How to Improve Food Waste Recycling

Despite our best intentions to reduce biowaste, certain food waste items, such as fruit peels and coffee grounds, are unavoidable. However, thanks to recycling advancements, this inevitable waste doesn’t have to end up in a landfill site.

Selection of fruit and vegetables stored in paper bags

We all know the benefits of recycling food waste - possible waste cost reductions for companies, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced methane production – but implementing a successful food waste recycling initiative can be tricky.

So, with 9.5 million tonnes of food waste landing in our bins each year in the UK, what steps can businesses and organisations take to help improve food waste recycling?*

Step 1 - Food Waste Bins

Dedicated bins are vital to improving food waste collection rates. But what should you consider when choosing the right type of bin for food waste or other biodegradable waste?


The size of the bin and the capacity you need will depend on the location or type of operation and the amount of food waste created. Selecting the right capacity can really help improve collection rates while presenting an opportunity to decrease collection costs.

But, with capacities of 30 to 1280 litres, how do you know which size to choose?

Internal Facilities

If the intention is to place a biowaste collection bin in a large canteen or eating area with a high footfall, a Combo™ Tray Shelf Catering Waste Bin may be suitable. With an open front aperture and a front tray shelf, nexus-shuttle-catering-bin the Combo Tray Shelf Catering Waste BIn offers a collecting capacity of 140 litres and is well-suited to large internal areas.

For small offices or establishments, a smaller collection bin may be ideal. Suitable for workplaces and offices, the Nexus® 30 Food Waste Recycling Bin is contemporary, compact, and brightly coloured to encourage efficient waste sorting. With a wide opening, the bin enables the non-contact disposal of food.

A foot pedal bin with a lid may be more suitable for commercial kitchens. With a 60 litre capacity and lightweight structure, the Nexus® Shuttle Food Waste Recycling Bin minimises the possibility of cross-contamination, locks in potential odours and lowers the potential for moving and handling problems.

External Locations

For external placing in high traffic areas, a larger, 1280 litre capacity bin is a Modus™ 1280 Food Waste Recycling Housing better match. Suitable for picnic areas, apartment buildings, retail establishments and office courtyards, the Modus™ 1280 Food Waste Recycling Housing features a closing valve to minimise odours and repel insects.

Obtaining a food waste bin with a capacity that matches the disposal requirements of the user has many benefits:

  • By reducing the possibility of overfilling, the collection efficiency of food waste increases.
  • Costs decrease as the requirement for frequent collections lessens.

Accessibility and Placement

Often overlooked, the placement and accessibility of food waste bins are important elements of improving food waste recycling rates.

The placement of a food waste bin should be within adequate distance of an eatery or area where food consumption occurs to ensure the correct and easy disposal of waste.

Apertures and Lids

Minimising the possibility of cross-contamination and rejected waste, apertures encourage users to dispose of waste correctly by providing specific openings suitable for food waste bins. With multiple colours available, the apertures help differentiate between waste sorting containers while allowing for easy identification between streams.

Green aperture flap on the Nexus 30Nexus 30 flip lid aperture in pastel green

Soft-close aperture lids are suitable for food waste bins as they trap odours and repel insects.

Step 2 - Education

Because collection capabilities and treatment processes vary by area, education is a vital part of improving food waste recycling rates. By providing up-to-date information, explaining the treatment processes, and motivating and encouraging people to collect their food waste, education and awareness can bridge the gap between confusion and success.

Create Posters and Infographics

Posters and infographics are handy tools to highlight the methods, benefits, and government requirements of collecting biowaste. By visualising expectations and obligations, posters and infographics provide clear and informative guidance and remove any confusion surrounding waste sorting.

Discuss Food Waste Recycling Initiative with Users

Discussing food waste recycling expectations and targets with users creates a two-way communication that can highlight downfalls, issues, successes, and suggestions to optimise initiatives.

Three people sat around a table discussing waste

It also ensures user awareness and understanding of the food waste recycling requirement.

Organise Training

Initiating and organising recycling training for users lessens the probability of cross-contamination and heightens the efficiency of recycling schemes.

Image of two people attending a training session

Creating a platform that allows users to understand the processes and highlight any issues they may be experiencing eliminates the confusion that often surrounds waste sorting and establishes a recycling quality standard.

Step 3 - Graphics and Signage

Graphics and signage make a positive difference to the success of food waste recycling rates.

With the ability to highlight the function of a food waste bin and reinforce public or company messaging, additional signage allows for easy identification of recycling points and encourages the correct disposal of waste.

Green food waste graphic on a Nexus Shuttle Catering BinNexus Caddy with green recycle here graphic

Adding images or graphics to food waste bins simplifies the recycling process and minimises the potential for cross-contamination. Graphics and signage can also adapt to feature corporate logos, messages, and visitor and staff information.

To learn more about the importance of graphics and signage, read our FAQ: How important are graphics and signage?

Step 4 - Measure and Monitor Success

Measuring and monitoring a food waste recycling scheme will provide an insight into the successes and downfalls of the initiative and highlight areas for improvement. Regular monitoring via spot check will also encourage users to sort their food waste at the source.



Thursday, February 24, 2022
Scotland Excel CPC NWUPC
CIHT CIHT ILP REMA ISOQAR TRL Transpolis MIRA MIRA CHAS NIC EIC ConstructionLine Achilles (UVDB) British Ports Association Highway Electrical Association The Green Web Foundation
Prompt Payment Code Approved Signatory