Rubbish Facts: Food Waste

You asked us your food waste questions

We’re starting a new series where we are busting some myths and giving you the facts about your recycling in Bristol. Our first instalment is all about food waste; those unavoidable bits of food that you can’t eat and the leftovers that were in your fridge way too long.

We love hearing the questions you have about your recycling. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, let us know on Facebook or Twitter at @BristolWaste!


Q: How is Bristol’s food waste recycled?

A: Great question! Bristol’s food waste is processed by an ‘anaerobic digester’, essentially a giant stomach, at GENeco in Avonmouth. The food waste is broken down to produce methane which is then burnt to produce electricity and gas for the area. Methane from the decomposition process is used to provide gas to 6,500 homes to Bristol residents and the processed food waste is turned into a fertiliser for farmers.

Our Community Engagement Team visited the processing plant last year – read about their visit


Q: Is it best to line the brown food bin with a carrier bag and put food in that, or should I use the kitchen caddy with compostable bags?

A: There are pros and cons to each approach, but firstly we should say that whether you choose to use the kitchen caddy or not, compostable bags are not required in order to recycle your food. GENeco has begun to separate any plastic from the food before it enters the anaerobic digester.

Using your kitchen caddy means that the small amount of food waste it contains is kept inside, which may be a wee bit smelly. Though that means you don’t have to bring plate scrapings out to the larger bin.

Using the bin on it’s own is simply fine too – though be aware that animals may want to try to get in your bin if the food waste is open inside the bin. Be sure to use the locking handle and keep the bin in a place where animals will have a hard time getting to it.


Q: Can you put dead animals (e.g. round rats and mice or dead laying chickens) in the food waste bin?

A: The gifts your cat brings you cannot go into the food waste bin. Instead, please place these in with your refuse.
For larger animals, please let us know and we will collect them.


Q: I am launching a new business and will need food waste collections. Can Bristol Waste help?

A: Absolutely! Our commercial business would be more than happy to chat with you about your food waste and recycling needs. Contact us at 0800 061 4321.


Would you consider home composting?

Q: I want to try my hand at composting! Do Bristol Waste collect?

A: We love the fact that more and more Bristolians are getting into composting! It’s a great alternative to recycling your food and will help give nutrient-rich gift for your garden. Bristol Waste does not collect compost from residential properties, however you can purchase a home composter from Bristol City Council and start turning egg shells and vegetable peelings into some food for your plants!


Q: Can you put used kitchen roll in the food waste bin?

A: Small amounts of used kitchen roll are fine to put in your food waste bin, however if you have a full roll to dispose of, please use your refuse bin.


Q: I’ve heard that tea bags can contain a small trace of plastic, is it ok to add them to the food waste bin?

A: It is perfectly fine to add teabags into your food waste. Plastic used to seal the teabags is such a low amount that it does not have an impact on the anaerobic digestion process.


As always, please share your burning recycling questions with us so we can share the responses here. If you have a question that hasn't been answered, let us know on Facebook or Twitter at @BristolWaste!