Food and Garden Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


This page offers information, help and advice on the food and garden recycling scheme.

When did the food and garden waste scheme start?
The food and garden waste scheme started on Monday 7 September 2009.

What size wheeled bins are used?
The green lidded wheeled bin has a 180 litre capacity.

Can I have a smaller green lidded wheeled bin?
Yes, smaller bins of 140 litre capacity are available to any resident who would prefer one.

Why can't I have a larger than 180 litre green lidded wheeled bin?
We want to encourage our residents to reduce waste. We recommend that any excess should be composted at home.  Waste that cannot be composted such as some prunings, should be stored throughout the summer months and placed out in the food and garden waste bins during the winter months when usage is low.  This will ensure that the bin is utilised for the whole year.

Do I have to use a council green lidded wheeled bin if I already own a second bin?

Will I be able to buy or subscribe to another green lidded wheeled bin?
Only Epping Forest District Council bins will be emptied.

What containers are provided for the food waste?
A 5 litre caddy for the kitchen and a 180 litre green lidded wheeled bin.  Alternatively, a kerbside caddy can be supplied for food waste only.

What is a kitchen caddy?
It is a 5 litre container for storing your food waste and for transporting the food waste to your new wheeled bin.

I don't like the colour of the kitchen caddy as it doesn't match my kitchen?
All kitchen caddy's are the standard colour green.

What food waste can I put into my green lidded wheelie bin?
All cooked and uncooked food such as raw and cooked meat and fish, bones, bread, rice and pasta, plate scrapings, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells as well as used kitchen paper towels. Please don’t include any packaging even if it says that it can be composted.

Can I put bedding and waste from animals in the food and garden waste bin?
Bedding and waste from any pets i.e. herbivores such as rabbits and guinea pigs or waste and/or cat litter from carnivorous pets such as dogs cannot be included in the weekly food and garden waste collection service. 

Can I place soil in my food and garden waste bin?
No, soil should not be placed in the food and garden waste bin as it is not accepted by our processor.

Can I use a liner in my kitchen caddy?
Yes, if it is printed with the compostable packaging symbol. We do not provide liners, however, you can purchase from a variety of outlets and supermarkets. Please refrain from using black liners, even those with the correct logo, as they may result in your collection being missed.

Compostable Packaging SymbolCompostable Logo

This symbol is found on biodegradable plastic packaging.

Only use liners that have this symbol printed on.

What is a kerbside caddy?
It is a 23 litre container for storing your food waste only, presented at the kerbside for collection.

Are the green lidded wheeled bins or caddies 'chipped' or have microchips?

What day is my collection?
Your collection day will remain the same. If your collection day is a Monday then your collection day will continue to be on a Monday.

Will all my waste be collected together?
No, one week you will have both wheeled bins collected. The following week you will have the green lidded wheeled bin collected along with your clear sack recycling and blue box recycling.

Is this just another cost cutting exercise?
No, this is an increased and improved service of weekly collections all year round.

Why are you restricting the amount of garden waste collected
The free garden sack collection service was unsustainable both environmentally and economically. We had to change the way we collected garden recycling and we chose to do it so that our residents continue to have a free of charge collection that is more sustainable. The only way we could achieve this was to introduce a constraint on the quantity of garden waste we collect from every household and supplying one wheeled bin to each property achieves that.

Why are you collecting food waste?
Food waste is a large quantity of residual waste that can be recycled.  This collection scheme reduces even further amounts of waste going to landfill. It will also mean less amounts of harmful gases being generated from landfill sites.

I am visually impaired or partially sighted and concerned that I will not be able to tell the bins apart.
Please contact us and we will help resolve this for you.

I have a disability and I don't think I can use a wheeled bin?
Please contact us and we will help resolve this for you.

I am elderly and I don't think that I will be able to cope?
Please contact us and we will help resolve this for you.

My property is unsuitable for another wheeled bin.
Please contact us for an assessment of your property.

I have no room for a second wheeled bin.
Please contact us for assessment of your property.

How will my food and garden waste be collected if I do not have room to store another bin?
All such properties will be issued a kerbside caddy for the collection of their food waste, however there will be no normal arrangement for the collection of garden waste without a green lidded wheeled bin. In some instances, home compost bins will be allocated.

Will I get fined for putting the wrong thing in the wrong wheeled bin?
No, not for the foreseeable future.

There's no point to recycling as it all goes into the back of one dustcart!
The dry recycling includes paper, plastic and cans does go into one vehicle and is then sorted at an industrial facility. This method reduces the amount of vehicles used for collection.

Do other Councils collect food waste?
Yes, most Councils collect food waste. Within Essex and beyond food waste is currently being collected by Braintree, Rochford and Uttlesford and Harlow. In the wider area, North Herts, East Herts, Thurrock and Waltham Forest are among those who collect food waste.

The food waste containers will be full of maggots?
Not if the lid of your green lidded wheeled bin and kitchen caddy is kept firmly shut.

What if I refuse to have a food and garden wheeled bin?
We will issue you a kerbside caddy for your food waste but you will not be able to take part in the garden waste collection service.

If I refused a wheeled bin, can I change my mind and decide to have one?

There is no law that says I have to recycle!
No, but you have to present your waste in the manner prescribed by the Local Council.  Your waste will not be collected if it is not presented in the manner prescribed.

Food waste bins will smell?

Not if the lid is kept shut and food is wrapped in newspaper or a proper liner displaying the correct compostable packaging symbol logo.






I just don't have time to recycle?
We are all responsible for the waste we generate and should learn to deal with it in a responsible way. It is also a requirement under the law to present your waste in the manner prescribed by the Local Council.

What happens to the food and garden waste?
It will be taken to a special facility that will turn it into compost or soil improver which can be used for a wide range of purposes.

What happens if I put the wrong thing into the green lidded bin?
Please do your best to ensure it does not happen. Your bin may not be collected and you may have to dispose of it yourself. If you remove the wrong items, it will be collected the following week.

I don't produce enough food and garden waste to warrant a second wheeled bin?
The Council will issue you a kerbside caddy for your food waste and take away your wheeled bin but you will lose the garden waste collection service.

What goes where, it's all very complicated!
Please refer to the website or leaflets that you have received. You can contact us by telephone or email for further information.

You have to collect all my garden waste by law, after all that's what I pay my rates for?
The Council may make a charge for the collection of garden waste separate to any Council Tax collected.

I sweep the leaves off of the pavement in front of my house but I won't be able to do this now as I won't have room for the leaves in my bin.
If leaves are a problem please let us know and we will assess the situation.

What do you mean by food waste?
We mean all cooked and uncooked food waste.

Why doesn't Epping Forest District Council wash the bins like some other councils. Why should I have to pay when others are getting it done for free?
It is better for householders to deal with this than the Council making a charge for the service.

What is Love Food Hate Waste?
This is a national campaign that promotes the reduction of food waste.

Love Food Hate Waste website

Are you supplying caddy liners?
No, we will not be supplying liners but they can be purchased independently.  Please ensure the liners have the correct compostable packaging symbol on. You can also line your caddy with a newspaper. 

Revised on 19 May 2010

For more information telephone 01992 564608 or email

Phone Contact us....

Telephone: 01992 564608


Or you can write to us at:
Recycling & Waste, Environment & Street Scene, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street,  Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ

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Click here for details of our 4 day collection service

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