Food waste recycling

Our blue bin service makes it easy to recycle food waste in Hackney.

We provide free compostable liners to make it easier to put your food waste out for collection without making a mess. Please do not use plastic bags.

If you want to compost yourself, we offer discounted compost bins and advice on community composting.

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How to recycle your food waste

I live in a house or a flat in a house conversion

  • place your small blue bin in your kitchen, and line it with a compostable liner
  • when the liner is full, tie the ends and put it in your large blue bin outside
  • your food waste will be collected weekly from 6am on your collection day
  • place your blue bin for collection at the inside edge of your property, not on the pavement

I live in a block or estate with communal recycling bins

  • place the blue caddy in your kitchen, and line it with a compostable liner
  • collect all your food waste in the caddy
  • when the caddy is full, tie the ends of the compostable liner together
  • take it down to the food waste container next to your recycling bins

Communal food waste bins are installed next to your communal recycling bins. They lock in smells and keep animals out, and are emptied once a week and cleaned regularly.

What can I recycle?

You can recycle all raw and cooked food waste:

  • vegetables and peelings
  • fish and fish bones
  • fruit cores and skins
  • bones
  • bread, rice, pasta
  • meat (raw or cooked)
  • teabags, coffee granules
  • egg shells
  • plate scrapings
  • cheese

What can’t I recycle in my blue bin?

Any non-food items, including:

  • garden waste
  • packaging
  • litter
  • plastic bags

What happens to my food waste?

Food waste from households in Hackney is sent to an anaerobic digestion facility in south east England, where it’s turned into renewable energy to power homes and biofertiliser to be spread on local farmland to grow crops.

How should I dispose of compostable packaging?

Compostable plastic is a material made from renewable materials such as vegetable starch and soy protein. Compostable plastic should be put into your general waste and not your food waste or garden waste. This is because in north London food waste is processed in anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities and mixed food and garden waste goes to in-vessel composting (IVC) facilities.

All packaging (compostable liners/Vegware/plastic bags) is removed from food and garden waste by ‘de-packaging’ machinery and disposed of. This has to be done because non-compostable items are often put into the food/garden waste when they shouldn’t be, causing contamination. The de-packaging machinery we use is not currently able to distinguish between compostable and non-compostable packaging when removing contaminants.

Page updated on: 27 January 2021

Hackney Recycling


Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY


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