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Food recycling

To use the weekly food recycling collection service you should have two food waste caddies:

  • A small food recycling caddy (approx 5 litres, H23cm x D23cm x W26cm) designed to be kept inside your house.
  • A larger animal proof bin with a lockable lid (approx 20 litres, H39cm x D39cm x W31cm), which is kept outside. You empty your small caddy into this bin.

Woman with food waste

What food will I be able to put in the caddies?

  • Bread, cakes and pastries.
  • Dairy products.
  • Egg shells.
  • Fish and seafood bones and shells.
  • Food past its use-by-date, food that has gone off.
  • Fruit and vegetable peelings, pips and cores.
  • Household flowers.
  • Meat and bones eg chicken carcasses.                                                                             
  • Pizza and pasta.
  • Plate scrapings and left over food.
  • Rice and pulses.
  • Tea bags, tea leaves, coffee grounds.

What can't I put in the food recycling caddies?

  • Garden waste.
  • Food packaging.
  • Liquids, including tea and coffee.
  • Mice and birds killed by cats/other animals.
  • Oil or liquid fat.
  • Plastic bags.

Lining the food recycling caddies

Food recycling can be put directly into the food recycling caddies, or the caddies can be lined. You can line the caddies with either a small amount of newspaper or a compostable liner/bag. Using these will help dislodge the food waste when the collection takes place.

The collection crew will tap the caddy on the edge of the slave bin to dislodge the contents. If this does not remove the entire contents they are not expected to dislodge it using other methods. You would have to remove this food.

If you want to use compostable caddy liners/bags, they can be bought at many local shops. The liners must be 100% compostable and will have the compostable logo on it. Please do not use plastic bags.Image of  the logo that confirms a food waste liner is compostable. Example of how to line your caddy with newspaper.

Food waste caddy

Locking the lids

The larger food recycling caddy will have a lockable lid to prevent animals getting to the food. You will just need to place the handle in either the upright position or down at the front of the bin. Follow our tips on storing your waste hygienically.

Collection day

On your collection day every week leave your larger food recycling the front boundary of your property by 6am, making sure it is locked. Your food recycling will be collected and your caddy replaced ready for next time.

What happens to food recycling?

Food recycling is taken to Agrivert in Oxfordshire or Biogen in Northamptonshire, where it is processed using anaerobic digestion (AD). Find out more.

Food for thought

In the UK we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink every year. Most of this could have been eaten, but instead ends up in landfill creating greenhouse gases. A typical family with children throws away £680's worth of food a year. Even better than recycling food is reducing the amount created in the first place. There are three tips which can save you money and reduce what goes to landfill:

  • Plan meals in advance - keep a shopping list, shop for specific ingredients, buy foods that can be used for several dishes, look for foods with the longest shelf life
  • Use food in time - make sure you understand food date labels. Best before dates refer to quality rather than food safety, so foods with a best before date should still be safe to eat after the date given. However, use by dates refer to safety. Food can be eaten up to this date, but not after, even if it looks and smells fine. Always follow the storage instructions on packs
  • Love your leftovers - get creative with leftovers. Blitz crusts and stale bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. Freeze small amounts of wine or beer in ice cube trays to pop into casseroles and stews when cooking. Use the remains of a roast chicken for a risotto or curry later in the week. Freeze left over dinner as a ready meal for another time.

Visit for recipe ideas and advice on reducing food waste generally.

Frequently asked questions