Organic Waste


Organic waste, derived from plant or animal sources, is biodegradable and includes materials like food waste, garden organics, timber waste, paper, cardboard, and biosolids. As these materials break down, they produce carbon dioxide, water, and methane. Leveraging this degradation process enables resource recovery and reuse, reducing environmental impact and advancing sustainability.

In the 2022 National Waste Report, it was found that Australia generated 48 million tonnes of organic waste in 2021-22, with 58% being recycled or reclaimed. This type of waste, prominent in municipal solid waste (MSW), commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors, offers opportunities for resource retrieval through composting, anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, and various separation and refining techniques such as screening, shredding, and milling. These approaches contribute to enhancing sustainability and circularity in waste management systems.


Organic waste, originating from plant and animal sources, is biodegradable and boasts high moisture and nutrient levels, rendering it perfect for composting and anaerobic digestion. Managed properly, it yields valuable resources such as compost, mulch, biochar, biogas, and fertilizers, thus slashing landfill reliance and bolstering soil health. Diverse types of organic waste offer promising recycling and re-use opportunities:

  • Food waste – Whether from households, commercial enterprises, or industries, this biodegradable, nutrient-rich material is optimal for composting and biogas generation.
  • Garden/yard waste – Including grass clippings, leaves, prunings, and weeds, ideal for composting and mulching purposes.
  • Agricultural Waste – Crop residues, manure, and slaughterhouse waste, ripe for composting or digestion into fertilisers.
  • Forestry/raw timber waste – Comprising tree trimmings, wood chips, and sawdust, suitable for composting, mulching, or biochar conversion via pyrolysis to enhance soil quality.
  • Eco paper/cardboard – Recyclable uncoated paper that can be composted or refined for carbon addition to soil.
  • Biosolids and Sewage Sludge – Suited for composting or anaerobic digestion, serving as soil amendments and fertilisers.
  • Other organic materials – Natural textiles and bio-plastics, meeting biodegradability standards, are compostable. Additionally, organic industrial waste like spent grains from breweries can undergo composting or digestion.

Effective management of organic waste via recycling and re-use carries substantial environmental and economic advantages. However, the viability and marketability of these resources hinge on local conditions, pricing structures, and advancements in recycling technologies.


In Australia, organic waste recovery and recycling face numerous challenges. These include inadequate infrastructure, complex regulations, low public awareness, and economic viability issues. These challenges hinder environmental efforts and worsen problems like landfill overflow and pollution.

To address these challenges effectively, coordinated action is essential. This includes investing in infrastructure, streamlining regulations, enhancing public awareness, and advancing recycling technology.

Government, industry, small businesses, and households must collaborate to drive progress towards sustainable organic waste management.

The Australian government aims for a 80% resource recovery rate and 10% waste reduction per person by 2030, with plans for expanded FOGO collection services and increased infrastructure investment.

Information on government policies, stewardship and collaborative waste management practices can be found on the DCCEEW website.

Regulation and guidelines for commerical organic waste processing can be found on the EPA website.


To tackle organic waste management challenges, Waste Initiatives provides a range of efficient equipment solutions, for optimising resource recovery effectively.

Our Zemmler Trommel Screens offer mobile dual screening for mixed organic waste. They feature interchangeable screens (2 to 80 mm mesh), electric drive, and optional add-ons like remote control and extended conveyors for versatile organic material extraction.

Waste Initiatives’ ExBio Food Digesters, turn food waste into liquid within 24 hours, diverting it from landfills. Using oxygen and microorganisms, they handle 25 kg to 10,000 kg of organic waste daily, suitable for residential to industrial use, offering environmental and financial benefits.

Highlighting the exceptional Mavitec Depacking range is essential, as it offers a comprehensive solution for handling organic waste. The product line includes the highly efficient Martinaters, designed for resizing organic material, and the robust Paddle Depackers, engineered to effectively separate packaging from organic matter. These innovative solutions achieve an impressive 99.5% purity of organic material, making them ideal for applications in both animal feedstock and biogas installations.

The German-engineered Olnova Series primary shredder range present tracked, hook-lift, and stationary models with diesel or electric engines, remote operation, reverse shafts, and ESD systems for safety and performance. Capacities range from 15 to 200 tons per hour, meeting diverse robust organic waste processing needs.

Equipment such as sorting systems, mobile shredders, shredder systems, granulators, right through to complete waste recycling systems are viable solutions for processing and managing your organic waste. These technologies offer efficient, scalable options that ensure optimal resource utilisation and sustainability.

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