The food scraps bin is an important step in our work towards Zero Waste going to landfill from our district. The food scraps bin is collected every week on your collection day.
Before it was introduced, about 40% of our district’s rubbish bags going to landfill was compostable food scraps. The food scraps bin means that this will now be turned into useful compost. Keeping food scraps out of landfill also helps to lower the volume of greenhouse gases that are produced, reducing our contribution to climate change.
Please feed your food scraps bin only:
- Vegetable scraps, including peelings, stalks and skins.
- Fruit scraps, including peelings, cores, stalks and skins.
- Meat leftovers, bones and scraps, including fat trimmings.
- Fish scraps and bones, and shellfish shells.
- Pasta, rice and leftover cooked food.
- Dairy products.
- Egg and egg shells.
- Coffee grounds, tea leaves and paper tea bags.
- Indoor cut flowers.
- Newspaper (for wrapping scraps or lining your bin).
- Kitchen paper towels.
Do not put any of the following into the food scraps bin:
- Any plastic bags and liners, including compostable bags.
- Compostable coffee cups.
- Compostable containers.
- Compostable packaging.
- Green waste.
- Tissues and bathroom paper towels (kitchen paper towels are ok), for hygiene reasons.
Frequently asked questions
Can I line my food scraps bin?
To avoid items sticking to your bin when it is emptied, we recommend lining the bottom of your bin with large vegetable leaves, dead indoor flowers, newspaper, or kitchen paper towels. You can also wrap sticky, wet or smelly items in newspaper to stop them sticking to your bin.
How can I collect my scraps in my kitchen?
If you’d prefer to keep your food scraps bin outside, you can use a smaller container to collect scraps in in your kitchen, such as an ice cream container, a small pedal bin, or a bowl with a plate over it. Once this is full you can then empty this into your food scraps bin. Some people also place their scraps in the fridge or freezer until the morning of their collection and then place them into the bin, to avoid smells.
How do I keep my food scraps bin securely shut?
Place the handle of your food scraps bin in the upright position at the kerb to keep it locked in place. This stops items from falling out, as well as reducing smells and pests.
Where should I put my food scraps bin at the kerb?
Each of your bins is picked up by a different truck. To help drivers see your smaller food scraps bin, please place it on the side of bigger wheelie bins that will be seen when the driver is approaching your property and at least 30cm away from wheelie bins. Do not place the food scraps bin on top of, behind or between other bins. Once it’s been emptied, on windy days your bin may be placed on its side at the kerb.
Will my food scraps bin smell?
We recommend keeping any smelly foods such as meat in the fridge or freezer until collection day. You can also wrap your food scraps in newspaper to help keep in any smells. Cleaning your bin regularly with detergent and a brush will also help reduce any smells.
Where do items placed in my food scraps bins go?
These are taken to a commercial composting facility where they get turned into compost for gardens, putting nutrients back into the soil.
Why can’t I use compostable or biodegradable bags as liners in my food scraps bin?
There are two main reasons:
- There is no agreed New Zealand standard for compostable packaging, and no national requirements for labelling and meeting commercially compostable international standards. This means it’s very hard to tell the difference between plastic non-compostable liners and plant-based plastic liners that will break down in commercial composting conditions. This would put our food scraps collection at risk, as small pieces of plastic are not allowed in commercially-sold compost, and they are very hard to screen out.
- Even if a bag is made of compostable material, they can be slow to break down and can result in poorer quality compost, so are not accepted by some commercial compost facilities.
Instead, use other allowed items to line the base and sides of your bin, such as newspaper, large vegetable leaves, cut flower stems, or kitchen paper towels.
If you compost at home, keep it up! Composting is a great way to process green waste and compostable items that can’t be included in your food scraps bin, such as tissues, home compostable packaging, hair, cold ash, dust and fallen leaves.
Note that items placed down a sink disposal unit go to the landfill, so it’s best to compost at home or to use your food scraps bin.
To learn more about how to set up a compost, worm farm or Bokashi bin, visit our composting page or take a workshop. We fund free composting workshops each year through Let's Compost, with $40 off your selected composting system.