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Food waste | Sandwell Council

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Food waste

Food waste collections are currently suspended

Food waste is collected from homes in Sandwell on a weekly basis. 

Your brown outdoor food waste container should be out at the same time as your other bins, by 6.45am on collection day at the edge of your property.

Please make sure that your brown food waste container can be easily seen.  Ideally it can be placed on top of your blue lid recycling bin and clearly numbered.  

The service is not currently provided for those in flats, apartments and properties with communal bin stores.

Why recycling food waste

Brown bin container image

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.

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 www.sandwell.gov.uk/reportit 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 missed bin collection

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 confirmsCompostable 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.

Why food waste is collected in the same collection vehicle as your blue lid recycling

Food waste is collected at the same time as the blue lid recycling but kept separate on a specially designed vehicle. This vehicle has a separate section (called a pod) that is located between the drivers cab and the recycling storage section. Food waste is kept separate throughout the collection process.

The food waste pod lift mechanism can only empty a wheeled bin type/sized container, not the small 23 litre sized food waste outdoor container. This means that your separated food waste is decanted into a 240 litre wheeled bin along with food waste from other homes on your street. This wheeled bin is then emptied into the food waste pod keeping it completely separate from the blue lid recycling collection.

We use the same colour bin as the general waste bins for this but we can assure you your food waste is recycled.

New bins

If you need a food waste bin, you can order one here.