Things you may not know about Food Waste recycling

Did you know that wasting food feeds climate change?

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We want to challenge and support our residents to understand the true value of food and to reduce their food waste to as close to zero as possible!

Unbelievably, UK households waste 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year - this is enough to fill 38 million wheeled bins or 90 Royal Albert Halls. In Hounslow alone, almost half of resident's kerbside refuse bins are made up of food waste and over 20% of food found in food waste bins across the borough was avoidable and could have been eaten!

Wasting food is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. When we throw away food that could have been eaten, we are not just wasting food but the valuable resources that went into making it.

This includes water, land, and greenhouse gases. We have the power to change this, the average family of four can save just over £60 per month by reducing their food waste. Reducing your food waste is good for the planet and good for your wallet, what's not to like?

Did you know:

  • Every day the equivalent of 20 million slices of bread are thrown away in UK homes! This could have fed breakfast to 10 million people! A year's worth of wasted bread slices laid end to end, could circle the earth 28 times!! Keep your bread fresher for longer - freeze this and only take out slices when you need them!
  • Around 3 million glasses of milk are thrown away in the UK each day. This means that, every year 36,500 cows are producing milk that is going down the drain.
  • If everyone in London recycled one banana skin, we could generate enough electricity to charge 16,616,738 mobile phones.

What can you do differently? Some small changes you can make that will make a big difference include:

  • Before you shop, plan out your meals so you only buy what you need. Love Food Hate Waste have created a portion calculator and planner to help you understand the amount of food you need to buy and cook for each meal without wasting any. Portion Planner | Love Food Hate Waste
  • Use up leftovers. Create new, tasty recipes using your leftover food. Recipes | Love Food Hate Waste
  • Check your fridge temperature. Turning the fridge down to 5 degrees or lower can keep your food fresher for longer.
  • Understand the difference between 'use by' and 'best before'. Best before' refers to quality, it means your food will be at its best before the date given. After this date it may not be at its 'best' but it is still safe to eat. 'Use by' refers to safety. You must not eat food past the 'use by' date.
  • Freeze what you won't eat. It is safe to freeze food right up to and including the 'use by' date. Hit the pause button on food you haven't had time to eat.
  • Recycle your unavoidable food waste. Use your food waste caddy to dispose of all unavoidable food waste - plate scrapings, fruit and veg peel etc. Don't have one? You can order one here - Order an additional or replacement container | London Borough of Hounslow

For more tips on how you can help visit Food Waste Action Week | Love Food Hate Waste

Some charities/organisations that are helping in the fight against food waste: 

Home | Surplus to Supper - They are bridging the gap between food waste and food poverty.

OLIO - The #1 Free Sharing App ( -  Local people giving away food & other household items to their neighbours, all for free.

Join our Food Waste Movement | Too Good To Go - Purchase a 'Magic Bag' of food that would be going to waste in local cafes, restaurants, hotels, shops and supermarkets that hasn't sold in time.

What are we doing to help?

In Hounslow, our Climate Emergency Action plan encourages local food production through community growing projects.

In early 2020 we set an ambitious target to roll out a weekly food waste recycling service to 24,000 high rise properties and schools by the end of 2022 (75% of all high rise properties in the Borough). We are proud to say that we have exceeded this target and have rolled this service out to 24,100 households across 218 sites. To date we have collected over 588 tonnes of food waste, generating more than £57,000 in savings.

Want to see communal food waste recycling at your flat?

To increase uptake and participation, we are the first London Borough to introduce an innovative bin wash and swap service as part of our communal food waste recycling collections. We collect a full food waste bin weekly and replace this with a clean empty bin. The full bin is taken to our transfer station, emptied and put through a bin wash (similar to a large scale dishwasher). This has addressed concerns around cleanliness from both residents and managing agents.

Please email with your name, address and managing agent details for us to engage with.

How do I recycle my food waste and what happens to it?

For all unavoidable food waste - tea bags, coffee grounds, potato peelings, chicken bones, banana skins etc you should put these into your food waste caddy to be recycled. You can order one here Order an additional or replacement container | London Borough of Hounslow

Once collected as part of your weekly recycling collection your food waste is taken by a specialist contractor called Bio Collectors to an anaerobic digester facility in Mitcham (in vehicles powered by food waste itself) where it produces methane gas and bio-fertiliser.

  • The methane gas is classified as renewable energy and is used to generate electricity and heat - which goes back into the national grid.
  • The bio-fertiliser is used by farmers to replace artificial fertilisers, which have a significant environmental impact.

Image of Food Waste Collections and information on what gets collected and what doesnt get collected in your food waste bin.

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