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Winter Tips for a Busy Family Life

I’ve just arrived back in the office after a few days away with girlfriends.

After months of planning to coordinate the calendars of five busy working Mums (a near impossible process), we had a few days in the beautiful, chilly Blue Mountains. Huddled around the fire we shared stories and wine, comparing parenting adventures as we start to embrace the teenage years with kids, and encouraging each other as we spoke about our evolving lives.

Old friends are so precious, and after a few days, I feel completely reset, relaxed and ready to take on the world.

My life as it has evolved as a mum and business owner is certainly what Pete and I have designed, however in truth, it’s currently far busier than we would choose. Pete has been spending most winter weeks living away from home in Melbourne as we assist councils to kick off their FOGO programs. It’s really rewarding to see our composting programs for food waste expand across Australia. I would encourage you to contact your local council to discuss if a program is not yet in place.

Back in our Newcastle office our little team have been busy as more and more people and organisations make the switch from plastic bags to compostable bags, often prompted by the changing state legislation. I strongly believe the answer to our single use plastic challenges is not thicker plastic bags! Instead, we all need to make the switch to more sustainable options. As FOGO Programs expand, Australian Certified Compostable Bags are an even more compelling solution, with Singlet Bags and Produce Bags able to be re-used for food scraps before they are thrown out for composting.

At home, life with two kids often independently has its own set of challenges, however there are three tips that are keeping us all on track, our Sunday food prep, building in slow moments, and ensuring we accept letting some things go.

         

  • I actually enjoy our Sunday Cook Up, and it means that even after the busiest school afternoons, we always finished the day with a lovey homemade meal, which in reality is simply a quick reheat. Winter cooking is perfect for prepping and freezing with soups and curries, however one of our current favourites is a lamb ragu which basically cooks itself. You can find the recipe here

 

  • Building a few slow moments in the busiest of days is also important. This season we had an abundance of lemons on our trees, which we dehydrated to preserve. I’ve been simply dropping a few of these in warm water each morning to kick start the day. It’s a comforting ritual as I start to wake up and plan the day, and I would like to think the vitamin C is boosting my immunity through the colder months.

     

 

  • Letting some things go… While, the kids do need consistent feeding and love, I do have to confess that my vegie garden is not looking its usual vibrant self. Every time we plant, the rain is so excessive that our little seedlings flood, which is disheartening, especially for the kids. We have temporarily let it go, although I do have a stash of leafy greens which we have grown in terracotta pots. These pots are quite inexpensive, drain really well, and can be moved, so are a little more versatile for the current crazy weather. The increasing prices of fresh greens when purchased is also a motivating factor. You can read our tips for growing leafy greens here. We source all our seeds from Greenpatch Organic Seeds & Plants who are passionate about preserving heritage / heirloom varieties and organic farming. The resulting produce is as tasty as what I remember being harvested from my grandfather’s vegie garden!

And with those thoughts, I’m feeling a little more motivated and may plan to get stuck into the vegie garden again this weekend… that is if any sunshine manages to sneak through the rain clouds.

Enjoy winter

Mel

FOGO

81,110 FOGO Deliveries with only 78 Community Enquires

Our team recently hit the steep hills of Wollongong, working in partnership with the fabulous team from Remondis to deliver new FOGO (Food Organics, Garden Organics) kits to the residents of Wollongong.  Whilst it was a great way to get fit before Christmas, there were also some interesting learnings.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM visiting our distribution facility

Wollongong’s FOGO roll out commenced in November 2020 with a strong community communication strategy outlining the benefits of the program.

In this region alone, the team expect to divert a staggering 6,000 tonnes of food waste from their landfill site at Whytes Gully each year. In results similar to other Australian communities, the Wollongong team had found that residents were filling up to 40% of their red general waste bins with food scraps, which equates to approx. 150kg of food waste per household annually. The environmental and financial benefits of implementing a FOGO Program as quickly as possible were compelling, particularly in the context of rising Landfill costs.

During the rollout, each registered property received a FOGO kit comprising of a roll of Compost-A-Pak liners, Education Pack and a Source Separation Systems Kitchen Caddy. This Kitchen Caddy was made in Australian in a customised colour with the base and handle made of Post Consumer Recycled content. The recycled content for this production run was sourced from material originally deposited in council roadside collection bins in Melbourne. As a result, by simply choosing this solution, and so using Post-Consumer recycled content, the council contributed to Australia’s emerging circular economy which is imperative for an effective recycling industry in Australia.

Customised Wollongong Kitchen Caddy

After initial trials, the caddy was designed with simple and effective symbol-based imagery within the in-mould label, providing a permanent reminder for resident of the items accepted through the FOGO program. This was also reinforced across the other communication channels.

As Christmas loomed, the team set a very ambitious program to have the full distribution of 81,110 FOGO Kits in place within four weeks. Leveraging our unique distribution software in which many of the complexities of distribution are managed proactively in our preparation phase, the Source Separation Systems team successfully visited over 4,000 households on average everyday and met the timeframe. Which such large numbers, the risk of gaps and duplications obviously increase, however with our unique software, this risk is effectively mitigated. This is most powerfully reflected in the number of enquiries received into the council team, with only 78 Community Enquiries lodged during the distributing. That’s a call rate of  0.009%, which for anyone familiar with delivery logistics is quite remarkable!

As a result of the successful distribution the new program was effectively up and running in time for the Christmas period in which food waste tends to peak. As Wollongong City Acting Lord Mayor Councillor Tania Brown explained to local media ahead of the program, this type of FOGO strategy is really a win-win for the environment and residents.

“The big problem is that food waste in a landfill decomposes and creates the greenhouse gas methane. Diverting food scraps is a win-win as it reduces the amount of waste going to landfill, saving valuable landfill space and reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emitted into our atmosphere,” Cr Brown said

To find out more about our custom products, distribution program and how we can have you up and running for FOGO, simply contact us here.