Food waste collection

Food waste is collected from houses in Surrey every week on the same day as your waste or recycling, by your district or borough council.

Visit your local district or borough council’s website to find out what day your food waste is collected, to report a missed collection or if you need to order a replacement caddy. Select your district or borough from the drop down list in the green box to be directed there.

Keep a caddy in your kitchen where you can easily collect and store your food waste (these are supplied by your district or borough council).

When it’s full, just transfer the food waste to your outside food waste bin. Make sure you lock the lid to keep out pests and keep in any unpleasant odours.

All your food waste can go in your kitchen caddy, not just fruit and vegetable peelings, but egg shells, bones, tea bags, coffee grounds and anything past its use-by-date.

Please be careful not to include any packaging (except plastic bags) such ready meal trays, or liquids including milk and cooking oil.

For more information take a look at the full list of what can and can’t be collected.

Your food waste is collected every week on the same day as your general waste or recycling collection. There may be different arrangements if you live in a flat, check your local district or borough council website for more information.

You can line your food waste caddy with plastic bags or liners.

You can use anything from old shopping bags to bread, cereal or salad bags or buy plastic bags on a roll such as pedal bin liners. Please don’t include black bin bags or other food packaging.

It’s best to use plastic bags or liners as it makes it easier and cleaner for you and easier for the collection crew to empty your food bin.

When the food waste is taken to the anaerobic digestion plant machinery splits and removes any bags or liners, including compostable ones. They are taken to an energy from waste plant to be turned into electricity.

Even if you do line your caddy, it is still advisable to wash your kitchen and outside caddies regularly to keep them clean and help avoid any unwanted smells.

After it is collected from your outside food waste bin, your food waste is taken to an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility. Here the liners are removed and taken to an energy from waste plant to be turned into electricity. Through AD, micro-organisms break down the food waste producing biogas which is collected and used to generate electricity, heat and transport fuel. It also creates biofertiliser that can be used in farming and land regeneration.

Find out more about anaerobic digestion.

There are some simple steps you can take to avoid unwanted pests:

  • Empty your kitchen caddy into your outside food waste bin regularly and make sure the lid is locked using the handle – it keeps smells in and means vermin cannot get to your food.
  • Stop flies getting to your food waste where they could lay eggs – simply keep food covered and keep your kitchen caddy lid shut at all times.

Composting is great – it’s the most environmentally friendly way of dealing with your food and garden waste.

However, meat, fish, bones, cooked food and dairy products, which shouldn’t be put in traditional compost bins or heaps, can all be collected from the food waste caddy. If you were to add them to your compost bin or heap instead, which isn’t completely enclosed, they could attract vermin. Alternatively, you can buy food waste digesters which can take all food waste. Find out more about  composting at home.

Bin crews sometimes empty the caddies into a wheelie bin which is just for food waste. It is then all emptied into a special compartment in the bin lorry – which is separate from the other waste or recycling.

Surrey Environment Partnership comprises Surrey County Council and the 11 district and borough councils in Surrey.

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