Food Waste Collection

The majority of councils in Devon offer a weekly food waste collection service or are trialling a new food waste collection.

Food is too good to waste.  Find out if your council offers a food waste collection service here.

Why is food waste a problem?

Globally, 30% of man-made CO2e greenhouse gases are created from the production and consumption of food. UK households throw away 6.5 million tonnes of food every year (4.5 million tonnes of that food is edible). The average family of four can save just over £60 per month by reducing their food waste.  In Devon 30% of black bin waste is mainly food waste.

What is a food waste collection service?

Food waste is collected weekly in a food waste caddy alongside your other waste and recycling services. It is then processed in an anaerobic digestion facility in either Holsworthy or Cannington. The material is broken down in a series of sealed, oxygen free tanks to produce methane, a gas used to generate electricity and digestate, a nutrient rich fertiliser used by local farmers.

What can you put into your food waste caddy?

What can you put into your food waste caddy? Yes please: all cooked and uncooked food waste, bread and pasties, dairy produce, eggshells, fish and bones, fruit and vegetables (including peelings), meat and bones, pasta and rice, tea bags and coffee grounds, uneaten pet food and cut flowers. No thanks: compostable packaging (explained below), garden waste, anything other than what is listed under 'Yes please'.

Top tips:

  • Use a kitchen caddy to store your food waste in your kitchen then transfer the food to your outside caddy
  • Use any reused bag to line your kitchen caddy e.g. an old bread bag, empty salad bag, frozen food bag, old carrier bag, compostable bag or newspaper to keep it clean
  • If you put the handle forward on your outside caddy the lid will lock to help keep the contents secure

What happens to the reused plastic bags or compostable bags used as caddy liners?

They are all removed together from the food waste at the start of the anaerobic digestion process and sent to an Energy from Waste plant. The anaerobic digestion facility cannot distinguish between normal plastic and compostable or biodegradable bags. In fact, it is far better to reuse a normal plastic bag to line your caddy because compostable or biodegradable bags do not break down within the digestion process and can clog up the digester causing extra expense for it to be cleaned out.

Why can’t you put compostable packaging in your food waste collection?

All potential contaminants are removed from the anaerobic digestion process at the start. Like caddy liners or bags, the facility cannot distinguish between normal plastic packaging and compostable packaging.

Want to cut down on food waste and save money?  Go here for help and advice.

Want to know how to compost your food waste at home?  Here’s a handy step by step guide.