Recycle your food waste
If you do need to throw food away because you can’t eat it (for whatever reason), don’t have a home compost bin or it’s something that can’t be composted then see if you have a food waste recycling service that you can use.
Check if your home can have a food recycling collection. If you need to order some containers for the first time or just need a replacement complete your order online.
Changes to the collection of food and garden waste are happening in Harrow from October 2015. Find out more on the Harrow Council website.
Most homes can opt-in to the food recycling service, check to see if your address is included and order yours today!
Have you got your green food recycling box yet? Most houses can have a food recycling collection and some blocks of flats now have food recycling bins too. Look out for the communal food recycling bin near the other ones or get in touch with the council to find out more about this service. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 0208 583 5555.
Available to most homes, have you got access to a food recycling collection? Check which recycling services you can have and order replacement containers online.
If you’re not sure how to start recycling your food or want to see how other people fit it in check out these top tips collected together by the RecycleNow campaign.
Commonly asked questions
- What food can be recycled?
- What food recycling containers should I have?
- Do I just put the food waste in my kitchen caddy or can I line it to help keep it clean?
- What is a compostable liner?
- How can I keep my large food waste recycling box clean?
- Will the containers attract flies, maggots and foxes?
- It smells – what should I do?
- How is food recycled?
- Why should food be recycled?
All foods including meat, fish, pasta, rice and bones can be recycled. Remember to include teabags and coffee grounds too. Please do not put cooking oil in your food recycling collection.
Check on your local council’s website, for some councils we’ve put pictures of the containers on this page. To avoid confusion we’re going to call an inside food waste recycling box a ‘kitchen caddy’ and the box that you put out for emptying a ‘food recycling box’.
You can just put the food in it but many people prefer to put something in the caddy to help keep it clean. You could use newspaper, paper bags or compostable liners. You could also choose to use a different container in your kitchen, such as an ice cream tub or a you could buy a container that fits in with the colour or style of your kitchen from a high street shop.
Do not use a carrier bag in your kitchen caddy, even if it says biodegradable on it. Biodegradable means it breaks down in to small pieces but not that it composts down with your food waste.
Lots of tests are carried out on compostable liners to make sure they compost. The ones that pass the test have this symbol on them. They are made from cornstarch and will breakdown during the composting process your food waste goes through and compost too. Each council has different rules about which bags you can use, some provide them free or charge and in other areas you can buy them from local outlets/public buildings. You can buy them online or in some of the larger supermarkets. Please check with your local council.
Before you decide whether to use a liner, try using paper bags and newspaper to see which one you prefer.
Washing out your kitchen caddy and food waste recycling box will obviously help them stay clean. If you can’t get the large one under your tap you could pour hot soapy water from your washing up bowl in to it.
Keeping your kitchen caddy and food recycling box clean will help reduce smells and insects. Keep the lids closed and the food recycling box locked (this is usually with the handle at the front of the bin). Keeping them out of direct hot sunlight will also help. The longer the food is in the boxes the higher the chance of maggots so put it out every week for collection.
Our top tips are to:
- Line your kitchen caddy
- Rinse out or wash up the boxes regularly
- Keep them out of direct sunlight
- In hot weather empty the kitchen caddy more often
- If you have particularly smelly food to recycle you could put it in an airtight sealed container and freeze it until the night before your recycling collection then put it out
Most of the food sent for recycling is taken for anaerobic digestion and the rest is sent for a different process called in-vessel composting. Both of these breakdown the food into its valuable nutrients and create a compost product that can be used to improve the sol and grow more food or plants.
Recycling food waste is far better for the environment than putting it in your black bags. Putting it with your other rubbish and sending it to landfill means it gets just gets buried in a hole in the ground and breakdowns to release methane. Whereas, recycling means that the nutrients will be used again and make into a useful product.
It’s also cheaper to recycle it. Saving your council money that can be used for other services.