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Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Recycling More Together

Food waste: questions answered


This page will be updated regularly so check back to see the latest information, or you can sign-up to get updates on the new service by email.

About the new service

When the new recycling services start in September 2019 we will be collecting food waste every week. Weekly collections will help minimise smells and flies.

Collecting food waste separately means it can be processed using heat to break down the waste and kill off any bacteria so it can be composted and returned to use as a soil improver.

When food waste is sent to landfill, air cannot get to the organic waste. Therefore as the waste breaks down it creates a harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which damages the Earth's atmosphere.

The new food waste collection service will start from Monday 30 September.

Your food waste will be collected separately every week and stored in a lockable bin which will help to minimise smells and flies.

Food waste is also processed differently from garden waste. Food waste will be processed by In Vessel composting at Blaise Farm in West Malling. This process uses heat to breakdown the food waste which prevents the release of the greenhouse gas, methane, that damages the Earth's atmosphere.

We will deliver a 5 litre kitchen caddy and a 23 litre food bin. Food waste can be scraped into the small kitchen caddy and when full, the contents can be emptied into the larger 23L food bin for collection.

Present your 23 litre black and orange food bin every week for collection alongside your domestic waste or recycling bin, on the boundary in your usual place. Please make sure your food bin is visible from the road.

You may see the collection crews emptying the food bins into a wheeled bin as they walk along – this is called a ‘slave’ bin and will be emptied using the automatic lifting equipment on the lorry when it is full.

If you live in a flat and you have your own wheeled bins you will be able to have food bins.

If you have communal bins, we will be looking to introduce a communal food waste collection after the initial roll out of the new food waste service in September.

If your property is unsuitable for wheeled bins, you can still have a food waste collection.

The 5 litre kitchen caddy is designed to be kept on a kitchen work surface or under the sink.

The 23 litre container takes up about as much space as a pair of adult size Wellington boots.

If you currently receive an assisted collection, you will automatically receive it for the food waste service.

If you are having difficulty putting your bins on your boundary for collection and need assistance you can let us know online.

Your new food waste bin

All raw and cooked food waste including leftovers, spoilt and mouldy food:

  • Meat and fish – raw and cooked including bones
  • Dairy products such as hard and soft cheeses and yoghurt
  • Raw and cooked vegetables and fruit
  • Bread, cakes and pastries
  • Rice, pasta and beans
  • Tea leaves, Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Pet food

Please remove all packaging from food.

We will not be able to collect your food waste bin if it contains any of the following:

  • Non-food products/materials
  • Packaging of any sort
  • Plastic bags
  • Oils and liquids
  • Animal faeces

23L orange and black food waste bin and a 5L kitchen caddy

Residents will be issued with a small 5 litre caddy to use indoors and a larger 23 litre food caddy which can be kept outside.

The larger caddy will have a lockable lid so it cannot be opened by animals.

You don’t need to use a liner in your food waste bin as it can rinsed out after use and is dishwasher safe up to 60°C.

You can use a paper bag if you wish or line it with newspaper or kitchen roll.

You can also use compostable corn-starch liners in the kitchen caddy, look out for the Seedling compostable logo and the EN13432 number.

Compostable caddy liners are available in most supermarkets and online.

Please don’t use any plastic bags, we will not be able to empty food bins with any plastic inside.

The 5 litre kitchen caddy is designed to be kept on a kitchen work surface or under the sink.

However, if you do not want to use the kitchen caddy, then you can empty your food waste directly into your 23 litre food waste bin outside.

The 23 litre container takes up about as much space as a pair of adult size Wellington boots.

You can minimise the risk of animals or maggots getting into your bin by locking the lid of your outside food bin.

The bin can be locked by moving the handle to the forward position.

You can also help to minimise the risk by rinsing your food waste bin out after use. The food waste bin and food caddy are both dishwasher safe up to 60°C.

Please note if wet pet food is left out prior to disposal it can become a breeding ground for flies and therefore could cause maggots.

We would ask that you try the new service first to see if the 23 litre food waste bin is suitable for you needs.


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