How your food waste is collected

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Emptying food waste slave bin

A food waste ‘slave’ bin being emptied into the food pod

Have you wondered why collection crews empty your food waste into a wheelie bin before tipping it into the vehicle?

Don’t worry, it’s not being mixed with your rubbish and sent to landfill!

Dorset Waste Partnership crews operating the ‘recycle for Dorset’ service use ‘slave bins’ (as they’re unfortunately referred to) to empty food waste into a separate compartment on our rubbish and recycling collection vehicles.

Slave bins are usually spare grey wheelie bins with the lids taken off that are hooked securely to the back of the vehicle while it is moving.

When the vehicle stops, a crew member empties the brown food waste bins into this slave bin.  Once the slave bin is full, it is attached to a lift on the side of the vehicle and emptied into a separate ‘food pod’ in the middle of the vehicle.

This pod is emptied separately at the materials recycling facility or transfer station before being taken to be used either to generate energy through anaerobic digestion or composting.

A separate slave bin is also used for glass.

We ask you to sort glass separately using your green box because shards of smashed glass would reduce the quality and value of the other recyclable materials, such as paper, if they were mixed together.

Our standard recycling vehicles have three separate sections: one for mixed recycling (your green bin), one for food (your brown food bin) and one for glass (your green box).

It would be too noisy and hazardous for our crews to empty your boxes straight into the glass section (the smaller of the two sections at the rear).  Therefore crew members take turns to tip the glass from boxes into another slave bin, which is then emptied into the vehicle when full.

Glass is then taken to a materials recycling facility before being sent on for reprocessing in the UK.

We’re currently looking at how we can make these ‘slave bins’ more distinctive so they don’t get confused with household rubbish or recycling bins, possibly by using different coloured bins. Perhaps we can come up with a new name for them while we’re at it? Any suggestions welcome!

Find out more about the ‘recycle for Dorset’ service here.

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