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What happens to our food waste

Plenty leftover: The power of food waste

More people are recycling food waste than ever before because they know it makes a big difference to the environment – and can create power for homes.

However, some people do not realise that wasted food has a big impact on climate change. Most of it ends up in landfill, where it creates some of the most harmful and polluting greenhouse gases as it rots.

Councillor Mik Sabiers, the council’s cabinet member for environment and highways, said: “One of the simplest ways each of us can make a difference to the planet is to simply stop throwing food leftovers in the rubbish bin.

“You just need to recycle it instead of dumping it and it can become an amazing force for good instead.

“All of the food waste that Ealing Council collects is taken to a special processing plant in England – where it gets converted into electricity for use in homes, and also fertiliser for farms.”

You put out 7,045 tonnes of food waste to be collected in 2018/19.

Most households in the borough can use the council’s weekly food waste collection. It is easy. All you have to do is place your leftovers, scrapings, tea bags, peelings and out-of-date food in your green food waste bin – and, of course, put the bin out on your collection day each week. Simple.

And to make it even more convenient, you can use a smaller ‘caddy’ bin in the kitchen to collect the leftovers and then, when it is full, carry it out to place it in the outside food waste bin.


After the food waste is collected and taken to the processing plant, it is placed in a giant, sealed, air-tight tank to break down in a controlled way.

This produces gas which is siphoned off and used to make electricity that gets pushed into the national grid to heat and light homes. What is left is pasteurised to kill any bugs then used as agricultural fertiliser to improve soil.

None of it goes to waste. Leftover food is perhaps more powerful than you thought?

If you do not have one, ask for a food waste bin at www.ealing.gov.uk/recycling – where you can also find out more about recycling in the borough.

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