Food Waste FAQ

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Food Waste FAQ

I don’t have a food waste caddy
If you don’t have a food waste caddy you should contact your local council’s waste team to order a free one. Please order one here. Alternatively the City of Edinburgh Council’s Waste team can be contacted on – 0131 529 3030 or at . If it doesn’t arrive straight away don’t worry, the caddies can take between 6-8 weeks to be delivered.

I have run out of biodegradable bags
If you’ve run out of biodegradable bags you should be able to find some in your local supermarket or you can buy a roll of 20 for £1 in the library. However, if you can’t find any or you run out at short notice you can also use a normal plastic carrier bag or newspaper. Remember you can always use an old bread bag or cereal packet as an alternative to a carrier bag and it will still be collected.

I never remember when to put my caddy out
If you have kerbside collection service your food waste will be collected every week. You can find out what day your caddies are collected by going to the City of Edinburgh Council website at . Or why not incorporate putting out your caddy into your daily habits, for example putting out your bin when leaving for work or in the evening after doing the dishes.

My food caddy keeps disappearing
To stop your caddy disappearing make sure you put your house number on it with tape or a permanent marker. This will stop it getting confused with neighbours’ bins and makes it easier to identify if it’s been blown down the street! If your caddy has disappeared for good remember you can order a new one for free from City of Edinburgh Council’s Waste team on 0131 529 3030 or at .

The bin will attract rats and other vermin
You can lock your food waste caddy by making sure the handle is turned all the way round. This prevents mice, rats or other animals getting into them. Remember to present your caddy regularly for collection so that your food waste caddy isn’t overfilled.

Why should I bother using my food caddy?
When food waste decomposes in landfill it creates methane - a greenhouse gas between 23-100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide – therefore contributing to climate change. 36% of the waste produced by Edinburgh households is food waste, so it will make a big difference if you separate your food waste for recycling. Food collected in your food waste caddy is taken to an anaerobic digester which turns the food waste into electricity to help power homes and offices, and helps your council tax payments go further. The food caddy also offers everyone the opportunity to recycle their food waste, even if you don’t have a home composter. Even if you already compost, the food caddy can be used for items not normally home composted such as bones, dairy products and cooked foods.

My kitchen will smell
Your food waste caddy should not smell any more than if you were putting your food waste in your landfill bin. As your landfill bin is only collected every two weeks this gives it longer to rot and start to smell. Remember to empty your indoor caddy regularly into the outdoor one - this will prevent any smells in the kitchen. Plus your small caddy is much easier to wash out than a large kitchen bin so its win win! Your outdoor caddy is collected every week so remember you can put it out even if it’s not full.

The caddy will attract flies
Your caddy should not attract flies if the lid is always shut securely and the bin is changed regularly (at least twice a week). You could also discourage fruit flies and other insects from entering the caddy by lining the lid with newspaper (replace it regularly). Fruit flies like rotting and fermenting fruit and vegetables, but they may not be coming from your food caddy. They also like living in moist areas like drains, empty bottles, and house plants. If you are having a problem with fruit flies, try storing all of your fruit and vegetables in the fridge for a while to eliminate food sources for the flies. Try making a ‘vinegar trap’ to catch the flies with a plastic bottle and some cling film (instructions online). 

What can I put into my food waste caddy?
You can put into your caddy all types of food, including uncooked and cooked items such as meat and bones, pasta, fruit and vegetables, and teabags. Do not put in liquids like cooking oil or milk, food packaging, garden waste, animal waste or stones into the caddy.

I put my caddy outside but it was not collected by the council
Make sure that you put your caddy on the kerbside by 6am on the collection day, and leave it there until 10pm. Check that you put your caddy out on the correct day (find your collection day online at Sometimes bin collections are delayed (see the delayed collections webpage on the Edinburgh Council website) so you can also leave your caddy at the kerbside until the following day. Make sure the lid is properly closed and it is not contaminated with rubbish. It is also very important that your food waste is wrapped in some way (either in a bag or in newspaper) as the collection lorries are not fully closed and otherwise loose waste will fall out of the back of the lorry. If your bin was still not collected you can report a missed bin online by logging in to the Edinburgh Council ‘mygovscot’ account.

My caddy gets very wet, and the bag often rips
Make sure you let the box dry out before putting a new bag in the caddy, or try adding newspaper to the bottom of the caddy before putting the bag in. Do change the bag regularly (at least twice a week) so that the bag has less time biodegrade in the bin. Try not to fill the bag too full, which will make it heavier and more likely to rip.

I don’t have space for the caddy in my kitchen
The indoor caddy is only 7 litres and is designed to be kept on a kitchen work surface or under the sink out of sight. Food waste composes 36% of the average household rubbish bin, so now that you are separating it into the kitchen caddy consider getting a smaller rubbish bin which will allow more space for the caddy. If you do not wish to use the small kitchen caddy you can still empty your food waste directly into the larger kerbside caddy outside.

Doesn’t the food waste just get taken to the landfill anyway?
No, if your kerbside caddy is left out for collection it is always taken to the appropriate recycling facility – in this case the anaerobic digester at Millerhill. As the council pays a tax of >£80 per tonne of waste sent to landfill it is much more cost effective for the council to send items for recycling wherever possible, rather than to landfill. This means they are keen to recycle food waste whenever they can.

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