Love Food Hate Waste

food  wasteOn average a family with children spends £680 every year on food that ends up in the bin. Nearly half of what is thrown away is fresh fruit and vegetables. Bread, dairy produce, rice and pasta are next most commonly wasted.

We all have some food waste that we can't avoid, like banana skins, tea bags or chicken bones and Oxfordshire’s councils are working together with Agrivert, who process our food waste, to recycle more of the food leftovers thrown into residents’ rubbish bins.

We estimate that around 30% of the county’s food waste is put into the general rubbish bin, and aim to reduce this amount significantly. Recycling food waste in Agrivert’s anaerobic digestion plants captures biogas to produce electricity and produces a soil conditioner for local farmers. Putting food waste into the general rubbish bin means it goes to the Energy Recovery Facility, where it hampers the amount of energy that can be produced due to it being wet. 

Use any plastic bag in your caddy

To make it easier, cheaper and cleaner for residents if you live in:

  • Oxford City
  • South Oxfordshire
  • Vale of White Horse
  • West Oxfordshire

You can use any plastic bag to line your food waste caddy as the processing plant where the food waste is recycled is able to accept a wide variety of caddy liners.  If you live in Cherwell unfortunately plastic liners would contaminate the final compost (see below for details).

Find out more about your kerbside collections.

Frequently asked questions

What can I use?

To line your caddy, you can use:

  • supermarket carrier bags
  • ordinary pedal bin liners
  • any other plastic bag, such as those which have contained food items ie, bread bags, salad bags
  • compostable bags
  • a couple of sheets of newspaper
  • nothing - the food waste can be simply put into the caddy with no liner at all

What’s the benefit?

Plastic bags are cheaper and stronger than compostable liners. It also gives residents more options, and enables them to use bags which are likely to be more readily available in the home.

Are there any exceptions?

Please do not use black bin bags, or anything made from textiles or non-plastic materials.

What food can go in my caddy?

All cooked and raw food waste can go in your caddy including:

  • meat and fish - including bones
  • all dairy products such as cheese and eggs
  • vegetables and fruit
  • bread, cakes and pastries
  • rice, pasta and beans
  • uneaten food from your plates and dishes
  • tea bags and coffee grounds
  • cooking oil, lard and fats
  • old cut flowers

Please remove your food from any packaging, as it’s only plastic bags and liners that can be removed at the anaerobic digestion plant. But if the packaging can be recycled, please rinse and put it in your main recycling bin.

What can’t go in my caddy?

Anything which is not food waste.

Please do not include any additional packaging.  So, for example, if you are removing out of date food from your fridge, please remove the bacon from its packet, or the fruit from its punnet. 

What happens to the food waste?

Oxfordshire’s food waste is treated at one of two anaerobic digestion plants in the county, located at Cassington and Wallingford. Machinery splits and removes the bags or liners. The food waste is then ground up and processed in a series of large sealed tanks called digesters, where it is heated and stirred for around 80 days. As the food waste breaks down in the tanks, it gives off methane, which is captured and fed into gas engines which turn the methane into electricity. Food waste processed at both sites in Oxfordshire generates enough energy to power around 9,000 homes.

At the end of the process, the digested food waste become a valuable liquid fertiliser, which is spread on local farmland. 

If you would like to find out more, here is a link to Agrivert’s website where there is a video called “Agrivert's journey from food waste to renewable power” which shows the process.

What happens to the plastic bags?

After being extracted from the food waste, the bags or liners are taken to an energy from waste plant to be turned into electricity.

When is food waste collected?

It’s collected from your outside food waste bin each week from most homes in Oxfordshire – on the same day as your rubbish or recycling (If you live in Cherwell please see below).

Why recycle food waste?

It’s great for the environment and saves money. We estimate that around 30 per cent of the county’s food waste is put into the general rubbish bin, and we want to reduce this amount significantly. By recycling your food waste, you are ensuring that it is put to good use - producing methane which is turned into electricity and soil fertiliser for local farmland.

I live in Cherwell, why can’t I use plastic bags to line my caddy?

Cherwell’s food waste is collected and processed differently and unfortunately plastic liners would ruin the final compost. 

In Cherwell, food waste is mixed with garden waste and taken for processing at an in-vessel compost site at Ardley. Here the food waste, compostable liners and garden waste are shredded and treated in two sets of large tunnels where it is sanitised. Air is pumped through the tunnels to aid the decomposition process. It is then transferred outdoors where it continues to compost before being spread to land as a nutritious fertiliser.

We are looking to team up with a compostable bag supplier to offer Cherwell residents discounted compostable caddy liners. Visit for more information. 

Find out more about your kerbside collections.

More ideas to help reduce food waste 

Recycling Advisors

Oxfordshire County Council has recruited a number of Recycling Advisors to attend community and council events across the county, engaging with the public to share hints and tips on how to reduce food waste, save money and how to use the food waste collection service.

If you would like to talk to us about a Recycling Advisor attending an event, please contact or call 01865 816043.

Food Waste Assistant

To support the delivery of food waste prevention solutions, Love Food Hate Waste have created an online tool called ‘Your Food Waste Assistant’ designed to identify waste behaviours and offers solutions based on user selected outputs.

‘Your Food Waste Assistant’ asks you about the last food you wasted, why, and offers simple ideas to help you do something differently next time around.

Love Food Hate Waste campaign

tom logoThe Love Food Hate Waste campaign has been created to raise awareness of the problem of food waste and provide information on what simple steps can be taken to combat it.

Research has shown that 90% of us are completely unaware of the amount of food we all throw away. Once attention is drawn to it people are often surprised and keen to take action.

The diagram below shows the actions that can be taken to reduce food waste:


How to reduce food waste

More tips and information for reducing food waste

Did you know that food can be frozen right up to its use by date? Or that stilton and fresh herbs can be frozen? To find out more about reducing food waste visit the Love Food Hate Waste website or download one of our handy tools below:

Display dates on packaging

(usually found on chilled products)

The key date in terms of safety: never eat products after this date and observe storage instructions. Check if the food can be frozen if you need to eat it at a later date.

Best before (usually found on longer shelf life foods such as frozen, tinned or dried goods)

Refers to quality rather than safety. You can judge if it’s safe to eat food after the ‘best before’ date, but food may no longer be at its best. Eggs are the exception. Never eat eggs after the ‘best before’ date.

Display until and sell by

Used by some shops to help with stock control and are instructions for shop staff, not shoppers.

Free recipe cards