What to do with food waste

Please put your food waste in your black bin (inside a bin liner or carrier bag if you wish), or put it in your garden in a home composter - find out more about composting at home.

Find out more using the links below:

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Why do I need to put food waste in my black bin?

We no longer collect food waste along with your garden waste in your brown bin.

This is because composting food waste is an expensive process, as it has to be sent to a special indoor composting facility, where the composting takes place at a controlled temperature. This is necessary to kill the bacteria in the food waste.

Also, when you consider only about 20 percent of local people were recycling their organic food waste in their brown bin (that's about five percent of the brown bin waste we collect), this meant we were spending money transporting garden waste to a more costly indoor facility, when it could be composted outside more cheaply and efficiently.

Now we send your garden waste to an outdoor composting facility which is much cheaper.

Composting your own kitchen food, or putting it in your black bin, makes our service more efficient and is helping to protect other local services across Lichfield and Tamworth.

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What will happen to the food waste I put in my black bin?

We used to send your black bin waste to landfill, where it was buried in the ground, but we now send it to a waste to power plant. This means your food waste is used to create energy.

Every year the black bin waste people throw away across Staffordshire generates 23 megawatts - enough to power 30,000 homes for a year.

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Why can I no longer put food waste in my brown bin?

We no longer compost food waste.

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Where do I put my black bin waste?

You need to continue putting your black bin waste in your black bin - as normal. You just need to add your food waste to what you normally put in your black bin.

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Why did you make these changes?

By making this one simple change, Lichfield & Tamworth Joint Waste Service is saving in the region of £400,000 every year, helping to protect other front line services.

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What happens to my black bin waste – will it go to landfill?

The good news is all waste from your black bin is now sent to a plant where it is converted into energy. It does not go to a landfill site where it can take years to decompose. This is also good for the environment, along with the reduced miles and fuel consumption of the bin trucks.

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You say this is helping to improve the environment, how?

The bin trucks will be travelling fewer miles and reducing fuel use, meaning they are reducing their carbon footprint. Also the waste from your black bin is no longer buried at a landfill site, but converted into energy.

By disposing of waste in this way, the contents of black bins across Staffordshire could generate 23 megawatts of energy - enough to power 30,000 homes for a year.

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Can I still recycle my food waste?

Yes, by composting at home. Home composing is a great way to get rid of kitchen scraps, and is great for your garden. The Get Composting website also provides lots of advice, and you can buy good value compost bins, water butts and kitchen composters.

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The food will sit in the bin for up to two weeks, I am worried it will rot and smell

The best way to prevent this is to reduce your food waste, and also to wrap your food waste in newspaper or a bin liner.

If you tie the bags or tightly wrap the waste, there should be no way for flies to get to it, which should prevent maggots. Also keep your bin lid closed at all times, this should prevent animals such as cats and dogs getting into your bin.

You can also clean out your bin to get rid of any residues using an anti-bacterial cleaner or use a bin cleaning company.

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Can I still recycle my garden waste?

Please do continue to recycle your garden waste as this will continue to be recycled which is a huge benefit to the environment. You can still recycle leaves, weeds, tree and shrub prunings, grass and hedge trimmings, plants and short branches and trees in your brown bin.

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What about windfall apples or spoiled vegetables I have grown in the garden?

If food waste hasn't been into the kitchen and is genuinely garden waste, it can still go into your brown bin.  

However, potato peelings and cauliflower leaves you remove whilst cooking, must not be put in your brown bin as they have been prepared in the kitchen and may have come into contact with other food bacteria.

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But isn't burning food waste more damaging to the environment?

Up until recently we took brown bin waste to two in-vessel composting facilities - one is in Etwall near Derby and the other is in Shareshill near Wolverhampton.

When you consider only five percent of the brown bin waste we collected was food waste, this meant we had been transporting tonnes of garden waste unnecessarily to far away composting facilities, sometimes twice a day, during the summer months, which costs a lot in fuel and generates carbon dioxide.

By taking the food waste out of brown bins we can now drop off the garden waste at a facility in our district, saving fuel and cutting back on emissions. 


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Phone our contact centre: 01543 308 000
District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6YY

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Our main reception at Frog Lane in Lichfield is open Monday - Friday, 8.45am - 5.15pm.

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