Food waste trial

Residents tell us that they would like to recycle as much as possible, and it's something we're keen to improve on. By introducing food waste recycling to flats, we hope it could help us reach our target of recycling 60 per cent of the borough’s waste.

The food waste trial will involve a selected sample of flats in Dacorum, and will last for a period of three months. All flats taking part will be provided with a communal brown-lidded wheeled bin, which will be clearly stamped with ‘food waste only’ and situated in the normal bin areas. In addition, residents will receive a food waste trial package, consisting of a kitchen caddy, a caddy sticker, a roll of caddy liners and a food waste trial guide.

As soon as the food waste trial packages are delivered in the middle of July the trial will begin. It will end in the middle of October. After this, collections from the communal bin area will stop and you'll be given a short survey to provide us with your feedback.

Food waste recycling is already popular with householders in Dacorum. This trial will help us to understand whether those residents living in flats have an appetite for food waste recycling, too. Your participation in the trial is greatly appreciated.

Why recycle food waste?

Even if you think that you don't create much food waste, once you have a separate container for it, the results are surprising. Even the most conscientious food users are still likely to have teabags, fruit cores and skins, vegetable peelings, fish skin or meat bones to get rid of.

Just six recycled teabags can produce enough electricity to boil a kettle – so every little helps!

There are lots of important reasons why we should all be recycling food waste:

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  • It helps the environment

    Putting food waste in general rubbish is bad for the environment as it breaks down into harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. However, recycled food waste is converted into electricity and fertiliser, which is good for the environment as it helps reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and chemical fertilisers.

  • It saves money
    Recycling food waste makes your council tax go further, as it costs less to recycle food waste than it does to dispose of it with your general waste. If every home in Dacorum recycled just one teabag per week, nearly 50 tonnes could be diverted from disposal each year, saving around £3,000 of council tax-payers’ money. 
  • It’s convenient
    By keeping food waste separate, the general waste bin in your home will be less smelly and need to be emptied less regularly. The food waste kitchen caddy helps to keep a lid on smells and can be emptied quicker and easier than a large bin bag.
  • It allows you to recycle more
    Food typically makes up a third of household waste. Introducing food waste recycling in flats means that you have the opportunity to recycle even more of your household waste. We have a target of recycling 60 per cent of the borough’s waste in total - we are currently on 51 per cent.

Taking part in the food waste trial is an important opportunity to make your voice heard, be more environmentally friendly, help the borough become greener and help shape the way forward for your local community.

What do I need to do?

In order to make the trial a success, we simply need you to:

  • Recycle all of your food waste in your kitchen caddy and communal brown-lidded bin.
  • Ensure you only recycle food – no other material should go in your caddy or communal brown-lidded bins (except for the caddy liners)
  • Complete a short feedback survey at the end of the trial telling us how you got on.

Everyone in the trial who completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw.

How to recycle food waste

We recommend that you store your food waste caddy in an easily accessible place in your kitchen - for example, on the side, windowsill, by your kitchen bin or under the sink.

Step 1: Line your kitchen caddy

Your free roll of liners will provide you with two liners per week for the three-month trial.

You can also line your caddy with any plastic bag, corn-starch bag or newspaper. We recommend reusing plastic grocery bags, which would typically be thrown away in your general waste - for example, those from your bread, salad, cereal, frozen produce or fruit and vegetables. (Please note: this does not include other plastics, such as hard plastic containers, pots, tubs or trays.)

Lining a Food Waste Caddy

Step 2: Recycle your food waste correctly

Your kitchen caddy is for all food waste, whether raw or cooked, such as:

  • Teabags and coffee grounds
  • Dairy
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Fish
  • Meat and bones
  • Plate scrapings
  • Bread and pastries 

The following items cannot go in your caddy:

  • No liquids
  • No fats/oils
  • No packaging (for example - wrappers, pots, trays, boxes, labels and netting)
  • No flowers
  • No pet bedding

Step 3: Empty your kitchen caddy regularly

Once full, simply tie a knot in the top of your caddy liner and carry to your communal brown-lidded bin, which will be stored with your normal bins. If you’re concerned about spills along the way, you could carry your whole kitchen caddy down – it has a carrying handle.

Food Waste Recycling Process

That’s it - your brown-lidded communal bin will be emptied weekly.

One of the elements of the trial is testing how many brown-lidded bins are required per block of flats. If you feel that your bin is getting too full before it is emptied, please let us know.

Frequently asked questions

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  • Why don’t flats currently have food waste recycling?

    It can often be difficult to establish recycling processes in flats, due to the differences in space availability and bin area locations. As such, we've been focusing on improving the collection of dry, mixed recycling first, before moving on to food waste recycling.

    The success of the trial will depend on the households taking part showing us that they have an appetite for food waste recycling and using their bins correctly. This is why your participation is very important and greatly appreciated.

  • What happens at the end of the trial?

    At the end of the trial you'll be asked to complete a short survey. All those who take part in the trial and complete the survey will be entered into a prize draw.

    The brown-lidded communal food waste bins will be removed from your outdoor bin areas. However, we ask that you keep hold of the kitchen caddies for possible future use. Whilst not being used for food waste, they can be cleaned and used as storage containers (possible for foods such as potatoes and onions, that prefer the dark).

    If the trial is a success, then food waste recycling will begin again on a permanent basis. You will be notified if this is the case.

    We will also let you know if the trial is not successful and we decide not to continue rolling out food waste recycling.

  • How do I care for my kitchen caddy?

    To keep your caddy as clean as possible, always use a liner.

    You can place a piece of folded up kitchen roll at the bottom of your caddy to absorb moisture.

    Change the liner before the caddy gets too full to prevent food waste sticking to the inside of the lid. This also helps when tying the liner up during emptying, and will reduce the risk of the bag splitting.

    Empty and wash your caddy regularly with hot water and soap – they are dishwasher friendly.

  • Why can I use a plastic liner with my food waste?

    On arrival at the anaerobic digestion facility, food waste is passed through some machinery before the recycling process begins. This machinery removes the liners and separates them – these are then sent to an Energy from Waste (EFW) facility.

    Your general waste is sent to either landfill or an EFW facility. This is why we encourage the re-use of ‘unavoidable’ plastic grocery bags to line caddies. Either way, these plastic bags will have the same end point, but by re-using non-recyclable soft plastic bags, they are at least being given another purpose before being disposed of.

  • What happens to the food waste once it is collected?

    Food waste is sent to an anaerobic digestion facility where it is turned into energy and fertiliser. The food is broken down naturally by bacteria in an oxygen-starved environment. This produces biogas, which is cleaned and fed into the national gas grid.

    The liquid residue, called digestate, is used to fertilise local farmland. Excess energy and water from the food recycling process is reused on site at the facility.

    Learn more about what happens to your recycling.

  • The food waste bin in my communal area is full, how do I get it emptied?

    The communal brown-lidded food waste bins will be emptied once a week.

    If your communal brown-lidded food waste bin/s are too full, please email r4d@dacorum.gov.uk and let them know that you are part of the food waste trial.

    Bin capacity is one of the factors being tested in the trial, and so if your bin is getting too full between collections, it is important that we know about this.

  • How do I waste less food?

    There are lots of ways we can waste less food. The average household could save £60 a month by reducing their food waste.

    We proudly support the Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) campaign. Wasting food is a waste of money, as well as the resources and energy that went into producing, packaging and transporting it. The LFHW website is full of information, advice and recipes that can help us all to save money and save food.

    The best methods for reducing food waste are:

    • Check your cupboards, fridge and freezer regularly to use up food you already have in store
    • Write a weekly meal plan
    • Make a shopping list for what you need (after carrying out the above two steps)
    • Store your items correctly once you get them home (for example, is your fridge the right temperature?)
    • Cook only what you need – there is plenty of advice online about portion planning
    • Understand dates on food packaging – ‘best before’ dates are not the same as ‘use by’ dates.
    • Store and freeze leftovers, and plan on using them up in your meal plan.

    Each year we run a Food Waste Challenge – if you would like to register your interest in this, please email r4d@dacorum.gov.uk.

Contact us

If you have a query that hasn't been answered on this page, please email r4d@dacorum.gov.uk and mention that you are taking part in the food waste trial when submitting your query.

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