Food and garden waste questions

Why have you added food waste to the green bin collection service?

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Approximately 20% to 35% of the waste in an average household bin is food waste. Collecting food waste for composting has environmental and financial benefits. When food waste is sent to landfill, it decomposes to produce methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. By not sending food waste to landfill, the Council also saves money. It costs £160 per tonne to send waste to landfill, whereas recycling/composting costs approximately £50 per tonne.

What types of food waste will it be possible to put in the green bin?

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All food waste will be taken in the green bin, including: meat and fish, raw and cooked including bones; dairy products, such as eggs and cheese; raw and cooked vegetables and fruit; bread, cakes and pastries; rice, pasta and beans; tea bags and coffee grounds; solid fat; and left over food on plates and dishes.

NO liquids, such as cooking oil, milk and juice will be acceptable in the green bin.

How should I put food waste into the green bin?

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Food waste should be put loose into the green bin. To help you recycle your food waste, we provide everyone with a small silver kitchen caddy and rolls of compostable bags. This will mean that you don’t need to go to your green bin every time you have an item of food waste to dispose of. The contents can then be put into your green bin when the container is full. Do not put the container in the green bin.

Is there an alternative to putting food waste loose into the green bin?

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Yes you may put your food waste into compostable bags. These are designed to be used to line a kitchen caddy (food waste storage container) or could be used to line any container that you are using to collect food waste in. When full, the bags can be tied up and put into the green bin.

To help you recycle all food waste, we provide residents with a roll of 52 compostable bags, left on the doorstep in November or December each year. When you need more please contact us and we will deliver another roll for free. Alternatively you can collect a free roll from your local Council library.

Can I buy compostable bags?

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Individual compostable bags can be purchased at the tills from local Co-op stores in Trafford. These bags can also be used to carry the shopping home, before reusing for leftover food waste.

Rolls of compostable bags can be purchased from major supermarkets and shops, such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and Wilkinson’s. A number of companies also sell rolls of compostable bags by mail-order and online.

What types of compostable bags are acceptable to use?

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When purchasing compostable bags from shops, supermarkets or by mail order/online, ensure they are marked as conforming to composting standard BS EN13432. Bags that conform to this standard should display the ‘looped seedling’ logo. Compostable bags are made from corn or potato starch that will break down during the composting process.

Can I put food waste in a plastic bag into the green bin?

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No. Food waste in plastic bags cannot be processed, as these bags will not break down during the composting process. Green bins containing items in plastic bags will not be emptied. If they are emptied, this could lead to the lorry load being rejected at the Materials Recycling Facility and sent to landfill at extra cost.

Can I use bags that are described as degradable or biodegradable?

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No – this does not mean that they are compostable and therefore, they are not suitable to use.

Can I wrap food waste in newspaper?

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Food waste should not be wrapped in newspaper as this can actually stop or slow down the composting process.

Can I put dog/cat faeces in the green bin?

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Sorry but we cannot accept dog/cat faeces in the green bin. Please double bag and put in your grey bin.

Can I put pet litter/bedding in the green bin?

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Litter and bedding from vegetarian pets (such as hamsters), hay and straw pet bedding (e.g. rabbits and guinea pigs) is acceptable in the green bin.

How do I avoid maggots, flies and smells?

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Do not leave food waste uncovered inside the house before putting it in the green bin, as flies may lay the eggs that develop into maggots during this time.  Keep the green bin lid fully closed and if possible, out of direct sunlight.  Try to remove some of the moisture from food waste before it goes into the green bin, for example by draining peelings. If using compostable bags to contain your food waste, squeeze the air out once they are full. The lack of air should reduce smells by slowing down the rate of decomposition.

Where will the food and garden waste collected in Trafford go to be processed?

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The material collected in the green bins will be transported to an In-Vessel composting facility in the UK. For more information visit the Recycle for Greater Manchester website.

In-Vessel composting is an industrial process of composting that is undertaken in a controlled enclosed environment usually in tanks or containers. Air, temperature, humidity and gases generated are all measured to optimise the composting process. The compost is used as a soil improver in landscaping, farming and horticulture.

Can I buy the compost?

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Sorry no – all the compost is used in landscaping, farming and horticulture.

I live in a flat/apartment/house in multiple occupancy. Can I collect my food waste on the green bin service?

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Yes, if there is a green bin at your property. If not, please contact us online to enquire if your address can be included in a green bin collection round.

What if I have a large family and my green bin is not big enough for all my garden and food waste? Can I have another green bin?

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Yes – order an extra bin online.

I live in a terraced house and haven’t got a green bin. How can I get one?

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Please contact us online to enquire if your address can be included in a green bin collection round.

I have a visual impairment; I am worried about being able to tell the difference between the bins.

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The blue bin has two dimples on the lid, the grey bin has four dimples on the lid and the black bin has 2 ‘cut outs’ on the right side leading edge of the bin. The green bin has 3 dots or 1 cut out on the front edge of the bin or 2 cut-away segments on the left side leading edge of the bin.

Will the green bin need cleaning?

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The smooth sides of the bin minimise the likelihood of the contents sticking to the inside of the bin, though some people like to wash their bins occasionally. This can be easily done by simply putting the bin on its side and using a mop or hosepipe. If so you must ensure that the drain you are using to discard of the rinse water is a foul sewer drain and NOT a surface water drain. Similarly rinse water must not be discarded on open land. There are companies that will clean your bins, however we are unable to recommend any one company.  Check out the local phone book for professional cleaning companies.

What if my bin is damaged/stolen?

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A replacement bin can be ordered for you. Please report it online.

How can I avoid wasting so much food?

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The main reasons for throwing away food can be grouped in to "cooking or preparing too much" (for example cooking too much rice or pasta and it gets left in the saucepan or on the plate) or "not using food in time" - for example having to throw out fruit and vegetables because they’ve gone off in the fruit bowl or in the fridge, or not eating food before it goes past its use-by date.

We know that there are lots of potential reasons why food might not get eaten in time – our plans change, we forget what food we have in the cupboards, we forget to freeze or chill something to use at a later date, we lack the confidence or knowledge on how to use up our leftovers – which is where the Love Food Hate Waste campaign can help.

Log onto for recipes using food leftovers, tips on food storage and advice on portion sizing.

Can I still compost my food waste at home?

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Yes, of course. We are starting to collect food waste to offer a convenient way of composting food waste to residents. If you already compost your food waste at home in a compost heap or compost bin, you can continue to do so.

Please note that you will be able put fish, meat, dairy and plate scrapings into the green bin, items that are not advisable to put into a compost bin or compost heap. So you could continue composting at home and use the green bin for these items of food waste.

We have joined Get Composting to offer our residents the opportunity to purchase compost bins at discounted prices.For more details, visit the get composting website. To order by telephone, please ring 0844 571 4444.

What do I do with waste I collect from our street or open space next to my house?

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We are very grateful to people who help maintain our public spaces and recognise that the support we receive from community groups and individuals makes a real difference.

The One Trafford Partnership have a system in place for picking up waste collected through community litter picks. If you intend to arrange  a clean-up of your local area you can contact One Trafford Partnership on 03330 035 865 to agree when and where the bags can be collected from.

We would discourage community clean ups along busy roads for safety reasons and ask that if a street requires cleaning due to heavy leaf fall that it is reported online or through the contact centre. The One Trafford Partnership put out extra resources during leaf fall season each year to clear up the leaves as quickly as possible. If you believe the pavement is dangerous as a result of the debris please mention this in your report so we can prioritise it.

We would not expect residents to put green waste debris from the street into their green waste bin. This is because waste that has been in contact with the road and pavement is at risk of being contaminated with pollutants from car emissions. Currently the laws state that we are not allowed to send this waste to a composting facility. This waste may, however, be suitable for home composting.   We ask that this waste is not put in your grey residual bin either as the waste collection crew have no way of knowing that the waste came from the street and may reject your bin if green waste is present.

What are my rights regarding leaves and other debris falling from trees overhanging my property

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Under common law, branches and fruit of a tree must be offered back to the owner of that tree is they are taken down by the person who’s land the branches overhang. This is because certain parts of a tree is deemed to be valuable. When a leaf or seeds and small twigs leaves a tree naturally, they no longer have a legal owner. It is the responsibility of the property owner to remove any leaves collected from their property. 

The Council currently removes hundreds of tonnes of leaves from the highway on an annual basis. At least 50% of the leaves are from trees situated on private land and do not belong to us.

Please do not sweep out or put out leaves and other natural debris from your garden or driveway onto the street as this will be treated as a littering offence (or a fly tipping offence if deposited in larger quantities). You may also cause the pavement to become hazardous to pedestrians.

Do the Council make money from selling the compost that is made from our green waste?

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No. The Council have to pay a fee for every tonne of green waste that we send for composting. There is a cost to composting waste through an In-Vessel Composting facility.