Food recycling mythbusters

Hand scraping vegetable peelings into a food caddy with plates of food in the background

Friday 2 June 2023

There are many common myths when it comes to food waste and food recycling. We're here to set the record straight!

“Food waste just ends up in landfill”

If food waste is placed in your general rubbish bin, it will be buried in landfill where it will let off harmful gases that contribute to climate change. However, when food waste is collected via your food recycling service, it is taken to a processing plant. 

Anything that is not food waste, such as caddy liner bags or packaging, is separated from the load. Food waste is then processed and transformed into a biogas that is rich in methane, and fertiliser. This biogas is used to generate green energy that can be used across Essex. By using this green energy, it reduces our need to use fossil fuels.

“It’s okay to send food waste to landfill because it will break down naturally”

When food waste is buried in landfill, it breaks down and releases a harmful greenhouse gas called methane. Did you know that methane is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide? Methane is a big contributor towards climate change as it can trap heat in the atmosphere.

“Recycling food is pointless because it doesn’t make a difference”

It’s always best to only buy the food you need and eat the food you buy. However, if you do need to throw food away then you can reduce your impact on the environment by ensuring it gets recycled. That way your food can be used to create green energy and fertiliser, rather than being buried in landfill where it will release harmful greenhouse gases.

“Having a food caddy is smelly and unhygienic”

If you take care of your food recycling caddy by cleaning it often and regularly emptying the caddy into your outside bin, this will help to reduce any potential smells. We recommend keeping your caddy out of direct sunlight and to keep the lid closed.

Remember, your food caddy won’t smell any worse than if you were to put food in your general rubbish bin! Also, you will probably empty your food caddy more frequently than the general rubbish bin, so it should actually be less smelly.

“I don’t produce enough food waste for food recycling to be worth it”

Remember, there is no amount too small. The best thing we can do with our food is enjoy it, but some waste and plate scrapings are inevitable, and we should recycle them!

“I don’t have enough room for an indoor caddy in my kitchen”

Try keeping your caddy under the sink, next to the kitchen bin or on the worktop. You can even use your own container such as an old ice cream tub for a perfect fit!

“Having an outdoor food recycling caddy will attract wildlife”

If you have a food caddy, it will have a lockable handle or lid that helps to prevent wildlife being attracted or getting into your bin. Ensure you secure your caddy after each use to avoid this concern.