Dawn In The Surrey Hills

Food waste

AreaFood waste per household (kg)
Epsom & Ewell77
Mole Valley83
Reigate & Banstead84
Surrey Heath104

How much food waste was produced?

93,414 tonnes of food waste was produced in 2020-21. However, only 46.2% of it was put into food caddies to be recycled, with the rest going into rubbish bins. Food waste is the biggest single area where residents can make a difference to the environment and to council savings. If all the food waste that was put into rubbish bins in 2020-21 had been recycled, it would have saved Surrey councils an incredible £4 million!

What happens to Surrey’s food waste?

When residents separate food waste and put it in an outdoor food waste bin, it is collected by bin crews and then taken to a facility in Surrey. Here, any caddy liners are removed. The remaining food goes into a big, oxygen-free container in which micro-organisms break it down and turn it into fertiliser. While this happens, it releases biogas. This process is called anaerobic digestion. The fertiliser is then used on local farms where it is spread onto crops to help new things grow. The biogas is turned into electricity, which is sold to the national grid and used to power homes, businesses and streetlights. The caddy liners are sent to an energy from waste facility to be turned into electricity.

How can Surrey residents reduce their food waste?

While recycling food waste is the most environmentally friendly thing to do with it, it would be better if it wasn’t produced in the first place. It is estimated that an average family of four could save £60 a month by reducing their food waste, not to mention the environmental benefits that it would bring.

How can Surrey residents recycle more of their food waste?

All food waste can be recycled by using a caddy. Using one and keeping food waste out of rubbish bins is a great way to stop rubbish bins smelling between collections. Food waste is collected weekly and caddies are much easier to rinse out to get rid of any odours. To order a food caddy, contact your local council. Alternatively, residents can use a compost bin or a hot composter to compost some or all of their food waste at home. Check SEP’s website for details of regular sales of compost bins and hot composters.

See also

Surrey’s target


70% of Surrey’s waste should be recycled.