How to recycle food scraps

Food waste recycling

Do your leftovers, vegetable peelings and other types of food waste end up in your rubbish bin? Have you checked if your council accepts food waste in your green bin?

The Victorian Government’s 10 year action plan to transform recycling, called Recycling Victoria, means all Victorians will get a green bin or have access to food waste recycling by 2030. If you don’t currently have access why not set up a home compost until you have access to a service?

Here are our top tips to recycling food waste at home using your council’s food and green waste collection service.

Keeping your kitchen caddy looking and smelling fresh

  • You can use any container with a lid to collect your food waste in the kitchen, for example an empty ice cream or plastic container. Make sure you know what you can compost or recycle.
  • If you don’t want to keep your food scraps caddy on your kitchen bench you could:
    • place it under the sink
    • attach it to the back of a cupboard door or modify a pull out waste cupboard to incorporate your food waste container/caddy
    • keep it in your fridge.
  • Wrap sharp food waste like bones or prawn shells in newspaper or paper towel to avoid piercing you or the compostable bag (check with your council if you can use compostable bags). Watch this video or download these instructions to make a do it yourself origami newspaper caddy liner.
  • Place a square of paper towel at the bottom of your kitchen caddy (under the compostable bag if your council allows them) to absorb moisture.
  • Wash your caddy regularly with warm soapy water. Your caddy can also be placed in your dishwasher for easy cleaning.

Reducing unwanted smells

  • Keep your caddy out of direct sunlight to avoid odour and prevent flies.
  • Keep the lid of your caddy closed when not in use.
  • Let hot food cool down before putting it in your caddy.
  • Keep meat and seafood sealed in a container in your fridge or freezer until the night before collection.
  • Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the bottom of your caddy (and green bin) to help absorb liquids and odours.
  • Place a square of paper towel sprinkled with a few drops of vanilla essence at the bottom of the kitchen caddy (under the compostable bag if your council allows them).
  • Empty your caddy at least every 2 to 3 days and in warmer months, every 1 to 2 days.

Keeping your green bin fresh

  • Keep your green bin in a well ventilated area out of direct sunlight (in the carport, under the eaves or a tree)
  • Ensure that the lid of your green bin is kept closed at all times when not in use.
  • Place your green bin out for every collection even if the bin is not full.

Four easy steps to recycle food waste in your kitchen

1. Collect food waste in your kitchen caddy or other container. You can collect your food waste loose in your container, use a single layer of paper towel or newspaper. Check out how to make an origami newspaper caddy liner. Some councils allow compostable bags but check before you use them.

2. Empty your kitchen container just before it’s full. You can empty your container straight into your green bin or wrap up the food waste in a single layer of paper towel or newspaper (which you’ve lined your container with). If your council allows compostable bags tie it up and carry it out to the bin. Be careful, because compostable bags are more likely to break (we recommend carrying it out in the caddy to avoid any accidents).

3. Deposit the contents of your kitchen container into your green bin (most have a lime green lid). Put the loose, wrapped or bagged food waste into your green bin. Layer your food waste with leaves and grass clippings if you have them. Be sure to close the lid after you’re finished. Every now and then check for any cracks in your green bin. Be sure to store your green bin in the shade.

4. Put your green bin out for collection. Put your bin out for collection, even if it’s not full. If you’re not sure, contact your council about your collection day.

Download a printable version of Four easy steps to recycle food waste in your kitchen

Recycle food waste in your green bin

Collecting food waste in your kitchen caddy