Food waste

Cartoon food caddy

Recycle your food waste

Food waste that is sent to landfill doesn’t harmlessly breakdown. It has a big impact on the environment as it rots and releases methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Harlow Council makes it easy as 1-2-3 to recycle your food waste:

Step one

The Council has provided you with a small kitchen caddy, which can go on a kitchen worktop or under the sink for easy storage. Please do not leave your food caddy outside.

Step two

Put any food scraps or leftovers into the caddy. To keep your caddy clean we recommend that you use compostable liners, which are available from most supermarkets, or wrap your food waste in newspaper.

Yes please put in your food waste.


Yes please:fruit and vegetables, dairy, meat and bones, fish, tea and coffee grounds, bread and pastries in your food caddy

You can also put in shellfish and egg shells

no thanks do not put in your food waste

Do not put in plastic bags (even if they are biodegradable), glass, can and tins, oyster shells, pet food, liquids or garden waste. If you put in any of these, it is called contamination and the entire contents will go to landfill.

Step three

  • Houses (or low-rise properties) - put the contents of your kitchen caddy in your larger food caddy. Use the locking lid on the larger food caddy and put it out by 7am on your collection day, even if you only have a small amount of food waste..Find out your bin collection dates using the bin collection box.
  • Flats - put the contents of your kitchen caddy into your large communal food waste bin, located in your communal bin area. The lid on the large communal food waste bin is designed to stay closed when not in use and will be emptied weekly. You can use the Recycling and waste bin request form to ask us to clean a communal food waste bin.

Top tips

  • You may like to put a sheet of newspaper in the bottom of your food caddy
  • During the cold weather, you may like to put a drop of oil in the bottom of your larger food caddy to stop food freezing to the bottom.
  • You can clean your food caddy by rinsing it with warm water or wiping with a kitchen towel. Your kitchen caddy is also dishwasher safe up to 65°C.
  • Make sure you put the right things into your food waste caddy or you may get a hanger.

Reduce your waste

What happens to the food waste collected?

Once collected the food waste is taken to an anaerobic digestion plant where gas from the processed waste is used to make green energy which goes to the national grid to power homes. The process also makes a liquid fertiliser used on farm land to help grow more food.

Transcript for food waste video on YouTube