Food waste is a valuable resource that can be recycled into compost and fertiliser for agriculture, as well as biogas which can be used to generate electricity or heat.
If food waste goes into a general waste (black) bin, it will end up in landfill. Here the food waste will decompose, producing greenhouse gases including methane. This gas is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming. As a result, emissions from landfilling waste food are ten times higher than emissions from composting waste food. If food waste ends up in a household recycling (blue) bin, the whole load of recycling can be rejected and sent to landfill instead. Find out more about the climate impact of food waste at BBC Future.
By recycling unavoidable food waste in your green bin* from the City Council or composting at home, you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. Food and garden waste from your green bin is taken to the ‘in-vessel’ composting plant at the Amey Waste Management Park near Waterbeach. Here it goes through an intensive and fast composting process, producing soil conditioner which is sold for local agriculture.
* Bin colours vary depending on the local authority. The bin colours mentioned here refer to household bins in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.
Compost unavoidable food waste by using your green bin
Recycle unavoidable food waste in your green bin from Cambridge City Council. All types of food waste can go into your green bin, including:
- All meat, fish and bones (cooked or raw)
- Bread and pastries, dairy products
- Tea bags and leaves, coffee grounds
- Fruit and vegetable peelings
- Plate scrapings and sink strainer scraps.
Find out more on the Cambridge City Council website.
Use a food waste caddy in your kitchen to collect scraps, which you can then empty into your food waste bin. You can line your caddy and bin with newspaper or paper liners to keep it clean but do not use biodegradable plastic-style compost bags as these are not compatible with our composting plant.
Compost unavoidable food waste at home
There are many different ways to break down food waste at home including traditional composting, hot composting and wormeries. They differ in terms of the space and time required. It’s worth spending some time exploring the options to see what works for you.
Recycle Now’s home composting guide: everything you need to know to get you started with home composting.