Townsville cafés join fight to reduce organic waste, protect great lifestyle

16 November 2022

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs

The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon


Twenty of Townsville’s most popular cafés are taking part in a trial to turn organic waste into new products.


Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon this week visited one of the cafés participating in the city’s Commercial Food Organic (CoFO) trial, the Pedlar Project café, to get an update on how the 12-week trial is progressing.


The trial is being delivered with funding from the Palaszczuk Government and rolled out by Townsville City Council.


“Just like at home, organic food waste also contributes a large portion of what is discarded at cafés and hospitality venues,” Minister Scanlon said.


“In the first six weeks of the project, more than six tonnes of organic material has already been diverted from landfill.”


Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said each café has been provided with a 140 litre bin for their organic waste, such as food waste, coffee grinds and compostable packaging, which is then collected by Council three times a week.


“By the end of the trial, council expects to divert more than 12 tonnes of waste which will instead be processed into compost by a local landscaping company for use in gardens and parks across the city.


Minister Scanlon said it build on the Palaszczuk Government’s $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund to spark investment in the circular economy.


“In February this year the Palaszczuk Government released the Queensland Organics Strategy and Action Plan with the aim of improving the management of household and commercial organics.


“As part of the strategy  we are working with local governments, like the Townsville City Council, to conduct trials to get a better understanding of the most effective ways to capture, process and harness the value of organic material.


“When organic waste is disposed to landfill it breaks down anaerobically and releases methane, which is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential around 28 times that of carbon dioxide.


“A focus of the action plan is to support commercial food premises to improve how they collect and manage organic waste which is why the State Government is proud to support initiatives like Townsville’s CoFO trial.


“The use of compostable packaging and products has increased significantly in response to our ban on single-use plastics so this trial helps assess how mixed food waste and compostable products can be best collected and processed using a tightly regulated closed system.”


Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the CoFO trial builds on the success of Council’s Food Organic Garden Organic (FOGO) trial currently running in select areas of Townsville.


“Information from the CoFO trial will help guide the design of future commercial organics collections,” Cr Hill said.


“This trial is about gathering information to make an informed decision on the benefits of rolling out the program city-wide.


“Waste management is a considerable cost for Council, and we can’t keep doing what was done in the past. We need new and innovative solutions to tackle waste.


“Council is committed to diverting up to 60 per cent of material from landfill by 2026 and achieving zero landfill by 2030.


“Council has set ambitious targets, and we need to look at initiatives like CoFO and FOGO to achieve those results.”


The CoFO trial is running until December 16 and is partly funded by the Palaszczuk Government.


The initiative is in collaboration with another Queensland Government supported program, Plastic Free Townsville, and Townsville City Council.




Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz - 0420 592 078