Food waste collection

Weekly food waste collections began in February 2021. Check your collection day here.

Some properties will have a delay of 3 weeks between red recycling bin collections. If you are affected by this delay, please place any excess recycling in clear bags or cardboard boxes at the side of your red bin on collection day.

Up to 41% of the household rubbish put into our grey bins in Reading is food waste. This often ends up in landfill where it rots and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. When recycled, food waste can be turned into fertiliser for farming and energy. It’s also cheaper – every time we compost a lorry load of food instead of sending it to landfill it saves £100.

We successfully introduced weekly kerbside food waste collections to 3,000 early adopter properties in October 2020. We rolled out the new service to the rest of the borough from 1 February 2021.

If you have any problems or queries about the new service which aren’t covered by the questions below, please contact us

FAQs

Why did you start to collect food waste?

How does the food waste service work?

When did the food waste collections start?

When will my food waste bin be collected?

What can I put in my food waste bin?

Will my food waste bin smell, or attract insects and vermin?

Why should I use liners in my food caddy?

What liners should I use?

What happens to the liners?

How do I get more liners?

What happens to the food waste?

Can I compost my own food?

Why collect food waste?

Up to 41% of the household rubbish put into our grey bins in Reading is food waste.

The benefits include:

  • Composted food waste can be turned into electricity fertiliser for farming.
  • Composting food instead of burying it in landfill reduces the amount of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) released into the atmosphere.
  • It’s cheaper – every time we compost a lorry load of food instead of sending it to landfill it saves £100.
  • Separating food waste means you have more room in your black bin to put things you cannot recycle.

How does the food waste service work?

You will have two food waste containers, a small indoor kitchen caddy (5 litre) to put in your kitchen and a larger food waste bin (23 litre) for you to put outside for collection.

The food waste is collected weekly on the same day as your household waste and recycling bins. Place your outside food waste bin at the edge of your property with your household waste or recycling bin by 6am. Your food waste will be collected by a different vehicle and at a different time of the day.

Flats with communal bins will have a small (5 litre) food waste kitchen caddy which you should empty into a larger outdoor communal food waste bin which is black with a blue lid. The communal food waste bin will be emptied weekly. 

When did food waste collections start?

The service started for approximately 3,000 ‘early adopter’ households from 5 October 2020 before being rolled out to the rest of the borough from 1 February 2021.

When will my food waste bin be collected?

Your food waste will be collected on the same day as your recycling and household waste. Check your collection day here.

What can I put in my food waste bin?

You’ll be able to put all forms of cooked and uncooked food in your food waste bin including fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, rice, pasta, bread, dairy, eggs and egg shells, plate and bowl scrapings and tea and coffee bags and grounds. Used cooking oil in a sealed plastic bottle can be placed inside your food waste bin. 

You won’t be able to put liquids, garden waste, cut flowers or packaging (including biodegradable packaging) in the food waste bin. You’ll receive more details nearer the time, including all the information and equipment you need to take part.

Will my food waste bin smell, or attract insects and vermin?

There is no need for your kitchen caddy or food waste bin to become smelly or to attract insects or vermin. Your outdoor food waste bin has a sealable and lockable lid which will reduce smell as well as prevent pests. There are some simple steps you can take – such as regularly emptying your caddy, rinsing it out, keeping the lid closed, wrapping up smelly food like meat or fish, and keeping it out of direct sunlight.

What happens to the food waste?

We will collect the food waste from your food waste bin on a weekly basis. The waste will be taken to the re3 recycling centre and then on to the Severn Trent recycling plant where it is turned into fertiliser for farming and energy. So the new service will turn food waste from a problem into a resource.

Why should I use liners in my food caddy? 

It’s best to use bags or liners as it makes your food waste recycling easier and cleaner. Liners also makes it easier for the collection crew to empty your food bin. When the food waste is taken to the recycling plant, all liners (including compostable ones) are removed at the beginning of the recycling process and are used to generate electricity. 

What liners should I use? 

We will provide you with liners when we deliver your food waste containers but if you run out, you can use anything from old shopping bags to bread, cereal, crisp or salad bags, a sheet of newspaper or buy bags on a roll such as pedal bin liners or compostable liners. Please don’t use black bins bags or other food packaging. 

What happens to the liners? 

When the food waste is taken to the recycling plant, the bags and liners (including compostable ones) are removed at the beginning of the recycling process and are used to generate electricity.   

How do I get more liners? 

The liners delivered with your food waste caddy should last approximately six months. If you run out, you can collect them from a local library or leisure centre. Please check for opening times.

Face masks must be worn when entering the buildings, and please ensure you use hand sanitisers.

The liners will be in a box by the entrance to the sites. We ask that you take one roll per household.

You can also line your indoor food waste caddy with newspapers, biodegradable bags, plastic bags such as bread bags. You can also use caddy or pedal bin liners purchased from shops and supermarkets. Please do not use black bin bags.

Can I compost my own food?

Yes! You should only compost garden waste and uncooked waste vegetables and fruit (e.g. peelings and skins) as well as coffee grounds and tea bags. All non-compostable food waste, such as meat, fish, small bones, cooked food and dairy products can go into your food waste bin. You don’t have to buy a specially built compost bin, however special offers on compost bins for Reading residents are available.

For information and advice about how to compost at home visit the Get Composting website