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Food Waste Collection Frequently Asked Questions

General queries

Collection Queries

Container and Liner Queries


What can I recycle in the new separate weekly food waste collection service?

You can recycle the same items of food waste as the current service. This includes:

  • meat and fish
  • fruit and vegetables
  • cheese and eggs
  • bread and pastries
  • uneaten food from plates
  • tea bags and coffee grounds

Please do not put bones from red meat, oils, liquids or fats into your caddy. Please do not put any packaging in the food waste bin.

Please click Icon for pdf here [1MB]  for more information.

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How do I use the new service?

Each household will be provided with a grey inside kitchen caddy (smaller that the green outside caddy) and a roll of compostable bags to get you started. You will also receive either a green outside kerbside caddy or a purple bin to share with your neighbours if you use a communal bin store.

Use the inside kitchen caddy to collect any food waste such as egg shells, tea bags, and peelings. You can use one of the compostable bags provided to line your new inside kitchen caddy if you want to, or you can put the food waste in loose.

Once this bag is full, or after 3-4 days, tie the bag at the top and transfer this to your new outside kerbside caddy or shared purple bin.

If you receive a kerbside collection (you have your own wheeled bin, boxes and bags), take your outside kerbside caddy to your normal collection point on your normal collection day (black bin or recycling) alongside your other bins/containers. This will get emptied by one of our new food waste collection vehicles. 

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What happens to the food waste?

The food waste we collect from residents of West Berkshire is taken to our In-Vessel-Composter on Padworth Lane, Padworth in West Berkshire. Here, it is turned into a PAS100-certified soil conditioner for use by local farmers and landscapers.

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What are the environmental benefits of recycling food waste?

By recycling your food waste, you will help cut down the amount of food waste that ends up in landfill sites or incineration facilities. Food waste that is sent to landfill doesn't harmlessly break down. It has a big impact on the environment as it rots and releases methane - a greenhouse gas that is over 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. Food waste recycled is processed within West Berkshire at our in-vessel composting (IVC) facility where the food waste is turned into a soil conditioner. This is then used by local farmers and landscapers.

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Will you end up charging for this service in the future?

Under the Controlled Waste Regulations 2012 schedule 1 we are not allowed to charge for the collection of food waste from households.

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Is this new service a waste of money?

The new service can help the Council to achieve financial savings, especially if our residents participate in high numbers. Currently over 25% of the general waste thrown away in the black bins in the district is made up of food waste. This is costly to dispose of compared to recycling food waste using our In-Vessel Composting (IVC) facility located locally in Padworth. From our residents survey conducted earlier in the year, participants expressed that one of the reasons why they did not use the current service is that the green wheelie bin is not collected frequently enough and can get smelly. The new service will overcome these barriers to recycling food waste. The new food waste service will also help the Council to comply with emerging government legislation for all local authorities in England to provide separate weekly collection of food waste to households.

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Why are you not doing more to encourage residents to avoid wasting so much food?

The Council is fully committed to continuing to provide residents with advice to help them minimise waste. The new food waste collection service is targeting unavoidable food waste such as vegetable peelings, tea bags and egg shells. Over a quarter of the general waste currently thrown away by our residents in their black bins is made up of food waste. We are hoping to divert as much of this waste from the black bin as practicable so that it can be sent for composting. Alongside the new service, we are encouraging residents to reduce the amount food waste they generate; avoidance of food waste can save the average family about £60 a month. More information about ways in which residents can minimise food waste generation can be found here: www.lovefoodhatewaste.com.

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Will you empty my green wheelie bin with food waste in it?

From 31 October 2022 all food waste needs to be placed in the new food waste caddy for collection. If you have not received your food waste caddies, please get in touch with us as soon as possible to arrange a delivery: recycle@westberks.gov.uk

If you only have food waste in your green wheelie bin and it has not been collected, please transfer this to your food waste caddy ready for your next weekly collection.

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When can I start using this new separate weekly food waste collection service?

For households that receive a kerbside collection (you have your own wheeled bin, boxes and bags), your first collection of this new service will be on your black bin or recycling collection day during the week commencing 31 October 2022.

For households who use a communal bin store (share bins with other households in your block/road), your first collection of this new service will be on your black bin or recycling collection day during the week commencing 28 November 2022.

Please note that from 31 October 2022 we will be unable to collect green wheelie bins that contain food waste.

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Can I continue to put food waste in with my garden waste?

Please only place garden waste into your paid for green garden waste wheelie bin. Food waste should be placed into your new food waste caddy. If you don't subscribe to the garden waste collection service, your garden waste can be taken to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres free of charge or you can compost at home. If your green garden waste bin contains food waste, we may be unable to collect it. This is because with the recent reorganisation of waste collection routes and after the introduction of separate food waste collections, we will have a reduction in the capacity of garden waste vehicles.

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We can already recycle food waste in our green wheelie bins, why are you introducing this new service?

As part of the requirements set out in the government's Environment Act 2021 all councils will be required to provide a separate weekly food waste collection service. Uptake of the current food waste recycling service is low partly because of amenity concerns. Recent analysis of the black bin contents in our district show that about a quarter of it is food waste. We expect the new weekly food waste service to increase the amount of waste diverted from landfill as well as increasing the amount of waste we can recycling.

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How are you collecting the food waste?

We are purchasing eight new purpose-built vehicles which will allow for the separate weekly collection of food waste. These vehicles have the option of being run on either standard diesel or hydro-treated vegetable oil. Food waste recycling is predicted to increase our recycling rate from approximately 50% to nearly 60%.

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I haven't received any new containers yet?

If you have a kerbside collection and you haven't recevied your kerbside caddy, kitchen caddy, liners and leaflet please email us on: recycle@westberks.gov.uk.

Households who receive a communal bin store collection will get their grey inside kitchen caddy, shared purple bin and one roll of compostable liners by 28 November 2022.

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I don't want/need the new caddies?

The new food waste caddies are for recycling food waste weekly and is part of the standard set of recycling containers for all households. If you don't want to use them, we cannot arrange collection of the containers at this time.

There may be other ways you can reuse the containers within your home if you already have a previous set for example use it as a planter, storage for pet food or a dark storage for potatoes.

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How big is the inside kitchen caddy and outside kerbside caddy?

The inside kitchen caddy is five litres in size. The outside kerbside caddy is 23 litres in size, and roughly knee high, so it is fairly small compared to the standard wheeled bins provided for general rubbish and garden waste. This is the typical size for containers used to collect food waste across the country.

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Can I get a bigger/smaller food waste caddy?

The food waste caddies that we provide are one size, there is not an option to be provided with a bigger or smaller one. If you are producing large amounts of food waste, please visit lovefoodhatewaste.com to see if there are any tips on how to reduce food waste and save money. Please do not place the inside food waste caddy out for collection as if this gets lost or broken we are unable to offer replacements.

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How do I lock the outside kerbside caddy?

You lock the outside kerbside caddy by moving the handle to the front on the caddy. To unlock it simply move the handle back so you can open the lid. 

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Will you collect my garden waste wheelie bin as I no longer need this?

We currently don't have resources to collect the garden waste wheelie bins. However, if you want to use this for another purpose in your garden/house then please do.

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Will you continue to provide compostable food waste caddy liners?

The one roll of compostable caddy liners have been provided as a one-off at the start of the service. There are no current plans to provide these on an ongoing basis. Once you run out you can purchase compostable food waste liners with the certification number EN13432 from most supermarkets or food waste can be placed in the food waste caddy loose if you prefer.

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I've run out of food caddy liners- how do I order more?

You do not need to use any liners for your food waste caddy. However, if you do like to use a liner please ensure they have the EN13432 certification code. These can be purchased online or in most supermarkets and hardware stores. You can also purchase compostable bags from Compost Bag UK.

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I've lost/broken my outside food waste caddy. How do I get a new one?

If your outside food waste caddy has been lost or broken, you may have to wait for a few weeks before a replacement can be arranged. This is because, as you may appreciate, during the initial rollout period, the Council and its contractor would have their resources stretched trying to bed in the new service. It may not be possible to replace lost or broken caddies until we get some spare resources later. It is important, therefore, that you keep your caddy stored safely and don't put it outside until the service commences from 31 October 2022. We are grateful for your continued understanding and cooperation. 

We cannot replace inside food waste caddies. You can find a reasonably cheap replacement at larger supermarkets, in hardware shops or from an internet retailer.

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Will my bin smell/attract vermin?

Both the (inside and outside) food waste caddies come with a lockable lid and can be fully sealed. This will prevent any smells from escaping the caddy and make them hard for any animals and vermin to break into them. By having a weekly collection of this bin it means it will be collected the most frequently out of all of your rubbish/recycling. It will therefore be less likely to smell than food waste incorrectly placed in the black bin.

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How do I prevent my pet from getting into the food waste caddy?

It is really important to make sure that your pets do not eat any mouldy food as this contains mycotoxins which is poisonous. Your inside and outside food waste caddy come with a lockable lid, so please make sure this is locked to prevent animals entering the bin. The inside food waste caddy can be stored inside a cupboard in your home if you have pets. In addition, if you have pets likely to access the outside food waste caddy please store this in a secure place until collection day.

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