Food waste

Find out what you have to do with your food waste, as well as how to reduce your food waste and what types of food waste can be recycled.

What to do with your food waste

There are two ways you can dispose of food waste from your home or workplace:

  • some of it can be composted at home
  • all food waste except liquids and fats can be recycled by your council (or at your workplace, by the waste contractor)

You should never put food waste:

  • into your general waste bin
  • down the drain

It costs your council £50 less per tonne to send food waste for recycling than it did to send it to landfill. Before food waste collections began, 125,000 tonnes of food was thrown away each year in Northern Ireland. That’s a potential saving of £6 million per year – money which could be spent on improving public services.

Food waste in landfill doesn't harmlessly rot away - it creates methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide. 

Reducing your food waste

4.2 million tonnes of perfectly good food and drink are thrown away from our homes each year, which adds up to around £200 per person and about £700 per family (or £60 a month). You can find tips on how to reduce your food waste on the Love Food Hate Waste website:

Composting food waste

You can find out what kind of food waste can be composted and more tips on composting on the page below:

Recycling food waste

Most local councils will provide homes and workplaces with a recycling bin (or caddy) to sit in your kitchen and will also provide biodegradable bin liners for it on a regular basis. You can put the following food waste in your caddy:

  • meat and fish - raw or cooked, including bones and skin
  • fruit and vegetables - raw or cooked
  • all non-liquid dairy products
  • eggs including shells
  • bread, cakes and pastries
  • rice, pasta and beans
  • uneaten food from your plates and dishes
  • tea bags and coffee grounds

You cannot put the following waste in your caddy:

  • liquids
  • oil
  • liquid fat

You should not include food packaging in your food waste caddy because your council waste collectors may consider your food waste bin as ‘contaminated’ and refuse to take its contents. Instead you should dispose of it properly, recycling it if you can:

Food waste collections and getting more liners for your caddy

You can line your caddy with newspaper or biodegradable liners. Visit your local council website to find out how they collect food waste for recycling and whether they provide food waste caddies and liners:

More useful links

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