Feeding a green future for Hounslow through food waste recycling

A project that supports Hounslow residents who live in flats to recycle their food waste has seen almost 600 tonnes recycled so far. At the same time it has generated savings of £54,000.

Published: Monday, 22nd August 2022

Workers recycling food waste.
Flat out recycling: Hounslow's recycling teams are helping residents recycle their food waste.

A project aimed at increasing food waste recycling rates in Hounslow is proving to have all the ingredients for success. 

In early 2020, Hounslow Council set an ambitious target to provide a food-waste collection service to 24,000 flats by the end of 2022. To date, they have provided this service to 16,794 households across 137 sites and are on track to exceed this target.

 And while it is still a work in progress, the scheme has already generated savings of almost £54,000 in disposal costs and has sent more than 588 tonnes of food waste for recycling.

The mission was simple - to make it as easy, accessible and clean as possible for residents living in flats to recycle their food waste. The Council partnered with West London Waste Authority and its waste collection partner, Recycle 360, to implement new initiatives that would stop leftovers going in the rubbish bin.

Flats make up around 32 per cent of housing stock in the borough with around 35,000 properties. The benefits of introducing food waste recycling for these residents were numerous! Most significantly, making residents more aware of the amount of food wasted, leading to changes in behaviour to achieve a reduction of food waste. Food waste is also a big contributor to Carbon Dioxide emissions - getting it right also supports the Councils ambitions around climate change. To date, the project has cut more than 5,000kgs of carbon dioxide emissions.

To drive participation, a fully operational state-of-the-art bin wash was built (similar to a large-scale dishwasher). A full bin is collected from each site weekly and replaced with a clean bin. Solving the main issue of dirty/smelly bins reported in residents’ feedback. Hounslow is the first London borough to introduce this innovative and successful service.

The Councils recycling team and its partners have engaged with residents throughout the project and communicated the aims and objectives. 

The residents have been active partners in the programme, giving feedback and suggestions which have been taken on board to improve the service throughout the roll out.

The scheme has proved a hit with housing associations and managing agents of the flats involved in the roll-out, here’s what some had to say:

Krystal Skelton, from Notting Hill Genesis, said: “Residents have found this service really helpful and useful as it not only is a more efficient way of food disposal but keeps the other bins cleaner/tidier from food scraps. Residents support the initiative and think it’s a great idea that should be implemented across other developments.”

While Janine Ford from Haus Block Management, said: “From our experience from the start when this option of food bins was presented to us for our block to delivery was super-fast and very professional. We have since not had any issues with these being collected regularly as promised and our residents have not complained once.

This is most definitely a great recycling option for all blocks to consider providing they are used correctly.”

Hounslow Councils Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Operational Services, Councillor Guy Lambert, said: The food waste recycling project is one of those ideas that makes perfect sense. No one wants to see food going to waste. We especially dont want to see it going into an energy from waste site. As a borough, we cannot afford it.”

Cllr Lambert added: “It is clear that there is an appetite amongst our residents to recycle more food waste than ever before. That is why we have listened to what they have had to say. We have understood the barriers they face in recycling their food waste and made every effort to remove them. This is why we have introduced innovations such as the bin washing service, which have been so successful.”

This partnership approach has paid dividends for us and we are seeing more food waste than ever before being converted into energy or made into environmentally-friendly fertiliser for the agricultural industry.”

“Of course, we would prefer less food to be wasted but it is so much better for everyone for unavoidable food waste, scraps, peelings, and leftovers to be taken away every week and put to good use to produce renewable energy and bio-fertiliser.”

We are extremely proud of the progress we have all made so far and look forward to the food waste collection service being rolled out to all flats in the borough.

”Our aim is to get everyone in our borough who lives in a flat to join up and take part in the scheme. By signing up to the scheme you will be helping to reduce waste, cut costs and protect the environment.”

  • Residents living in flats who would like food waste recycling can contact recycling@hounslow.gov.uk 
  • Please provide your full address and the name and contact details of your managing agent. 
rating button