Frequently asked questions about food waste collections

Why do I need to sign up to the food waste registration service?

We are improving your food waste collections to make them more efficient and environmentally friendly. If food waste vehicles only have to travel to those households using the food waste service, then this ensures we reduce our carbon footprint.

Register for food waste collections

I signed up but haven’t had a collection yet?

If you are new to the food waste service and ordering a new food waste bin it will take 10 working days for your collections to commence. Collections will start within five working days if you already have a bin.

When will my food waste bin be collected?

Food waste is collected every week. Food waste is collected in a separate vehicle to your recycling and general waste in dedicated food waste vehicles.

Collections happen any time during the day from 6.45 am and food waste collections can take place up until 4:00pm. All bins must be out for collection by 6.45 am on collection day, or the evening before.

I started reusing the collection in April but stopped do I need to sign up?

If you are already regularly using the food waste service, you do not need to sign up and will be automatically signed up. If you haven't used your brown food waste bin for over three weeks you will need to register.

Missed bins

If we don’t empty your food waste container (or any other bins on your normal collection) – please let us know straight away by going to and fill in the online missed collection form.

Remember that only food waste and no packaging should be in your brown food waste container.  

Report a missed bin collection

image of a small brown food waste bin.Why recycle food waste?

If you put your food waste your grey domestic waste bin, it just ends up being landfilled or incinerated. So help Sandwell recycle as much as possible - use your food waste bin today.

Food waste that is collected in your brown bin is turned into fertiliser and energy which is better for the environment.

As well as the environmental benefits, using your food waste bin can help save you money. The average household throws away £480 worth of food a year, and this is even higher for families with children. By using your food waste container, you'll be able to see how much and what types of food you and your family are throwing away and know where you can make changes to your shopping list and save money on your grocery bill.

Another advantage is that if you separate out your food waste and don’t put it in your kitchen bin, it should mean a cleaner and less smelly kitchen bin.

What you can recycle in the food waste bin

You can include all food waste from the home, including leftovers from meals, food that has gone past its use by date, and any other food waste from your kitchen, including the following:

  • meat - raw and cooked, bones
  • fish/shellfish - raw and cooked, including bones and shells
  • eggs and egg products (including egg shells)
  • dairy products (including cheese and yogurts)
  • bread, cakes and other baked goods
  • pasta and rice
  • beans and pulses
  • fruit - raw and cooked
  • salad and vegetables - raw and cooked
  • tea bags (including the bag) and coffee grounds
  • lard and other hard fats
  • tinned and dry pet food
  • small amounts of gravy, sauces or custard left on food (larger amounts should be sluiced down the sink as with milk and fruit juice)
  • any meal leftovers

No packaging please.

What you can't recycle in the food waste bin

Please do not put any of the following materials in your food waste collection -

  • packaging
  • cardboard
  • foil
  • plastic film or plastic bags
  • glass
  • other recycling
  • garden waste
  • straw or other animal bedding
  • liquids

How your food waste is recycled

Food waste collected from your brown bin is taken to a local processing site in Stourbridge. Here it is composted in an enclosed vessel (a bit like a pressure cooker) and broken down naturally by bacteria. A by-product of this process is biogas which is used to create energy and you are left with a rich fertiliser which is used by farmers to help grow more food.

How to keep food waste collection containers clean

You can keep your food waste containers clean by lining them with newspaper or kitchen roll.

You can also purchase compostable liners which are available from major retailers. Look out for the compostable logo on them that confirms they are suitable and can be processed in the food waste composting/recycling process.

Please do not use plastic bags for food waste - these can't be composted so will not be accepted.

Empty the caddy into your brown bin regularly.

Both an indoor caddy and outdoor containers can be washed out using hot soapy water, white vinegar or disinfectant to keep them clean. Alternatively, the smaller caddy can be placed in the dishwasher (max 60 degrees C).

How to stop pests/animals getting into your food waste container

Ensure the lid to your brown food waste container is fully closed to help keep it clean, free from odours and safe from animals getting in. When the handle is turned backwards over the lid, it is in the locked position.