Food waste collections

Questions and answers

There are two major benefits - cost and environmental.

Recycling food waste reduces the cost of disposal, which means more money can be used to deliver other council services.

Food waste can produce large quantities of methane, which is released into the environment as a harmful greenhouse gas. Instead, collecting food waste for recycling means it can be turned into energy to power homes and high quality fertiliser/soil improver for use on agricultural land.

The recycling process for food waste is called anaerobic digestion. It uses micro-organisms to break down food waste in the absence of oxygen, inside an enclosed system.

As it breaks down, it gives off methane, which is collected and converted into biogas and used to generate electricity. It also creates an environmentally friendly soil improver that can be used as a fertiliser for agriculture and in land regeneration.

It's easy to find out. You can use our lookup tool.

No, you can’t request a collection. Following the success of the food waste trial, plans are currently being drawn up to extend the food waste collection service to all households in the borough from Autumn 2023.

If you receive food waste collections, our crews will collect your food waste every week.

Your collection day will be the same day we collect your black wheelie bin or blue bags. You can look up your collection day on our collections calendar.

We encourage every household in Swindon to recycle as much of their waste as possible. Recycling food waste is easy and convenient, so we hope people will want to participate and help improve the environment. 

However, the service will be part of our wider compulsory recycling policy.

You can choose to dispose of food waste loose in your caddy or contained in a liner. You may choose to line your indoor caddy but not your outdoor caddy - in much the same way as you line your kitchen bin, but not your outdoor wheelie bin. 

If you choose to use liners, they must be biodegradable or compostable. You can now find these in most local supermarkets. They are usually coloured green.

Your food waste should not smell if you keep your caddy out of direct sunlight with its lid closed. In hot weather, remember to empty your indoor caddy regularly.

We recommend that you clean your caddies regularly to eliminate mess and reduce the risk of unpleasant smells. You can clean caddies with normal household cleaning products.

Both of your caddies are animal-proof and will lock shut when you push the lid down and hear a 'click'. Gulls, vermin and foxes, for example, will not be able to get into them.

No, the recycling process for garden waste is very different. We offer a separate subscription-based collection service for garden waste.

The caddies are a standard size and all households receive the same supply of one indoor and one outdoor caddy. You can request an additional outdoor food caddy if the amount of food waste your household produces exceeds the capacity of the caddy every week. Order a replacement or additional caddy .

Even though you can now recycle food waste it still comes at a cost to both the environment and the taxpayer. It is always better to avoid producing waste in the first place. For advice on how to reduce your food waste, visit the Love Food Hate Waste website.

The food waste trial was a success and with the help of participants we managed to recycle 838 tonnes of food waste into energy and environmentally friendly fertiliser.

In line with our commitment to a more sustainable future for Swindon, plans are currently being drawn up to extend the food waste collection service to all households in the borough from Autumn 2023.

This means that those who were on the food waste trial now receive food waste collections as part of their standard waste service and should continue to use the service as they have been. We don’t anticipate that we will need to make any changes to the service but if we do, we will be in contact with the households who currently receive collections.

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