect kitchen scraps (ice cream container, bowl etc.). 

What can go in the food and garden organics bin?

Anything that grows belongs in the lime green-lidded bin. This includes all food waste (including meat, fish, bones, fruit, vegetables, leftovers, scraps, bread and more) and all garden organics (e.g. grass clippings, weeds, rose cuttings and more). Material placed in this bin is collected and taken to Creswick Transfer Station compost facility where it is turned into compost. 

Bin audits show that more than half (53%) of the contents of red-lidded general waste landfill bin in 2023 were made up of items that can go into the food and garden organics bin. 

What can I do if fortnightly rubbish collection isn't enough for my household?

When waste is sorted into the correct bins, most households (but not all) will not have an issue with excess waste. For example, on average, more than 50% of the content in landfill bins could go in the organics bin and around 13% could be recycled. We understand that every home is different, and this may not be the cast for you. Excess rubbish can be taken to our transfer stations for a fee if you occasionally have more rubbish. Households can also apply for extra landfill/general rubbish bins if they require them - for a fee. 

Visit our Waste requests page to request a new or additional bin.


Can I get another rubbish or organics bin?

Yes. You can order another rubbish bin at any time. Fees apply.

Visit our Waste requests page to request a new or additional bin.

How much does the organics bin cost?

The organics collection was funded through our Waste Reserve Fund for the 2023-2024 financial year. This means there was no direct cost to ratepayers for this service until 1 July 2024.

The cost of the weekly food and garden organics service for the 2024/2025 financial year is $190 per service.

However, sending less waste to landfill will mean reduced landfill fees and transport costs. The cost of the fortnightly landfill/general rubbish collection is $120 (the weekly service the year prior was $209).

Can I opt out of the collection?

If you currently have a residential township collection you can’t opt out. Providing a food and garden organics service is mandated by the Victorian Government by 2030. Around two-thirds of councils in Victoria already offer organics collection services. Victoria is transitioning to a state-wide approach to managing waste and recycling in accordance with new legislation and this is viewed as an essential service.

As a small rural council, it isn’t feasible to allow some households to opt out. This would lead to greater costs for other ratepayers and for Council to subsidise your service removal through a redistribution of costs. We want to divert all food and garden organics from landfill. For these reasons we don’t allow an opt out of the food and organics and other kerbside services.

Why did Council introduce this collection?

The roll-out of kerbside food and garden organics was an action in our Sustainable Hepburn Strategy, which was co-designed with 400 people in our community. In developing the strategy (and the 2023 waste survey) a strong message from the community was that this service was desired.

This service will reduce waste to landfill. More than half of the material currently placed in the red-lidded general waste landfill bin is food waste that would be suitable for the lime green-lidded bin. A weekly service will divert this valuable resource from landfill. Reducing waste to landfill will in turn help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimise future waste costs associated with using landfill. 

Additionally, bin audits have shown that on average, 12% of the content of a red-lidded bin should be placed in the yellow-lidded recycling bin.   

The state government requires all Victorian Councils to introduce a food and garden organics service by 2030. 

Many local governments have already introduced this, including Macedon Ranges Shire, City of Greater Bendigo, Melton City Council, Central Goldfields, Campaspe and Southern Grampians and more. As of May 2023, 234 of Australia’s 537 councils offered this service. 

Why did general rubbish collection changing to fortnightly?

Many councils also have opted for a weekly organics and fortnightly general rubbish collection, such as neighbouring Macedon Ranges Shire and City of Bendigo, with City of Ballarat advising they will soon shift to this system. Introducing an organics service and maintaining a weekly landfill collection would lead to prohibitive costs for ratepayers and for Council. Most households will manage by separating waste carefully into the correct bins.

I live in Clunes and was part of the trial. Why did things change?

Clunes residents participated in a separate food and garden organics collection trial since March 2021 which looked at how much organics was collected, contamination and how we could effectively process organics locally.

This trial led to the successful introduction of a system for townships to have a weekly collection which is processed locally at the Creswick Transfer Station in in-vessel compost units. 

The main change for Clunes residents after the trial was that the red-lidded landfill bins changed to fortnightly collection once the food and garden organics collection was introduced Shire-wide in April 2024.

Will rural properties get a food and garden organics bin?

Properties outside of the weekly township collection areas were not included in the initial township roll out in April 2024. However, they will be able to drop off food organics at transfer stations - up to 120L of food organics (without bags) will be able to be dropped off for a small charge (see Transfer Station 2024-2025 fees). Council will review the rural service this financial year to determine future services. 

What happens to the food and garden waste collected?

Organic material collected through the kerbside food and garden organics bin is taken to Creswick Transfer Station and placed into in-vessel composting units. The in-vessel compost units use an aerobic process which generates some carbon dioxide. If organic material goes to landfill it breaks down anaerobically, which produces methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Organic material is processed in these units to create a high-quality compost. We are working through the best options for the use of the compost in our Shire. Compost has been successfully used locally on gardens and farmland.

Do food scraps have to be certified organic to be able to go in the lime green-lidded bin?

No. Organic is used as a general term for anything that grows. 

What are the environmental benefits of a separate bin collection?

When organic matter breaks down in landfill it creates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Composting organics emits about one-tenth of the amount of CO2 compared to when it is sent to landfill. Since the materials are processed locally there will also be less transport costs associated with taking these items to our composting units at Creswick.

Won’t my bin get smelly if only collected fortnightly?

A lot of odours will be prevented if all food and garden waste is placed in the weekly food and garden organics bin. We recommend keeping bins in a shady area between collection days and wrapping waste products that may smell (e.g. nappies, sanitary or incontinence products) in plastic or newspaper.

A trial study undertaken by Lake Macquarie City Council reviewed concerns around odour in relation to a fortnightly general waste bin collection. The study found that when soiled nappies were placed in plastic bags, or wrapped in newspaper, and the rubbish bin was kept in the shade, odour was not more of an issue two weeks after disposal in the bin than it was after one week.

If you are interested in making the switch to reusable cloth nappies to help further reduce waste, Council periodically runs workshops and vouchers to assist with this. Find out more on the Reduce your waste page or contact the Resource Recovery for more details at

What if I already compost at home?

Home composting is a great sustainable option for recycling organic material. You can still compost at home and use the kerbside bin for items that may not be suitable for your home composting system such as citrus, meat and raw bones along with excess garden organics. 

What is the proposal to remove soft plastics from bins?

As part of Council's decision to proceed with the roll-out of food and garden organics collection, we also committed to investigate options to divert soft plastics from landfill. Officers have provided updates to Council and will continue to investigate viable options for recovery of soft plastics from landfill. 

How did Council engage with the community to recommend the changes?

Council adopted the Sustainable Hepburn Strategy 2022-2026 in 2022. The strategy was co-designed with a dedicated Community Reference Group with input from over 400 community members. Through this engagement there was strong community support to expand food and garden organic collection services.  

Council also launched a Waste Survey in 2023 to better understand how our residents use our current waste services. This was to gather feedback on what information and support residents need from Council on their low waste journey. There was strong support for a separate collection through this survey.

Won't the additional trucks used for weekly collection lead to more greenhouse gas emissions?

When organic matter breaks down in landfill it creates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The emissions associated with an additional bin truck are insignificant compared to the methane emissions saving made from the switch to weekly food and garden organics collections. 

A food and garden collection truck filled with 25 tonnes can be driven 15,444km to a composting facility before it emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as that same truckload put into landfill. For some comparison, driving from Daylesford to Brisbane, then to Darwin, across to Perth, up to Alice Springs, down to Adelaide and back to Daylesford is around 13,800km!

How do we know that weeds won't be spread with the use of compost?

The food and garden materials are placed in the in-vessel composting units. Inside the vessels, temperatures quickly rise, pathogens and weed seeds are neutralised and pasteurisation occurs. The process is closely monitored as the material is transformed into nutrient rich compost. Once it is matured, the compost is screened and tested to ensure it is high quality and meets Australian standards.


Which townships receive the organics service?

The organics collection was rolled out to 'townships' - Creswick, Clunes, Trentham, Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs. Council will review the rural collection service in 2024/2025.

Can I put blackberry and gorse in the organics bins?

Blackberry and Gorse are declared noxious weeds, which are illegal to transport without a permit and are not accepted in the organics bins nor at our transfer stations. Other noxious weeks are Briar Rose, Cape Broom, English Broom, Hawthorn, Hemlock, Prickly Pear Cactus, Soursob, Spiny Broom, Spiny Rush, Thistle species and Willows. Read more in our Noxious weed guide(PDF, 1MB).

Other weeds (non noxious) are accepted in the organics bin. 


I run a commercial business what does this mean for me?

Commercial businesses have the option to receive commercial waste services through Council. This means if your business opts into these services, you can receive a weekly waste service (240L bin) and/or a fortnightly recycling service (240L bin); and/or from 1 July 2024 businesses could also opt into a food and garden organics collection.

Short term accommodations receive residential waste services and cannot opt in/out of any collection, including the organics collection. 


I run a short-term accommodation business. What does this change mean for me?

Residential businesses receive a residential kerbside service. This means you will receive a weekly food and garden organics bin, and fortnightly landfill collection. 

Want to learn more?