Waste and recycling facts and figures

Green bin capacity

Recent waste surveys have shown that:

  • food waste accounts for 43% of waste in green general waste bins
  • around 20% of waste that goes in green general waste bins could be recycled, either in the blue recycling bin or using a recycling bank

By recycling food waste and all other recyclable materials, you should see a noticeable reduction in the volume of waste in your green bin.

In February 2019 and October 2020 a waste analysis was done to see the average contents of a green general waste bin.

The results are shown in the table below.

These figures show a high amount of recyclables in green general waste bins. This has become worse in the latest analysis.

Amounts of waste by type in 2019 and 2020
Type Feb 2019 Oct 2020 Change
Green bin general waste items 38.80% 37.50% -1.30%
Recyclables for the blue bin 8% 7.70% -0.30%
Food 41.80% 42.80% 1%
Recyclables for recycling sites (such as glass) 8.10% 9.80% 1.70%
Garden waste 3.30% 2.20% -1.20%
Total recyclables that are currently going in the green general waste bin 19.40% 19.70% 0.30%
Total recyclables from March with the introduction of food waste recycling 61.20% 62.50% 1.30%

The analysis is by weight. Because food is heavy it accounts for almost half of the bin at 43%. If you take a look in your bin it may not look half full of food - but by weight it is.

The table shows that 8% of the bin weight is recyclables. A lot of this is plastic which may be light. As a percentage in weight it does not look high, but by volume these recyclables take up a lot of space in the bin.

Benefits of food waste collections

There is an international climate change crisis and we are committed to taking steps to tackle this across our services. This includes encouraging and enabling more recycling.

We already recycle 43% of all waste but we know with food waste collection that could go up to around 50% by 2021 and 65% by 2030.

Putting rubbish into landfill not only wastes money, it also contributes to air pollution and to the long-term effects of climate change. We currently landfill 7,800 tonnes a year. Through food waste recycling we aim to reduce that by 50%.

In the first month of food waste collections, we collected over 530 tonnes of food waste in Bracknell Forest.

Carbon impact of processing food waste

The carbon impact of processing the food waste into fertiliser and burning of methane to create electricity is overall positive.

Carbon offset by type
Type Carbon dioxide equivalent
Anaerobic Digestion associated emissions - GOV.UK greenhouse gas reporting -523
Offset from energy generation 5,374
Offset from fertiliser 1,763
Total carbon offset 6,614
Total carbon offset - including incineration diversion benefit 7,582
Total carbon offset - including landfill diversion benefit 35,037