How to recycle your food

How it works

Each household should have a small indoor caddy and a larger outdoor caddy or shared red bin (at flats). 

You can collect a free indoor and/or outdoor caddy from St Aldate's customer service centre (OX1 1DS; Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 4:30pm) or Marsh Road Depot (OX4 2HH; Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) if you don't have one.

Food recycling is collected every week on your normal bin day. Empty the contents of your smaller caddy into the larger one or red bin. Place your larger caddy out for collection with your other bins/sacks by 7am on the day or after 8pm the night before.

Lining your food caddy is optional and helps to keep it cleaner. You can also rinse it with warm, soapy water, or wash it in a dishwasher up to 60°C. You can line your caddy with any of the following:

  • Plastic carrier bags
  • Supermarket carrier bags (including bags for life)
  • Pedal bin liners (not black bags)
  • Other plastic bags (e.g. bread bags and salad bags)
  • Compostable bags
  • Newspaper

Please don't use black bags, crisp packets or cloth bags.

We now take all of our food recycling to an anaerobic digestion plant in Cassington, which can remove plastic and turns food leftovers into electricity and fertiliser. Before this, some of our food went to a composting plant, which didn't have the ability to remove plastic.

Plastic liners can be used in Oxford City, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire only. If you live in Cherwell, please only use compostable liners or newspaper/kitchen roll, as your food is sent to a composting plant which cannot remove plastic.

You can buy food caddy liners from Marsh Road Depot (OX4 2HH) for £1.50 a roll of 40. You can also get them for free at our recycling roadshows.

What you can recycle in your food caddy

Items you can recycle:

  • Bread and pastries
  • Dairy products (e.g. cheese)
  • Fish (including bones and scales)
  • Fruit and vegetables (including fruit stones)
  • Meat and bones (cooked or uncooked)
  • Cooking oils and fats (e.g. vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, lard)
    • Please collect (cooled) oils and fats in a plastic bottle and place inside your food caddy or red bin
    • These can be solid or liquid form
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds

We can't recycle any of the following in your food caddy:

  • Compostable cups and packaging (please use green rubbish bin)
  • Glass
  • Non-food products
  • Packaging
  • Vegware packaging (please use green rubbish bin)

Videos: residents recycling food

Meet resident Tiffany, who explains how easy it is to recycle food in a house in Oxford.

If you live in a flat, watch Wendy's video about food recycling.

Home composting

If you’d like to produce your own compost from your food waste, we offer discounted compost bins.