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Food waste collection

We are introducing weekly food waste collections for houses in Bracknell Forest from October 2020.

Why food waste collections are needed

There is an international climate change crisis and we are committed to taking steps to tackle this across our services. This includes encouraging and enabling more recycling.

We already recycle 40% of all waste but we know with food waste collection that could go up to around 50% by 2020 and 65% by 2030.

Putting rubbish into landfill not only wastes money, it also contributes to air pollution and to the long-term effects of climate change. We currently landfill 7,800 tonnes a year. Through food waste recycling we aim to reduce that by 50%.

The food waste is recycled into a liquid fertiliser used for farming and the recycling process releases methane which is used to create electricity.

How weekly food collections will work

Residents in houses will get 2 food waste caddies in September 2020.

These are:

  • a 5 litre caddy for inside your house
  • a 23 litre caddy for outside your house

The 23 litre outside caddy will be collected each week from October 2020.

Green bin collections will be every 3 weeks

We are changing the collection of green general waste bins from once every 2 weeks to once every 3 weeks. This is to maximise the performance of food waste collections and offset the cost of introducing the new service.

To add food waste collections without changing our current service it would cost Bracknell Forest taxpayers around £2.29 million over the next 7 years.

We are not alone in this approach – at least 19 other councils in the UK already carry out 3-weekly landfill waste collections, with several others looking to add this in 2020.

Green bin capacity

Bracknell Forest residents are already keen recyclers and we know they want to recycle food waste. They already recycle around 40% of their household waste and food waste could take this to 50% by the end of the year.

Recent waste surveys have shown that:

  • food waste accounts for 42% of waste in green bins
  • around 19% of waste that goes in residents’ green bins could be recycled, either in the blue bin or via one of our many recycling banks

By recycling food waste and all other recyclable materials, you should see a noticeable reduction in the volume of waste in your green bin. This means that 3 weekly collections of the green bin will be suitable.

You can still take household waste and recycling to either Longshot Lane or Smallmead free of charge.

Bad smells from food

The majority of bad smells caused through waste, come from food. As this will be collected each week and will not go into green bins, smells should actually reduce.

Preventing maggots

Maggots only exist if flies have access to rubbish and they most often occur in food. As this will be collected each week and will not go into green bins, the risk of maggots should actually reduce.

To help prevent maggots, please:

  • rinse any food packaging
  • keep the lids of your bins closed
  • cover up food such as leftovers and pet food - or put it straight in the food caddy
  • pick up any pet poo as soon as possible and bag it

Maggots are unpleasant but there is no evidence to suggest that they cause health problems. The best approach is to be careful with your waste and make sure that flies can’t get to it.

Pet waste

Those who own pets should make sure that pet waste is bagged before being put in the green bin. The lid should also be firmly shut to reduce the risk of maggots and bad smells.


As they do now, families with children in nappies should make sure that nappies are bagged before being put in the green bin. The lid should also be firmly shut to reduce the risk of maggots and bad smells.

If you have a genuine and unavoidable need for extra waste capacity

You will be able to contact the waste team for support and advice if you are concerned and have a genuine and unavoidable need for extra waste capacity. The waste team will be available throughout the summer of 2020 to help and support residents. They will have a number of solutions that they can offer and these will be tailored to individual circumstances.

All other waste stays the same

Blue recycling bins

Blue recycling bins will continue to be collected every 2 weeks.

View our what goes in my bin page to find out what can go in your blue bin.

If you regularly have more recycling than can fit in your blue bin, you can order an additional blue bin

Brown garden bins

Brown garden waste bins and sacks will continue to be collected as they are now.


It is a priority for us to support residents to recycle as much as possible. Bracknell Forest residents are already very conscientious and effective glass recyclers and our bottle banks are well used. By collecting glass in these separate containers, we can recycle it into higher grade glass products bringing more value to our recycling process.

Many of our bottle banks are located in supermarket car parks, recreation grounds and areas which are heavily used, so residents do not need to make a special trip. The majority of glass is being captured at our bottle banks and only a minimal amount is being placed in the household bins.

To collect glass at the kerbside we would need to provide an extra container for mixed glass. We would also need to buy extra waste collection trucks. With this in mind, it is not viable to set up a glass kerbside collection service.


There are textile recycling banks at supermarkets and local neighbourhood shops. Textile items can be in any condition. This supports the environment by recycling and reducing landfill. Textile banks in council managed recycling sites support local communities through the Mayor's charity.


We are looking into the possibility of adding a food waste collection for flats from 2021.

Each block of flats will be assessed before this is introduced to make sure a communal food waste bin can be accommodated. We will also need agreement from the management agent that they will take responsibility for cleaning the communal food waste bin.

Consideration of e-petitions

The decision to put in place food waste collections in response to climate change was taken by the council's Executive on Tuesday 28 January. The Executive is the decision making body made up of democratically elected representatives.

We understand that some people are apprehensive about the changes and we will do our best to guide them through the changes over the coming months. Their concerns are similar to those raised in 2006 when alternate weekly bin collections were introduced – but this change was embraced fully by residents and saw recycling rates grow considerably.

We will make sure that any petition submitted is given due consideration in line with the correct democratic process.

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