Food and Garden Waste FAQ's

  • Please put all food waste in your GREEN WHEELED BIN unless you are home composting it.
  • To keep your bin clean, wrap the food waste in newspaper.
  • Please don’t put your food waste in black sacks where it doesn't get recycled and can attract animals, or pink sacks where it contaminates your dry recyclables.

Residents may not be used to recycling food waste so here are answers to some of the questions or worries that residents may have.

  1. What can go in the green bin?
  2. Isn’t it better not to have any food waste?
  3. Do I have to use the silver caddy?
  4. Why can’t I wrap my food waste in plastic bags or leave it in its plastic packaging?
  5. What about biodegradable plastic?
  6. I’m worried about hygiene, smells and flies
  7. I don’t have newspaper, is there anything else I can use?
  8. Can I put my caddy out for collection?
  9. I don’t have space for the wheeled bin outside, is there a smaller alternative?
  10. How can I clean my wheeled bin?
  11. Other hints/ideas for keeping your bin clean
  12. What else goes in the green bin?
  13. What should not be in my bin?

What can go in the green bin?

All kinds of raw or cooked food waste including bread/pastries/cakes, fruit and vegetable waste, tea leaves/bags and coffee grounds, meat, fish, cheese, fat, and meal and petfood leftovers.

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Isn’t it better not to have any food waste?

Yes!  You could save yourself (and the Council) a lot of money. A really useful website to help you reduce your food waste is love food hate waste.

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Do I have to use the silver caddy?

No, the important thing is that food waste ends up in the green wheeled bin, not the black sack.    The caddy is useful for collecting small amounts of waste like tea bags or vegetable peelings to transfer to the green bin outside.  If you want to organise the collection of food waste in your home in a different way, that’s fine.

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Why can’t I wrap my food waste in plastic bags or leave it in its plastic packaging?

Your food and garden waste will be made into compost. Plastics contaminate the compost and they don’t degrade quickly.

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What about biodegradable plastic?

Some “biodegradeable” plastics have additives which also contaminate the end product.  It is not easy to tell which is which, so please don’t use any form of plastic bag.

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I’m worried about hygiene, smells and flies

Please follow basic food hygiene principles :

  • Store your caddy or any other food waste container away from food preparation areas, as you would any ordinary kitchen bin.
  • Always shut the lid of the caddy/other container and the outside green wheeled bin immediately after putting waste in them, and keep them shut until you want to use them again
  • Lining the caddy with newspaper keeps it cleaner
  • Clean the caddy ( or any other container) frequently, as you would any ordinary bin
  • Don’t store large quantities of food waste in the kitchen
  • Don’t store food waste in the kitchen for long periods, transfer the food waste to the outside bin daily.  If the food waste is mouldy, smelly, higher risk such as raw meat, or you have any other worries about it, wrap it in newspaper and take it straight to the outside wheeled bin.
  • Keep a stock of newspaper handy to wrap your food waste and/ or to line the caddy.
  • Put your green wheeled bin out for collection every week that there is waste in it, no matter how small the amount (we don’t mind – we’re coming down your road anyway!)

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I don’t have newspaper, is there anything else I can use?

Ordinary used writing paper, plain junk mail (providing it has no plastic or other contaminant on it)  and plain brown paper bags (like the sort you get from market stalls) can be used.  Purpose-designed paper liners and corn starch liners meeting standard EN13432 can also be used. See our website for stockists.

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Can I put my caddy out for collection?

No, it is intended for indoor use and is likely to blow away when empty.  Crews will not empty them.

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I don’t have space for the wheeled bin outside, is there a smaller alternative?

Homes with little outside storage space can be supplied with a 23 litre green bin instead of a wheeled bin.  A small number of properties in Milton Keynes do not have appropriate access for a wheeled bin but have too much garden waste for a 23 litre bin - in these rare circumstances we can provide wet strength paper sacks, but we do not supply them to any property where a wheeled bin is more suitable.  Please contact 01908 252570 or email envservices@milton-keynes.gov.uk to request a changeover.

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How can I clean my wheeled bin?

There are lots of tips on this on the internet such as using hot soapy water or disinfectant and a yard broom.  You can also use a bin cleaning service if you don’t want to do this yourself.  The National Association of  Wheeled Bin Washers website is useful for finding a service, or yellow pages.  However, it’s best to wrap all food waste in newspaper and make sure to put your bin out for collection each week, to reduce the need for cleaning.

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Other hints/ideas for keeping your bin clean

  • A few people line their wheeled bin with large paper liners as well. Some people put newspaper at the bottom of their bin after emptying to soak up any residues.
  • It’s a good idea to store the green bin out of direct sunlight if you can.

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What else goes in the green bin?

Unless you are home composting, please put the following in your Green Wheeled bin:

  • Garden plants
  • Lawn mowings
  • Leaves
  • Weeds
  • Dead flowers
  • Windfall fruit
  • Branches up to 15cm diameter

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Things that should not go in the green bin

Although the following are biodegradable, they cannot go in the bin:

  • Pet faeces
  • Nappies
  • Dead animals
  • Fur or hair clippings

Put these in your black sack together with any other refuse.

Other items to avoid include:

  • Soil
  • Bricks, rocks and rubble
  • Plastic wrappers and packaging
  • Treated wood
  • Plant pots

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Last Updated: 1 October 2018