Why we are doing a food waste trial?

For some time now, Mid Sussex residents have been telling us that they would like to have food waste collections. With over 38% of the average household rubbish bin in Mid Sussex made up of food waste, providing a separate food waste collection for residents is something we are very keen to do.

In order to meet customer demand and expectations for an improved recycling service incorporating weekly food waste collections, Mid Sussex District Council are working with West Sussex County Council to trial a ‘1-2-3’ enhanced recycling and rubbish collection and disposal service.

Approximately 3,000 households across our district will be taking part in the trial which will provide a weekly kerbside collection of food waste in a bid to eliminate food from their general rubbish bin.

Under the trial there will be no change to the existing two weekly collections of recycling provided to all residents or the garden waste subscription service. In summary, the trial collection service will be as follows:-

  1. Every week: food waste collections in your new green food waste bin
  2. Every two weeks: recycling collections in your existing blue-lidded wheelie bin
  3. Every three weeks: rubbish collections in your existing black-lidded wheelie bin

The aim of the trial is to:-

  1. Further our environmental commitment to improve recycling within the district
  2. Enable residents to recycle with ease through the provision of weekly food waste collections
  3. Help in the development of future recycling and waste collections and disposal services

The trial will commence from mid September and those residents participating in the trial will be contacted directly. The areas chosen will represent a mix of housing types and locations will be spread across the district in order to be as representative as possible.

The trial will enable us to evaluate the proposed new service changes in a controlled manner, gaining valuable feedback from residents and giving us the opportunity to carry out a thorough review which will be vital to helping plan improvements to our future recycling and waste collection services.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the links below if you have any questions regarding the 1-2-3 collection service trial.

What’s the trial about?

What is the 1-2-3 collection trial about?

From September, we will be trialling new services at 3,000 households in the District. The service includes:

  1. Every week: food waste collections in your new green food waste bin
  2. Every two weeks: recycling collections in your existing blue-lidded wheelie bin
  3. Every three weeks: rubbish collections in your existing black-lidded wheelie bin

Why are you running a trial for new rubbish and recycling collections?

Mid Sussex residents have been telling us that they want food waste collections and in response we are looking at trialling an enhanced rubbish and recycling collection service. We also know residents are increasingly concerned about the impact of food waste on the environment.

The trial will help us to see if this type of service could be introduced across the District. Our aims are to reduce the amount of food waste in household rubbish bins and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We hope to improve our recycling rate to reach 55% in our trial areas.

When will the trials start?

The trials will start from mid September. We will be asking for your views on the service as the trial progresses and will get in touch to let you know what happens next as we near the end of the trial period.

Will my collection day change?

No, your bin collection days will not change. If your property is included in the trial, you'll get a collection calendar telling you what bins to put out when. You will also be able to check your collection dates online at www.midsussex.gov.uk/bin-collection

Will I get more bins?

Households included in the trial will get two new bins for food waste:

  • A silver 5-litre caddy designed for use in your home and;
  • A green 23-litre bin designed for outdoor use;

Those living in flats will be given new bins for food waste:

  • A silver 5-litre caddy designed for use in your homes and;
  • A 140-litre wheelie bin located in your bin store for communal use.

You will continue to use your existing blue-lidded wheelie bin for dry recycling and your black wheelie bin for rubbish that cannot be recycled.

Can I opt out of the trial?

No. It's important to take part in the trial if you are in one of the trial areas. You can give us feedback throughout the trial and let us know about any issues. This will help us decide how best to provide rubbish and recycling collection services in the future. If you are in one of the trial areas and want any help or guidance on how you can fully take part in the trial email: wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk

What if I have questions during the trial?

Look at the information on this page - we've tried to answer the most commonly asked questions and we regularly update this information. If you have any questions or queries that are not answered here, please email: wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk

Weekly food waste collections

How do I use the weekly food waste collection service?

Store your silver kitchen caddy in a convenient place in your kitchen and place your cooked and uncooked food waste into the caddy, instead of your kitchen bin.

Whenever you need to empty your caddy tip the contents into your green outdoor container or communal food waste bin.
Present your green outdoor container at the boundary of your property by 7am every week on your collection day. Try not to tuck the caddy behind your other bins but make sure it is visible, so our collection crews can easily see it.

What can I put in my food waste bin?

Cooked and uncooked food waste can be recycled using the service, including:

✔ meat - including bones

✔ fish and shellfish

✔ dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt

✔ cooked and uncooked vegetables and fruit including peelings

✔ bread, cakes and pastries

✔ rice, pasta and beans

✔ uneaten plate scrapings

✔ tea bags and coffee grounds

✔ eggshells 

✔ solid fats

✔ pet food

✔ mouldy and out-of-date food

What can't I put in my food waste bin?

Please remove all plastic and packaging from food waste before putting in your caddy and bin. Remove any foil, clingfilm or plastic and please use to not use plastic to line your caddy or bin and use compostable liners or newspaper.

✖ packaging of any sort (e.g. packaged ready-meals, clingfilm or plastic film lids)

✖ non-food products or materials (e.g. bamboo or compostable cutlery)

✖ oils and liquids (e.g.used cooking oil)

✖ animal waste and bedding

✖ Garden waste such as cut flowers

If you put items that can't be accepted into your food waste caddy it won't be emptied.

Can I line my food waste caddy?

Yes and we recommend using compostable liners or newspaper but it is not obligatory. The Council does not supply compostable liners.

You can purchase compostable liners from most supermarkets and local stores or you could use old newspaper to line the bottom of the caddy instead. If you choose to use compostable liners, please check they are compostable or have a code EN 13432. This means they comply with the standard and requirement of being labelled a biodegradable material.

If you choose not to use compostable liners, we recommend giving your indoor and outdoor caddies regular cleaning to remove any residue left behind. Please do not use plastic liners, bread bags, sandwich or storage bags, carrier bags or plastic that states it is recyclable.

Where can I purchase compostable liners?

If you choose to line your caddy or bin with compostable liners, these can be purchased from most large grocery stores such as Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Tesco or Waitrose. Other retailers such as Robert Dyas or Wilko stores and more local convenience stores will also stock compostable caddy liners.

Please note - Mid Sussex District Council does not endorse any particular brand or supplier, but please ensure you check the liners are compostable, have a certification code EN 13432 or the compostable liner logo pictured below. We will not be accepting food waste bins presented with plastic inside the bin or used as liners.


How is the food waste collected every week?

The collection crews will visit your property each week in a special, smaller food waste collection vehicle. They will place your food waste into a wheelie bin as they walk along (called a transfer bin). This bin will then be placed onto the vehicle and emptied.

I live in a block of flats; how does my food waste get collected?

The collection crews will visit your bin store every week using a special, smaller food waste collection vehicle. We will be lining communal food waste wheelie bins with compostable liners and these will help keep the wheelie bins clean. This liner will contain any food waste and be removed when the bin is emptied each week. A replacement liner will be put inside the food waste wheelie bin once the bin has been emptied. 

Where does the food waste go once it has been collected?

Once your food waste has been collected it will be taken to an anaerobic digester. This is a tank in which the food breaks down into biofertiliser, and biogas which can be used for generating energy.

I don't need this service as I compost at home already

Composting at home is the best way to recycle your food waste but not all food waste can be disposed of in this way. Please use the food waste caddies provided to you for bones, cooked food and dairy products.

I don't waste a lot of food - should I still use the food waste collection service?

Yes. No matter how little food you waste it's really important that it is recycled.
Your food waste caddy will always be emptied no matter how little it contains.

Will the food in my caddy smell?

Your food waste is being collected every week so it shouldn't smell. However, if you want to wrap items like fish in newspaper, that can help prevent odours. Keeping your food waste caddy lid closed can also help to contain any potential smells.

The caddies are also small and easy to clean with hot water and washing up liquid if you need to.

I do not have enough room in my food waste bin - can I have a second one?

Once you've used the food waste caddies for a few weeks it's likely the amount of food you waste will reduce, and one caddy will be enough. However, if you are regularly producing more food waste than can easily fit into your caddy please email: wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk to request an additional bin.

Visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com  for information on how to reduce food waste.

Fortnightly recycling collections

Will my fortnightly recycling collection change?

No. You can continue to use your blue-lidded wheelie bin in the same way.

Can I still recycle the same things as before?

Yes. A full list of what can be recycled in your blue-lidded wheelie bin is available here www.midsussex.gov.uk/recycling

Can I have more recycling bins?

Yes. If your blue-lidded wheelie bin is not big enough, either upgrade your 140 litre to a larger 240 litre or request an additional 240 litre recycling bin, please contact us at wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk

Rubbish collections

Why are you collecting my rubbish bin once every three weeks?

Over 38% of the average black wheelie bin is food waste and we'll be collecting that every week. Over half of household waste produced can be recycled in your blue-lidded wheelie bin.

We know that some households throw away absorbent hygiene products and we are offering an opt-in weekly collection service. Go to the absorbent hygiene products waste section for more information on how to use this service. 

That means you won't be putting as much rubbish into your black wheelie bin so it won't need to be emptied as often.

Will my black wheelie bin smell after three weeks?

If you are using the weekly food waste collections your black wheelie bin shouldn't smell. You can also opt-in to a free weekly collection of absorbent hygiene products which might be another source of smell in your black wheelie bin.

If you think there are other items that will produce an odour e.g. cat litter/pet bedding, then double-bagging them will help.

Why can't I just put everything in my black wheelie bin?

We are making these changes to the way your rubbish and recycling is collected so that you can recycle more and help reduce the amount of rubbish produced.

If you put everything you throw away into your black wheelie bin you will directly contribute to the production of greenhouse gases which are causing climate change. You need to separate your waste correctly.
Can I have another black wheelie bin?

If you are using the services provided to recycle as much of your rubbish as possible you should not need another black wheelie bin. However, if you are using all the services provided fully and still producing extra rubbish email wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk and a member of our team will contact you.

Can I place extra rubbish out if it won't fit into my black wheelie bin?

No. Additional rubbish placed alongside your black wheelie bin will not be collected.

If you are using the services provided to recycle as much of your rubbish as possible you should not need to put out extra rubbish. However, if you are using all the services provided fully and still producing extra rubbish email wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk and a member of our team will contact you.

If you produce extra rubbish as a one-off (e.g. from a party) this can be taken to one of the Household Waste Recycling Centres.

Other collection services

Will my garden waste collection day change?

No. If you are currently subscribed to our garden waste collection service your fortnightly collection will remain unchanged.

How do I subscribe to the garden waste collection service?

For more information on the garden waste collection service and to subscribe to the service visit www.midsussex.gov.uk/gardenwaste

Please note: this is a chargeable service.

Why can’t I put food waste into my garden waste bin?

The garden waste collected in Mid Sussex is composted outside. Food waste can’t be treated in the same way - it has to be treated using heat - so you cannot put food waste into your garden waste bin.

I have an assisted collection- will that still be provided?

Yes. If you receive assistance with moving your wheelie bins that will continue during the trial including your new food waste bin. We kindly ask to keep your outdoor caddy with your other bins at your assisted collection location.

If you are unable to move your wheelie bins yourself and require an assisted collection, please visit https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/waste-recycling/assisted-waste-collection/ and apply using our online form or email us at wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk

Will I still be able to book a bulky waste collection?

Yes. Our bulky waste collection service will continue as normal. To book a collection or find out more visit www.midsussex.gov.uk/waste-recycling/bulky-waste

Useful information

How can I reduce the risk of maggots and flies?

Flies are attracted to odour and loose rubbish (such as food) and lay eggs that hatch into maggots. Frequency of rubbish collections has little impact on the attraction of loose, smelly waste for flies. You can avoid flies being attracted to your rubbish by:

  • Keeping all bin and caddy lids firmly closed
  • Put all your food waste into your food waste caddy - this is collected every week
  • Wrap any potentially smelly food waste in newspaper before putting it into your food waste caddy
  • Don’t leave your food waste uncovered in your home (including pet food)
  • Double wrap pet waste and put it into your black wheelie bin
  • Rinse all tins, cans, bottles and jars and allow them to dry before putting into your blue-lidded recycling wheelie bin
  • Leave your wheelie bins out of direct sunshine if you can
  • Wash your wheelie bins and caddies out regularly with hot water and washing up liquid or a strong lemony smelling disinfectant. Alternatives such as bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar also help eradicate odours and clean the surfaces

What happens if my bin is not collected?

You can report a missed bin online at www.midsussex.gov.uk/waste-recycling and follow the ‘report a missed bin’ link. Alternatively, email us wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk or telephone 01444 477440 to report any missed bins.

Hints, tips and information

Kitchen Caddies

Storage and use

  • Find somewhere convenient to store your food caddy. Under the sink, next to the kitchen bin or on the worktop are practical suggestions given by residents in other counties
  • Use your own container if you prefer something more stylish. There are many shopping outlets that sell food waste/compost containers
  • If you use liners in your kitchen caddy, putting a sheet of kitchen roll or newspaper in the bottom will help keep it dry
  • If you use liners, remember to leave enough room to tie the caddy liner securely before emptying
  • If you don’t use liners, you can use sheets of old newspapers/magazines and wrap your food waste
  • Remember to empty your kitchen caddy regularly to avoid overfilling
  • Carry your kitchen caddy to your outside food waste bin before emptying the contents to avoid any spillages  


  • Pop your caddy in the dishwasher for a thorough clean
  • Use half a lemon or a mix of white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to give it a little clean
  • Take it outside and clean it over the drain if very dirty
  • When you empty your caddy give it a quick rinse using left over washing up water

Food Waste

  • Shop smart, save money and waste less food
  • Making a weekly meal planner and shopping list can help manage and budget your food shop
  • Love your leftovers, freeze individual portions or use as the basis for planning a new meal
  • Check the temperature of your fridge is set correctly (5C or below)
  • Check your ‘used by’ and ‘best before’ dates when purchasing food items

Good to Know

  • The average rubbish bin in Mid Sussex contains over 38% (by weight) of food waste.
  • Saving food from the bin is not only good for the environment but it can also save you money. Throwing food away costs! This is the equivalent of £20 per month per person or £70 per month for a family of four
  • Recycling just 6 teabags produces enough energy to make a cup of tea so even if you don’t produce much food waste recycling a small amount can still make a big difference!

Relevant Links

Visit www.midsussex.gov.uk/home-composting for information on composting at home and how to obtain a home compost bin or food waste digester.

Visit www.wastepreventionwestsussex.co.uk/food-waste for more information and top tips on food waste prevention

Visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for information and great recipe ideas on how to use up your leftovers

Visit www.recyclenow.com/recycling-food for more hints and tips

Contact us

If you have any further questions regarding the 1-2-3 collection service trial, please use our 1-2-3 enquiry form below. A member of the waste team will get back to you and answer your query should you not be able to find the information on our main webpage or in the FAQs.

1-2-3 Collection Trial enquiry form

Last updated: 19 April 2024