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How to Recycle

How to recycle food waste

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More and more households now have a food waste collection at home. Recycling your food waste is better for the environment, no matter how little goes into your caddy.

Why is it important to recycle food waste?

It is important to recycle your food waste if your local authority offer a home food waste collection.

Food waste that is not recycled may be sent to landfill where it rots, causing a huge negative impact on the environment by releasing methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Some local councils send their non-recyclable waste to be incinerated to create useful energy. However, food waste is composed of about 70% water, requiring considerably more energy to burn it, making this a less efficient method of disposal than recycling.

Food waste that is recycled also has many uses. It can be converted into fertilisers for agriculture or converted into natural forms of energy which are a good alternative to fossil fuels.

What can go in your food waste caddy?

  • All uneaten food and plate scrapings

  • Bread and pastries

  • Cooked and raw meat and fish and bones

  • Fruit and vegetable peelings

  • Mouldy or out-of-date food (removed from packaging)

  • Non-liquid dairy products, eggs and eggshells

  • Rice, pasta and beans

  • Tea bags and coffee grounds

What can't go in your food waste?

  • Any material that isn't food waste

  • Liquids such as milk or cooking oil

  • Packaging of any kind

If you are unsure what items you should put in your food waste caddy, check your local authority's website for more information.

What happens to my food waste?

Check if you have a food waste collection at home

Enter your postcode to check

What should I do with my food waste if I don't have a collection locally?

If your local authority does not collect food waste you may wish to home compost some of your food such as vegetable peelings, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds.

Items such as plate scrapings, meat, fish and bones should go into your non-recyclable bin.

Find out more about setting up home composting

How can I make food waste recycling easier?

You can put all sorts in your food waste caddy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s mouldy or gone off – pretty much anything goes. The only food substances you can’t put in your food caddy are liquids – so no milk or cooking oil, for example. Everything else is fair game, as long as it’s food and free from packaging.

It’s fine to use a compostable liner or to line your kitchen food waste caddy with paper if you don’t want to put it straight in – your council will tell you which liners are suitable and where you can get them from. This makes it much easier to keep clean, and will mean you only need to give it a proper clean every few weeks. Keep the lid on it to keep smells and flies at bay, and empty it into your outside food waste container when it’s about three-quarters full to stop any spills.

You can check whether your local council has a food waste collection by entering your postcode on this page. If they don’t, why not start a compost heap instead?

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