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Questions and answers about our bin collection service



Food waste

Bin collections

Why can't we recycle items such as plastic yogurt pots, margarine containers and plastic food trays?

Across Greater Manchester the only plastic items that can be recycled by the collection services are plastic bottles. These go in your light green recycling bin.

Plastic bags, yogurt pots, plastic margarine containers and plastic food trays are all made of lower grade plastic. There is much less demand from recycling companies for lower grade plastic items and so it is more cost-effective to burn them to generate energy.

For more information visit: Recover - Recycle for Greater Manchester

What help is available for large families?

If you have extra waste you can’t recycle, you may be apply for an extra general waste bin.  Additional bins for general waste can only be provided for larger families with 6 or more members living permanently at an address. Evidence of family members will be required when ordering your bins. You will need to show that you recycle as much as possible and we may carry out a waste audit.

Request an additional bin

Wouldn't it be better to have a smaller dark green bin collected once every 2 weeks?

  • We decided against this option because it gives residents less bin space each week.
  • By keeping the full size bins and collecting these less often (once every 3 weeks instead of 2) we have avoided spending an additional £1.62 million to buy approximately 88,000 new smaller bins.
  • Swapping everyone's full size bin for a smaller one would also be a huge and difficult task

Will you help us more with recycling?

Yes. We provide detailed information online to help you recycle all the right items in the right bins.

We also visit areas across the borough where we know residents are struggling to recycle. In these areas we talk to residents about recycling and how to easily make it a part of daily life.

If we're only having the dark green bin emptied once every 3 weeks, won't this cause a health hazard?

Available evidence suggests that any potential health hazard from less frequent bin collections (from odour and gas emissions, flies, maggots and vermin for example) is low and unlikely, even for households with low rates of recycling (when people put food and/or garden waste in their dark green bin for example). Residents can help by:

  • Reducing, re-using and recycling as much waste as possible, including for example, using re-usable nappies or donating items to charity.
  • Putting all used disposable nappies in a tied bag before placing them in the dark green bin.
  • Putting any animal waste in a tied bag before placing it in the dark green bin.
  • Not over-filling bins and keeping bin lids fully closed.

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Can I put food waste in my garden waste bin?

Yes, you can put all types of food waste in your garden waste bin. You must either buy liners that are designed to compost with the food waste, or use newspaper or put food waste in loose. Your garden and food waste is collected weekly. 

Why should I recycle my food waste?

At least 32% of household waste collected across the borough is unused or leftover food. Due to the rising cost of waste disposal, it costs us 5 times more to dispose of food waste left in your general waste bin than it does to recycle it when left in your brown bin.

What types of food waste can I recycle in my brown bin?

Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy products, egg shells, carcasses and bones, plate scrapings, rice, pasta, bread, pastries, tea bags and coffee grounds. All cooked and uncooked food can be recycled.

You can also recycle your pet food in your brown bin.

Can I leave extra garden waste in bags alongside my brown bin?

We are not able to collect any garden waste left at the side of your bin. You can either compost it, take it to one of the household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) to recycle it for free or keep it until your next collection.

HWRCs can be found at Chichester Street in Rochdale and at Springvale in Middleton. For details, please visit Rochdale - Recycle for Greater Manchester

​​​Can I use plastic bags to line my caddy?

No, you must either:

  • Use the compostable liners we supply - these are designed to compost with the food waste, or 
  • Use newspaper, or 
  • Put food waste in loose.

Plastic or biodegradable bags do not compost and may cause the lorry load of food waste collected to be sent to landfill.

Do I have to use the compostable liners or can I put food waste straight into the brown bin?

You can put food waste straight into your brown bin. The liners are an option to help you to keep your caddy clean and to assist the process of transferring food waste to your brown bin. The liners help keep your brown bin clean and help minimise smells.

We have provided a kitchen caddy to make it easier for you to collect all your food waste in your kitchen without having to go outside to your brown wheelie bin every time you need to put your food waste in it.

Where can I get compostable bags?

We provide additional rolls of compostable bags for FREE. Find out what to do when you need more compostable bags

Will collections of food and garden waste be postponed during the winter months?

No - collections will continue weekly throughout the year.

I am bothered about smells from my caddy. What can I ​do?

By keeping the caddy lid securely closed smells will not escape. Changing your compostable liner regularly will also help. The average household will use around 3 liners per week.

I haven't got space for the caddy in my kitchen. What can I do?

Try putting it in a cupboard or just outside the back door. You may even use your own receptacle to collect food waste, like a bowl or bespoke bin that are available at many leading high street retailers.

I already home compost most of my food waste. Do I have to use the brown bin/street caddy?

Please continue to compost at home as this is the best environmental option for disposing of certain food wastes.​​ Foods you can’t home compost, such as meat, eggs, fish, dairy products or cooked food, can be put in your brown bin/street caddy.​

My brown bin states ‘No food waste’ on the lid.

Please ignore this. The lid information about food waste applies to the old 'garden waste only' collection system.

What happens to the food and garden waste after it is collected?

It's taken to an In Vessel Composting (IVC) facility in the UK.

In Vessel is an enclosed, intensive method of composting with accurate temperature control and monitoring to ensure that the material is fully sanitised before it is matured and screened for use as compost.

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What will happen if the collection crew don't empty my bin on collection day?

  • All bins must be put out for emptying by 7am on collection day. If your bin was out at this time and we miss emptying it, report it to us from 5pm on your day of collection and by 1pm the next working day.
  • You can report a missed bin online
  • After receiving a report of a valid missed bin, our collection crew will return to empty it within 3 working days.

What happens if it's my fault my bin wasn't emptied?

If your bin was missed because you failed to put it out by 7am, your bin was too heavy (for example, if you put rubble in your bin), your bin was too full and the lid was not fully closed, or your recycling bin contained the wrong items, you will need to:

  • Take out the contaminating items and take it to your recycling centre or put the items in the correct bin for collection on your next appropriate collection day.
  • Request a bulky waste collection from the council or commission an independent waste collection service to remove the items.
  • You can save space in your dark green bin by flattening and squashing your waste and squeezing air out of plastic bags.
  • You can save space in your recycling bins by squashing plastic bottles, crushing cans and flattening cardboard.
  • You can take extra waste to your recycling centre in Rochdale or Middleton or any centre across Greater Manchester. For details visit Rochdale - Recycle for Greater Manchester

How will I manage if I am on holiday when my collection is due?

Before going away, try to plan ahead:

  • You can take extra waste to your recycling centre in Rochdale or Middleton or any centre across Greater Manchester. For details visit Rochdale - Recycle for Greater Manchester
  • You could ask your neighbour to put your bin out for you and put it back again after emptying.
  • Don't forget, if you are away on holiday then your bin is unlikely to be full.

What will happen if you have to delay or cancel my collection?

  • We only delay or cancel a collection as a last resort and this is not very often..
  • If we do have to delay a collection due to circumstances beyond our control, for example due to heavy snow, we will provide information on our website, on social media and through our contact centre on 0300 303 8884.

If you're only going to empty my dark green bin once every 3 weeks, how will I manage over Christmas and New Year?

  • You can save space in your dark green bin by flattening and squashing your rubbish and squeezing air out of plastic bags.
  • You can cut back on the amount of waste you have to put in your dark green bin by choosing products with less packaging or that are packed in materials you can recycle.
  • Remember that a lot of extra waste you generate over Christmas and New Year will be recyclable and you'll be able to put it in your blue, light green or brown recycling bins.
  • We may need to change your collection day during this period but it will usually only change by a day or two, either before your scheduled collection date or after it. Find bin collection changes.
  • You can take extra waste to your recycling centre in Rochdale or Middleton or any centre across Greater Manchester. For details visit Rochdale - Recycle for Greater Manchester The centres are open every day except on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Can I buy a second bin?

We do not sell additional bins.

If you think you will need another dark green bin, please contact or call 0300 303 8884.

I would like to order a new or additional bin

  • Recycling bins - if you consistently exceed the capacity of your recycling bins, please let us know and we can look to provide an extra bin free of charge. Request an additional bin
  • Dark green bin - if you do recycle but still find that you still need more room to store all your non-recyclable waste, please contact us and we can offer advice on reducing your waste and we may be able to provide an additional general waste bin.

If my bin is full, can I put out extra bin bags at the side of my general waste bin?

No, we will not collect any bin bags left at the side of your general waste bin. Please use the recycling bins we have provided for recycling paper, cardboard, glass, cans, plastic bottles, aerosols and aluminium foil.

You should not put any recycling, food waste or garden waste in your general waste bin. Please make sure that the lid is shut when you put your bin out for collection.

Note: we will accept some additional recycling materials left beside your bin, provided they are safe and secure (for example, left in a box so that we can see what it contains).

What are the options for residents with lots of disposable nappy waste?

Residents could look at using Real Nappies - these are washable cotton nappies that can be reused. Alternatively, you may be able to apply for an additional general waste bin. You will need to show that you recycle as much as possible and the council may carry out a waste audit.

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​0300 303 8884

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Environmental Management
Green Lane
Heywood OL10 2DY
(Postal address only)

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