Around half of local authorities in the UK provide food waste collections to households, but there are a number of challenges to encouraging people to make full use of the service.

People do not always understand what is done with food waste, why it is worth recycling it, and what types of food waste are wanted in the collection system. Concerns about smells and hygiene and ‘the yuk factor’ can also put people off separating food for recycling. We have a strong track record of driving up food waste recycling by tackling these specific barriers through a variety of resident engagement approaches.

We have delivered numerous successful door-to-door engagement (doorstepping) campaigns focused on food waste recycling. We are skilled in techniques to maximise the effectiveness of doorstepping campaigns, for example by targeting under-performing areas and combining doorstepping with the delivery of food waste bins and caddies, and supplies of caddy liners.

We utilised this approach in the London Borough of Hackney – 40% of households provided with a food waste bin through doorstepping went on to use the service and participation in the service increased by 10%. This project made a key contribution to Hackney Council’s ‘Food Waste Experiment’ which won the Best Communications Campaign of the Year at the LARAC Celebration Awards 2015.

Placing 'no food waste please' stickers on refuse bins along with the delivery of caddy liners and a service information leaflet on collection day is an effective way of increasing food waste recycling. We have worked with Woking Borough Council, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Surrey Waste Partnership and West London Waste Authority to deliver this behaviour change intervention to over 425,000 households with great success. This includes a 30% increase in food waste recycling in Windsor & Maidenhead and a 21% increase in  food waste recycling in Surrey.

The success of the latter project made a key contribution to Surrey County Council’s Recycle Food Waste Campaign being shortlisted for the Best Communications Campaign at the LARAC Celebration Awards 2016, Best Recycling Project at the CIWM Sustainability and Resource Awards 2016, and the Communications Award (Public/Third Sector) at the National Recycling Awards 2017.

Read our CIWM Journal article "Stick(er) With Doorstepping" about ways of improving the performance of food waste collection schemes.