All you need to know about recycling food waste

The differences of recycling food waste across Suffolk Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The differences of recycling food waste across Suffolk Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Find out why food waste recycling differs depending on where you are in Suffolk and the possible changes set to be introduced this year.

Recycling waste is essential when it comes to saving our planet as each time we put rubbish in landfill sites harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases are released.

However, there is a variation on what can and can’t be recycled in kerb-side collections depending on where you live.

For example residents in Suffolk Coastal is able to recycle a wide range of cooked and uncooked food in their kerb-side composting bin. A full list of what is allowed in these bins is available here.

But people in Ipswich are much more restricted with only raw fruit, vegetable peelings, and tea bags being accepted.

The other district and borough councils in Suffolk do not have a service in place where they can accept food waste in kerb-side compost bins.

But why are there these differences?

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney:

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Suffolk Coastal is able to mix food with garden waste in the kerb-side composting bin due to a pre-existing contract being in place when garden waste charges were introduced to the area. Therefore, customers who signed up to the scheme were able to continue combining the two.

However, this contract is due to be reviewed on March 31, 2019, so arrangements could change in future.

The charge for garden waste disposal was introduced in 2018 and costs £43 for 12 months.

Neighbouring Waveney, however, doesn’t accept soiled food due to the cost recycling.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils said: “Processing co-mingled food and garden waste is expensive as food waste needs to be treated in compliance with animal by-product legislation.

“As a result, when garden waste subscriptions were introduced in Waveney in 2016, it was decided that the continued collection of co-mingled food and garden waste was not financially viable.

“Customers in both districts are encouraged to home compost where possible and to also reduce their food waste through meal planning, correct storage and using leftovers.”


Currently residents in Ipswich can recycle raw fruit, vegetable peelings, tea bags, and ground coffee with their garden waste. However, there are plans to change this.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “We are the only council in Suffolk not to charge for our garden waste collections and in order to maintain our no charge policy we will shortly be asking residents not to put kitchen or food waste in their brown bins from May 1.”

Babergh and Mid Suffolk:

Food isn’t able to be recycled in this district due to where the garden waste is sent.

A Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council spokesperson said: “What is and isn’t allowed is due to the difference in how each district processes its waste.

“We collect garden waste which goes to an outside Windrow composting facility – but you are not allowed by regulations to process food waste in this way.”

Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury:

West Suffolk council has looked into how much money it would cost to introduce food recycling into kerb-side bins but discovered it would result in an extra bill amounting to half a million pounds.

A spokesman for West Suffolk council said: “The collection of garden waste only is the most cost efficient method of processing brown bin waste.

“At the time that we introduced the service, we considered future service costs and funding and had we included food in our brown bin collections, it would have pushed up the costs significantly – by up to £500,000 per year.”

Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury operate on the same service as Mid Suffolk and Barbergh.

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