Food Waste

Graphic showing food waste in bin

Did you know that food waste can cause as much damage to the environment as single use plastic? When throwing away food we are disposing of all the energy that has gone into producing, processing and transporting it.

Food that is thrown away ends up in landfill, where it breaks down and releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.

Domestic households produce the majority of food waste, more than restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. On average just under three quarters of all food waste comes from household, much of which is still edible. In Norfolk, food waste makes up approximately one third of the contents of our bins. The average family could save £700 a year, simply by throwing away less food!

For top tips about how to reduce your food waste, click here.


Food waste collections

Households have their food waste collected separately each week in the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Norwich City Council area and some parts of Broadland District Council areas.

Residents in these places are provided with two food waste caddies; a small caddy is for use inside your home and a larger caddy is used when you put your food waste out for collection.

Food collected as part of a food waste collection service, goes to a food waste recycling facility. Here it is turned into electric energy using a process called anaerobic digestion. One banana peel produced enough electricity to charge a smartphone – twice!

For those that do not have a food waste collection service, you could always help reduce the amount of waste that end up in landfill by producing your own compost. For further details click here.


Items to put in your food caddy

  • Leftovers from your mealsMeat and bones graphicFood waste graphic
  • Eggs – including shells
  • All dairy products e.g. cheese
  • Vegetables and fruit – raw and cooked
  • Bread, cakes and other baked goods
  • Meat – raw and cooked, including fat and bones
  • Fish – raw and cooked, including bones and shells
  • Rice, pasta and beans
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Cooking oil, lard and other fats
  • Out of date foodBread and pastries graphicDairy Graphic
  • Pet food – wet and dry


Items not to put in your food caddy

  • Packaging of any sort e.g. cardboard, plastic film
  • Non-food products
  • Garden waste
  • Straw or other animal bedding/waste
  • Fruit and vegetables graphicFish graphicOther recycling


Keeping your food caddies clean

  • To keep your caddy clean, you could line it with either newspaper, a compostable caddy liner or plastic bag.
  • You can purchase caddy liners from a number of retailers, including supermarkets, but if you do not want to purchase liners, newspaper works just as well.
  • Many people line their caddy all year, but it is particularly advisable to do so in the winter to help stop loose food being frozen to the bin.


For more information, please visit your council’s website by clicking its logo below:

Broadland District Council logo      Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk logo        Norwich City Council logo

What happens to your food waste

Food waste is taken to an anaerobic digestion plant run by a company called Biogen in Hertfordshire to be recycled. To put it simply, the food waste is put into giant sealed, oxygen-free tanks where it is gradually broken down to produce bio-gas and bio-fertilizer.

The bio-gas produced is fed back into the national grid to power our homes and buildings. The bio-fertilizer is used on agricultural farm land to enrich the soil.

Due to new technology at Biogen, they can now accept plastic bags if they are used to line kitchen caddies. Machinery separates the bags and liners from the food waste. Those bags and liners are then sent to the energy from waste plant to be turned into electricity.

Residents are encouraged to reuse existing plastic bags to line their kitchen caddy, such as bread bags which would otherwise be thrown away, or can continue to use compostable bags.