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Food recycling

Use your two food waste caddies for your weekly food recycling service:

  • Use your small silver food recycling caddy (approx. 5 litres, H23cm x D23cm x W26cm) inside your house to store food waste.
  • Empty the contents into your larger green animal proof bin with a lockable lid (approx. 20 litres, H39cm x D39cm x W31cm), which should be kept outside.

Woman with food waste

What food can go in my food recycling 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.
  • 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 my food recycling caddies?

  • Garden waste including cut flowers.
  • Food packaging.
  • Liquids, including tea and coffee.
  • Mice and birds killed by cats/other animals.
  • Oil or liquid fat.
  • Packaging such as egg boxes.

Lining your food recycling caddies

You can place food recycling directly into your small silver caddy or you can now line it with a plastic or compostable bag or small amount of newspaper. You can use anything from old shopping bags to bread or salad bags, but not black bin bags or plastic food packaging. Using these will help the food dislodge when the collection crew is emptying the larger outdoor caddies by tapping them on the edge of the large collection bin on the vehicle. If this action doesn’t remove all the contents the crews are not expected to dislodge it in other ways – you would have to remove the food.

Food waste caddy

Locking your food caddy

Place the handle of your large outdoor food caddy upright or down at the front to lock it and prevent animals getting at the food.

Follow our tips on other ways of storing your food recycling hygienically.

Collection day

Please leave your locked large green food recycling caddy at the front boundary of your property by 6am on your collection day. We will collect your food waste and return the caddy. Please put your food caddy out every week if possible, even if you don’t have much of it.

Guide to recycling and waste services available to households.

What happens to food waste?

When you scrape your leftovers into your silver food waste caddy and empty that into your green food waste caddy, it starts a journey to become bio fertiliser. Here’s how it works:

  1. Your green food caddy is emptied into a ‘slave wheelie bin’ which is emptied into the side of the collection lorry when full.
  2. When the collection lorry is full it goes to a waste transfer station called Earlswood in Redhill and it's contents emptied.
  3. Once this container is full it is taken to Biogen in Northamptonshire where it is processed using anaerobic digestion (AD). This is a biological treatment in which bacteria break down organic material in the absence of oxygen in large, sealed and insulated vessels with controlled heating and mixing.
  4. First the food waste goes through special sorting equipment which removes any items which should not be included.
  5. A conveyor belt then drops the food waste into a macerator which chops it up until it is mostly liquid.
  6. The liquid is pumped into temperature controlled sealed vessels known as digesters. It is here that bacteria feed on the food waste and produce biogas.
  7. The biogas is mostly made up of methane which is captured and used as a fuel in combined heat and power (CHP) engines to produce electricity which is fed into the national grid.
  8. The bio fertiliser produced is pasteurised to ensure any pathogens are destroyed and it is safe to go onto farmland. The use of this high nutrient bio fertiliser replaces the use of fossil fuel derived fertiliser and ensures nothing is wasted.

Not only has the food waste been turned into a useful product but it has also produced useful biogas and diverted it from landfill. Each tonne of food waste recycled by anaerobic digestion as an alternative to landfill prevents 1.0 tonne of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere. Recycling 10 tonnes of food waste will produce enough electricity to power a home for a whole year.Flow diagram showing how food waste is recycled by anaerobic digestion

If you would like to find out more you can watch Biogen's video.