Your guide to effective food waste recycling at home

The journey of food waste doesn't stop when it leaves your kitchen - it's only just started. Understanding how to recycle your food waste properly is an essential step towards a sustainable future.

Your guide to effective food waste recycling at home

How do you make the maximum positive impact on the environment from your home when it comes to dealing with your food waste? Here we'll answer questions about what you can do to ensure your food waste is recycled, what types of food waste can be recycled, and how to participate in food waste recycling initiatives.

What can I do at home?

Ensuring proper recycling of your food waste

Recycling your food waste at home is a straightforward yet impactful action. Here's how you can do it effectively:

  1. Use a dedicated food waste bin: Start by using a separate bin or container specifically designed for food waste. These bins often have lids to contain odours, can lock shut to deter scavengers and can be lined with bags for easy disposal of the waste.
  2. Collect food scraps: Collect all your food scraps, including fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, and plate scrapings. These items are prime candidates for food waste recycling. Fat, oil and grease are great too - so don't just tip them down your sink, You're more likely to cause blockages in drains and sewers doing this.
  3. Avoid contaminants: Be mindful of contaminants like plastics, glass, or non-organic materials. You should avoid placing these in your food waste bin, as they can disrupt the recycling process. It's worth noting though that technology exists to remove plastics from food waste during processing, especially softer plastics such as carrier bags. This residual waste can then be used to make more energy.
  4. Store properly: Store your food waste bin in a cool, dry place, preferably in your kitchen. This convenient location encourages regular use and proper disposal of food scraps.
  5. Regular emptying: Empty your food waste bin regularly to prevent odours and ensure you have enough space for ongoing collection.

What food waste can be recycled?

Examples of what an anaerobic digester loves

The vast majority of food scraps can be recycled. If it was intended to be eaten, it's almost certainly possible to recycle it. Where food waste recycling exists, the food ends up in anaerobic digesters (AD) where it breaks down to release gas. This process works much the same way as in your own stomach, so an AD likes to eat pretty much the same food as you! Here's a few examples of what can be recycled:

Recyclable food waste:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps, both raw and cooked: Including peels, cores, and seeds.
  • Bread, cakes, pastries: Bread, dough and cakes can be recycled.
  • Rice, pasta and beans: Grains and pulses can go in the bin, as well as leftover pasta or rice.
  • Plate scrapings: Leftovers and plate scrapings are prime candidates for recycling.
  • Meat, fish and dairy: Meat scraps from your roast dinner. Butter, eggs and yoghurt too.
  • Cooking oil and grease: These can be mixed with foods that will soak them up if you want to avoid mess (i.e porridge oats, breadcrumbs)
  • Egg shells: Egg shells can be added but did you know these can also be composted?
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags: After your morning brew, these can be put in the food waste bin.
  • Bones: Your Sunday roast chicken carcass can also be recycled.

How do I participate in food waste recycling?

Taking action in your community

Participating in food waste recycling initiatives is a fantastic way to contribute to a more sustainable environment. Here's how you can get involved:

  1. Check locally: If you have a food waste caddy, there's a good chance you have regular food waste collections in your area. Check the website for your local authority to find out when and how frequently collections are made and start to put your caddy out on collection day.
  2. Get a food waste bin: If your local authority doesn't provide one, consider purchasing a dedicated food waste bin for your home. These bins often come with guidelines and resources for proper disposal.
  3. Educate yourself: Learn about the specific guidelines and procedures for food waste recycling in your community. Some programmes may have specific requirements or restrictions. If you live in flats or shared accommodation, a food bin may have been provided by the building's owners.
  4. Join local initiatives: Many communities have volunteer groups or organisations dedicated to food waste reduction and recycling. Consider joining or supporting these groups to make a more significant impact.
  5. Advocate for change: If there's nothing available in your area, consider advocating for a food waste recycling programme. Reach out to local authorities or environmental organisations to promote sustainable practices.


Recycling your food waste at home is a simple yet powerful way to contribute to a greener, more sustainable future. By using a dedicated food waste bin, knowing what can and cannot be recycled, and participating in local initiatives, you play an active role in reducing food waste and its environmental impact. Remember, even small actions at home can lead to significant positive changes on a much larger scale.

Check out our food waste page to find out more about how we process food waste and turn it into energy.

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