Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the exciting campaign encouraging Bristol residents and families to recycle their food waste rather than putting it in their black wheelie bin

What is the campaign about?

Following a successful trial campaign in the Hartcliffe area that saw a 9% increase in households using brown food caddies, a 87% increase in food waste collected as well as a 10% reduction of general waste in wheelie bins, we are expanding the Slim My Waste - Feed My Face food waste awareness campaign citywide.

The playful campaign encourages Bristol residents to use their food waste bin and kitchen caddy by giving them a personality with faces.

Residents will receive campaign literature, including face stickers, through their letter box at the same time that their black wheelie bins are put on a ‘No Food Diet’. Black wheelie bins across the city will be adorned with a bright yellow measuring tape and a sticker on the lid declaring they are on a ‘No Food Waste Diet’, encouraging residents to remember not to use their black wheelie bin for their food waste.


Why is this campaign important?

Statistics show that nearly 25% of the average residential black bin in Bristol is made up of food waste.

Recycling your food waste is better for the environment, saves the city money and produces a useful resource – energy! The food waste that is put into your brown food bin is turned into electricity and gas, and currently powers 6,500 homes in Avonmouth. The food waste that ends up in your black wheelie bin costs over £100 per tonne to dispose of in landfill. If up to a quarter of this waste could be recycled instead, this would save money that could be used to fund other essential services for residents.

Finally, we have heard from residents that not everyone knows they can recycle their food waste. We hope that Slim My Waste – Feed My Face raises awareness that we offer a free, weekly food waste collection service from the kerbside.


Where will the campaign be focusing?

All Bristol households with individual wheeled bins will be part of the campaign. Homes are not being individually targeted or selected – we can all do more to slim our waste! Flats with mini recycling centres will join in on the fun later this summer after we ensure the buildings have the facilities to collect food waste.


When will the campaign be running?

The campaign launched in early June and will be rolled out across the city over a period of six weeks. But the campaign to reduce food waste never ends – if you ever have any questions, need assistance or new containers to help you recycle your food waste please get in touch.


How do I get involved?

Turn your food waste bin into a friendly face with the stickers provided and start recycling as much of your food waste as possible. if you need a food waste bin or kitchen caddie, visit and order your bin and it will be delivered directly to you.

Share a photo of your food waste friend on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #SlimMyWaste or #FeedMyFace and you’ll be entered to win a weekly prize!


How do I use my food waste bin?

It’s simple!

1. Keep your smaller caddy in an accessible place in the kitchen, like under the sink!
2. Line the caddy with newspaper, a compostable liner or a plastic bag to keep it clean. You are now able to use plastic bags in your food waste caddy – this is just one of the ways we’re trying to make recycling easier. Why not use up an old carrier bag or use the plastic bag your bread or other groceries come in.
3. Put all your food waste into the lined caddy.
4. When it’s full, or just before collection day, tie the liner/bag or roll up the newspaper and place it in the larger food waste bin that you can keep outdoors.
5. Place the large food waste bin out for collection every week at the kerbside with your black and green boxes. Simply by doing this you are helping to generate gas and electricity for the city as well as saving money for the city.


What can go into my food waste bin?

Any food waste that you have! This includes all cooked or uncooked food, unavoidable food waste such as coffee grounds or egg shells, plate scrapings, meat and dairy products. For full details on what can go into the food waste bin, download our Recycling at Home Guide!


What shouldn’t go into my food waste bin?

General household waste, compostable packaging, cardboard and garden waste are examples of what shouldn’t go into your food waste bin. If you are unsure whether an item should go into the brown food waste bin, just ask!


Doesn’t it all just get sent to the same place anyway?

No. 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. General waste, on the other hand, is either sent to landfill, for further processing or is sent for recovery.


How can I avoid foxes or birds getting into my food waste bin?

Wildlife can be attracted to food waste bins due to the smell. The handle of the large food bin can be locked by pulling straight upwards. By locking the food bin, animals should not be able to get to the food.


I would like to recycle my food, but I can’t get over the smell!

There is no getting around it – food waste can get smelly. However, using your brown food waste bin keeps the smells to a minimum since it is collected each week. Rotting food (which creates the smells!) happens when it’s left to decompose for longer, which would be the case if you put it into your general waste which is collected fortnightly. By recycling, you get rid of the food waste faster so there is less chance of it getting smelly - we can’t help you with the garlic or stinky cheese, though!


I have young children, food waste is inevitable.

Not only with children, other food waste items like egg shells and tea bags are inevitable. There is no doubt that children like to enjoy their food with all their senses, and sometimes that means more food ends up on the floor than in their mouths. What we’re concerned about is that when that slice of toast gets thrown from their highchair or a half-eaten apple is abandoned – it gets put into your brown food bin rather than the general waste.


I want to recycle my food but find compostable liners are too expensive.

Compostable liners aren’t required, you can use your spare plastic bags or even an empty bread bag. Out of bags? Newspaper is a great alternative, or go liner free and give your caddie a quick rinse once it's emptied.


Can I compost my food waste at home or on my allotment?

Composting is a great way to turn a waste product into a resource! Leftover food can become a nutrient-rich fertiliser for your garden. However, most compost bins are not suitable for meat and dairy products and some cooked foods. All of this can be put into your food waste caddy. If you already compost, see using your food waste bin as a supplement rather than a replacement to your current efforts.


Food rots wherever you put it, so why does recycling matter?

When food, or any other biodegradable waste, breaks down it produces methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The methane produced from waste rotting in a landfill is released straight into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change causing gases in the atmosphere.

Food sent for recycling breaks down in an anaerobic digester, which is like a giant stomach. The methane released is captured and burnt to produce electricity. Recycling your food not only stops the methane from entering the atmosphere, it also becomes a source of energy for the city.


I’m missing a food waste bin and/or kitchen caddy

You can easily order a food waste bin or kitchen caddy via the Council’s website and we’ll deliver it straight to you. Visit and click on the “Deliver My Bin” button to go to the delivery request form. If you do not have access to the internet, you may also call Bristol City Council's customer service team on 0117 922 2100.


I didn’t receive my stickers

We are sending stickers to every household in Bristol with a kerbside collection over a six-week period, you will receive them at the same time as we sticker your black bin as part of this campaign. If you think we have missed your property, please get in touch with us on 0117 304 9022.


Why have you used plastic stickers over more eco-friendly options?

As a waste and recycling company Bristol Waste is very aware of the issues around single-use plastic, and when purchasing anything we seek out an environmentally friendly option where possible.

In this instance the success of the trial project meant that, when approaching the citywide campaign, we were keen to replicate exactly the same materials used (i.e. tape measure and face stickers) as these proved to be a vital component of the trial. These stickers are for outdoor use where durability is essential, something we could not source as a low-cost eco-friendly material.

However, we acknowledge that this has involved the use of plastic which is something we would like to avoid. We promise to continue to do our very best to source more sustainable materials for future campaigns and we will work with local suppliers and partners to see if we can come up with a sensibly priced, durable, environmentally friendly alternative. 

I live in a block of flats, how are we involved?

The first stage of the campaign will focus on homes that receive a kerbside collection service. Flats with mini recycling centres will join in on the fun later this summer after we ensure the buildings have the facilities to collect food waste.


Our block of flats doesn’t even have a food waste bin

Not all blocks of flats and properties with a mini recycling centre currently have food waste bins. We will be working with landlords and management companies to review this in the near future with the aim to provide all Bristol residents access to a food waste recycling service.


Is my black wheelie bin being taken away?

No. The campaign simply aims to draw people’s attention to the amount of food waste being put in black bins and highlight the benefits of using the food waste collection service instead.


Isn’t this campaign a waste of time and money?

The cost of treating general waste is significantly higher that treating food waste in Bristol. Redirecting the food waste from the black bin (nearly a staggering 25%!) to food waste treatment is incredibly important for the environment and will save the city money in the long run.

Considering the huge expense of collecting and treating the quarter of black bin waste that could actually be diverted to the food waste steam this campaign is money well spent. The aim is to engage people from all walks of life in thinking about their food, what we waste and how we deal with that waste. We ran a very successful trial in the Hartcliffe area in October 2017 and now it’s time to expand these social, environmental and economic benefits to the city as a whole.


How much does this campaign cost?

The cost of the Slim My Waste campaign boils down to less than £1 per household, and the environmental and cost saving benefits significantly outweigh this cost. In the month following the trial campaign in Hartcliffe, we saw a 87% increase in food waste being recycled and an overall 10% reduction in general waste.

The success of the trial identified a real opportunity for cost savings by encouraging residents to move food waste out of disposal  via their black general waste bins and into recycling. If all food waste was diverted out of Bristol’s black bins and into food recycling bins, cost savings would be over £1.4m which could be reinvested into the city and its communities.

To cover the cost of the campaign, each household would have to divert approximately 190g more food waste from their black bin into the food bin per week, which is equal to less than five slices of bread or one cup or cooked rice.  Given the success of the trial campaign, the amount of food waste recycling bins that have been ordered since the campaign began, and the enthusiasm we have been hearing about food recycling, we are confident that this will happen.


I don’t produce any food waste!

Great news! However the vast majority of people produce some kind of food waste. Ensuring you’re not tossing any food out is great, but there are also those banana skins, tea bags and egg shells to deal with! All the unwanted bits that can’t be consumed can go straight into your food waste caddy.


Why are you promoting wasting food?

We’re doing just the opposite! We want to encourage people to waste as little food as possible, for example by writing shopping lists and buying only what you need or using up leftovers, but when food waste does occur or is unavoidable the best place for it is your brown food waste caddy. It’s great for your purse and it’s fantastic for the city.


What if I don’t want my bin stickered?

The stickers are  simply to raise awareness and get people thinking about their food waste, the benefits of recycling it, and how to recycle it properly. The visual is a reminder to residents wherever they are in the city.

We understand that giving your bin a makeover isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, however all bins and boxes are actually the property of Bristol City Council, our partner in this campaign.


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