Food waste recycling

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 order a food caddy, find out what day your food waste is collected, to report a missed collection or if you need to order a replacement caddy.

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 cooked and uncooked 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.

Take a look at our full list below of what can and can’t be collected.

Yes please:

  • All uneaten food and plate scrapings
  • Ready meals (without packaging)
  • Mouldy foods or foods that have passed their use-by dates
  • Meat and fish including bones, skins and gristle (raw and cooked)
  • Bread, pastries, cakes and scones
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Raw and cooked vegetables
  • Fruit – whole or cut
  • Peelings, stones, pips and cores
  • Salad
  • Rice, pasta and beans
  • Dairy products including egg shells
  • Pet food

No thank you:

  • Packaging of any kind except plastic bags
  • Cling film
  • Cardboard or paper
  • Liquids like oils, fats, and milk
  • Pet bedding
  • Any other material that is not food waste

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.

Once recycled food waste creates bio-fertiliser and biogas, used to  generate electricity, heat and transport fuel. Find out more.

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.

Surrey residents can buy discounted hot composter products all year round from two suppliers. We also run regular sales of standard compost bins and hot composters. Visit the buy a compost bin section of our website for details.

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.