Knock knock!

One of the most important parts of our job is to improve recycling services in the city to make it as easy as possible for you to recycle a wide range of things. Another very important thing that we do is speak to people to get their feedback – both good and bad – about the services.

Person speaking to householder

That’s what Maja, Rowan, Kirsty and Antonius from our engagement team have been busy doing over the past few weeks. They have been knocking on doors in Torry, Ferryhill and Rosemount to ask people how they are finding the new food waste recycling service. The team have spoken to hundreds of people this year already, and several thousand since the first flats got food waste bins last summer. That’s a lot of stairs, and a lot of doors to knock on (they really appreciate a doorbell!). We’re really pleased that lots of people the team have spoken to are using the service and think it works well. They’ve also spoken to some people who don’t recycle their food waste just now but have said they’ll give it a try, which is great.

Person using food waste recycling bin

Lots of people have been asking similar questions about the service, so we thought other people might like to know the answers to these questions too. Here are the top five comments we’ve been getting on the doorstep:

“I don’t have a lot of food waste so is it even worth recycling?”
Quite a few people think they don’t produce any food waste. But chances are you’ll be producing more than you think. Do you eat eggs? Drink tea or coffee? Ever get full before you’ve finished and leave a wee bit on your plate? Eggshells, teabags, coffee grounds and plate scrapings are all food waste and can all be recycled. So can any waste from preparing meals (potato peelings etc), meat and fish bones, and out of date food from the fridge or cupboards – but please take it out of the packets first!

“The bags are too thin and I’m worried they will burst.”
The bags are thin, because they are made of biodegradable material and can be composted along with the food waste. However, they are quite strong and can take quite a bit of food. But if you’re worried, just empty the caddy before the bag gets too full. Please don’t use plastic bags as they aren’t biodegradable and will contaminate the recycling.

“Why can I recycle food waste on my street but not anything else?”
The food waste bins have been put in first because we have been given government funding to do this in order to meet new regulations which mean that we must make food waste recycling available to everyone in the city. But we know that a lot of people living in flats really want better recycling services and the good news is that we’ll soon be starting to introduce on-street bins for all recycling – paper and cardboard, glass, plastic bottles and cans, foil and aerosols. They’ll be right next to the waste bins for convenience. It will take a few years to put these in place across the whole city though. In the meantime, you can check here to find out where your nearest Recycling Point is.

“Where can I get more bags?”
You can pick up more liners free from your local library or from most Learning Centres, Customer Access Points at Marischal College, Mastrick, Kincorth or Woodside, or from Kingswells Community Centre. We’re always looking for more places to stock the liners so if there’s somewhere near you that you think would be good, let us know.

“What happens to the food waste?” 
Once the bins are emptied, the food waste is taken to Keenan Recycling in New Deer, Aberdeenshire for processing. There, it’s put inside a special container and heat-treated to break down all the waste into compost. The compost is then used by local farmers and gardeners to grow more crops. Recycling food waste is good for the environment as it means that the waste can be used to make compost instead of being sent to landfill. It also saves the Council money, as the more food waste we can keep out of landfill, the less we have to pay in landfill tax. This means that there is more money available to spend on other services.
Vegetables growing in soil and compost

If you’ve got any more queries about the food waste recycling service, let us know in the comments and we’ll answer them for you.

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