How to choose and use a food waste caddy

September 21, 2022

food waste caddy

A food waste caddy is an excellent tool that helps you recycle domestic food waste. Recycling food waste is crucial since it’s one of the main components of domestic waste and landfills. Estimates suggest up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food waste.

The average UK household throws away £355.68 in food and the average US household $1,866 worth of food per year. One-third of all food produced globally is estimated to be wasted or lost, with households generating 60% of it.

Learn why you should recycle food waste and how to choose and use a food waste caddy.

Why recycle food waste?

While food waste can decompose well in the right environment, it struggles to do so in landfill. Food waste rotting in landfill creates methane, a greenhouse gas considered more than 25 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. 

Landfill sites take up space, smell bad, harm wildlife, and may contaminate the water supply. You can significantly help reduce the amount of food waste reaching landfill by recycling.

If food waste reaches recycling plants, the methane can be converted into biogas and used to generate electricity. The remaining waste is used to make a nutrient-rich organic fertiliser. 

What should we do?

The best thing is to reduce the amount of food we waste. You can find some tips (and some great recipes!) in our blog post. Use our grocery shopping list to prevent buying too much. 

But there’ll always be some items we can’t eat — egg shells, banana peel, bones, and used coffee grounds. A good food waste caddy will help you recycle these.

How to choose and use a food waste caddy

How to choose a food waste caddy

A food waste caddy is a small bin for your kitchen to collect food waste on the go. You can then transfer the contents to a bigger outdoor food waste bin or compost pile.

You can find food caddies made from ceramic, enamel, steel, recycled plastic, and more. Choose one that meets most of the following demands and matches your interior to recycle in style!

Choose a food caddy based on the size of your family and your kitchen. Caddies between 4 and 7 litres are the most popular. A small caddy may mean more trips to the outdoor bin, but it’s more hygienic.

Go for a caddy that’s easy to clean, and you’ll thank yourself later. You can even find some that are dishwasher safe. And some caddies have a removable inner bucket for easier cleaning.

A hinged lid or a pedal mechanism makes it easier to operate when your hands are full. Make sure the caddy can be tightly closed to prevent odours and flies. A rubber seal and features to keep the liner in place are both handy but not crucial additions. 

Some caddies have a ventilation system that allows air to circulate and reduce moisture. And air filters further reduce the possibility of odours, but correct usage is just as important. 

How to use a food waste caddy

Keep your food caddy in a convenient place in your kitchen. You’ll probably use it more if you make it easy for yourself. 

Lining the caddy makes it easier to clean, and keeping the caddy clean is one of the easiest ways to prevent it from smelling. 

Check your local guidelines if you should use compostable, industrially compostable, or biodegradable bags. Some areas let you use newspapers or paper bags. Or just go with compostable bags — they’re always a safe bet.

The smell in the bin usually occurs due to excess humidity and little oxygen. Make sure your food waste contains as few liquids as possible. Place paper at the bottom of the bin to absorb moisture if you’re using a bag for lining.

If local guidelines permit, add used paper towels or napkins to your food waste to bind the moisture. Shredded newspaper or cardboard egg cartons are also great for helping aerate the waste.

To avoid flies, immediately throw leftovers (including pet food) into the caddy when you’re done. Always keep the lid tightly closed, empty your caddy regularly, and rinse it at least once a week.

Odours or flies can be avoided with food caddies, so don’t let those myths keep you from recycling.

food waste caddy

How to choose and use a food waste bin

How to choose a food waste bin

A food waste bin is used for storing food waste until the waste contractor gathers it. 

Food bins are usually over 20 litres and can hold a week’s worth of food waste. You’ll probably get one from your waste contractor or local municipality, so you don’t have to worry about buying the right one.

If you buy a bin, get one that you can firmly close to prevent odours and flies. You can stock up on compostable bags of the same size. 

If you compost, you can transfer most food waste straight from the caddy to the compost site. But some food waste can only be broken down in a recycling plant.

How to use a food waste bin

Lining the bin makes it easier to clean, especially if you don’t use liners in your caddy.

Rinse the bin regularly, use disinfectant if needed, and don’t overfill the bag or the food waste bin.

Keep your food bin out of direct sunlight if possible. Empty the food waste bin every week even if it’s not full.

And remember that regular food caddies and bins aren’t meant for composting food waste. 

What can go into the food caddy and food bin?

  • cooked and uncooked food
  • leftovers and plate scrapings
  • raw and cooked meat and fish, including bones and shells 
  • tea bags, tea leaves, and coffee grounds
  • raw and cooked fruit and vegetables, including peelings, waste, and stones
  • non-liquid dairy products and eggshells
  • pasta, rice, cereal, beans
  • bread, cakes, pastries
  • leftover solid fats
  • pet food
  • napkins
  • cardboard egg cartons

What can’t go into the food caddy or waste bin?

  • food packaging
  • garden waste like grass, leaves, or branches
  • cat litter, dead animals, animal waste
  • liquids
  • oil or liquid fats
  • cigarette ends
  • textiles and leather
  • ashes
  • anything else that’s not food

The lists may vary depending on the recycling processes used in your area, so please check your local guidelines.

Why not compost everything at home?

Not all food waste can decompose in your home compost pile. 

Meat, fish, and bones need the temperatures only industrial recycling plants can offer. Along with dairy and baked goods, they’d start to smell in your compost and attract pests.

Ready to fight food waste?

We hope you now understand why reducing and recycling food waste is essential. We also hope we helped you pick out your food caddy and that you’ve got some tips on using it. 

You may also want to read how to travel without harming the environment and how electric scooters help reduce congestion and emissions for other ways to help the environment.


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