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A collection of different types of food waste

How to Recycle

How to recycle food waste

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Why is it important to recycle food waste?

Recycling your food waste is better for the environment, no matter how little you might have to go in your caddy. If you don’t recycle your food waste, its potential is lost forever. To avoid this, all councils in Wales collect food waste weekly. Most of us recycle our food waste using this service, so it’s important to recycle your food waste every week.

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.

More and more people are recycling their food waste. If we all stopped wasting the food which could have been eaten, it would have the same CO2 impact as taking 1 in 4 cars off UK roads.

What can go in your food waste caddy?

  • All uneaten food and plate scrapings;

  • Out-of-date or mouldy food;

  • Raw and cooked meat and fish, including bones;

  • Fruit and vegetables including raw and cooked vegetables and peelings;

  • Baked goods such as bread, cakes and pastries;

  • Dairy products, eggs and eggshells;

  • Used tea bags and coffee grounds;

  • Pet food;

  • Rice, pasta and beans.

What can’t go in your food waste caddy?

  • Non-food products including nappies;

  • Packaging of any kind;

  • Any material that is not food waste;

  • Liquids such as milk or oil may cause leaks or spillages when transporting food waste. No milk should go in your food waste caddy. A small amount of oil can go in your food waste caddy if you have enough food waste to soak it up.

You can check your local council’s website to find out:

  • When your food waste collection day is each week;

  • What items you should put in your food waste caddy;

  • How to order a new food waste caddy;

  • Find out if caddy liners are free or not in your area.

What happens to my food waste?

Wasted food has a big impact on climate change, which is why more and more of us are recycling our food waste. The best thing we can do with our food is enjoy it…but some food waste like eggshells, banana skins, meat and fish bones and tea bags is unavoidable.

It’s important that we all recycle our food waste. All local councils in Wales collect food waste weekly, with the service now available to 99% of the Welsh population.

Anaerobic digestion

Once our food waste is collected, it is treated by using a process known as ‘anaerobic digestion’.

This process uses microorganisms called ‘methanogens’ to break down food waste inside an enclosed tank, alongside farm animal manures and energy crops. As it breaks down, it produces biogas, which is collected and used to generate green energy including electricity, heat and transport fuels. It also creates bio-fertiliser that can be used in farming and for land regeneration.

By using our food waste to produce this green energy, it reduces our need to use fossil fuels, which are damaging to our wildlife, our health, and our environment, and replaces it with this environmentally friendly alternative that’s sustainable. It’s also cleaner than other energy production processes, meaning it creates fewer greenhouse gases.

Good to know

The average family throws away around £720 of food shopping every year – equivalent to an annual utility bill. Home composting is a great way to recycle food waste items such as vegetable and fruit peelings to teabags and eggshells and our gardens will really thank us for it.

Find out more about setting up home composting

Related content

  • How to set up home composting

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