Top tips to choose and use a kitchen caddy for recycling

Use this blog to find out how to choose the right kitchen caddy and how to use it to collect household food scraps to put in your compost bin, worm farm or food waste recycling green bin (selected food waste recycling service pilot participating suburbs only) or take to a community composting hub.

Types of kitchen caddies

While you can buy a purpose-made kitchen caddy, it's best to reuse or recycle an existing, empty container like a:

  • glass coffee jar
  • ice cream, yoghurt or feta container
  • old Tupperware container
  • stainless steel cooking pot.

Are you part of the food waste recycling service pilot or a community composting hub user?

Brisbane City Council supplies kitchen caddies for participants in the food waste recycling service pilot and community composting hub users, but they are optional. The caddies are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and can be recycled in the hard plastics section at Council's resource recovery centres if they become cracked or broken.

Key kitchen caddy features

A good kitchen caddy should have the following features:

  • a tight-fitting lid that is easy to open
  • a handle for carrying it to your disposal location
  • a minimum capacity of two litres - size should be determined by the amount of food waste your household generates
  • wide enough to scrape food scraps into from a standard cutting board
  • be sized so it conveniently fits on your benchtop or in your fridge.

Tips for using your kitchen caddy

  • Empty your kitchen caddy every one to three days (more often in warm-hot weather) to avoid smells and rinse after every use.
  • Wrap smelly food scraps in paper towel, newspaper, deli paper, or keep smelly foods in the freezer until you are ready to empty the caddy.
  • If you have space, place your kitchen caddy in the fridge to prevent insects.
  • Do not place meat or dairy in the caddy.
  • When you are not using your caddy, firmly close the lid of the caddy each time you use to prevent insects.
  • Place a fly food cover net over your kitchen caddy to also prevent insects.
  • Place a cup of apple cider vinegar beside your kitchen caddy to capture vinegar flies. You will need to cover the top with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it.
  • Sprinkle vinegar, bi-carb soda, charcoal, or eucalyptus oil in the caddy to absorb and dissipate odours.
  • Put your caddy in the dishwasher or use kitchen soap for a thorough clean each week.

Avoid using compostable bin liners in your kitchen caddy

Bags of any type (including compostable bags) are not to be used in Council food waste recycling green bins or at community composting hubs.

We recommend you don't use compostable bin liners in your kitchen caddy because:

  • they are made from materials such as potato or corn starch and require specific conditions to break down. These conditions are not also available in home composting systems
  • compostable and biodegradable bags:
    • contribute to carbon emissions during the manufacturing and distribution process
    • are single-use items and cannot be reused and don't support the Queensland Government's ban on single-use plastic items
  • this supports Australia's transition to a circular economy by removing single-use waste from waste streams.

If you want to wrap smelly foods before placing them in your kitchen caddy, use paper towel or bags, newspaper or paper packaging (e.g. reuse empty flour bags). When you empty your caddy, these paper items will be composted as well.

What to collect in your caddy

Collect food waste and cooking liquids in your caddy including:

  • fruit and vegetable scraps
  • leftover food scraps (cooked and uncooked), excluding meat, bones, dairy and seafood
  • tea leaves, tea bags, coffee grounds
  • eggshells
  • mouldy bread, cereal, pasta, rice, grains.

Emptying your kitchen caddy

Home compost bin or worm farm

Add some carbon-rich materials (such as shredded paper, dry grass clippings or leaves) to your compost every time you empty your kitchen caddy.

Community composting hub

Empty your caddy in the clearly signed compost bins at community composting hubs. Add some 'brown' material (such as shredded paper, wood chips or dry leaves - you'll find this at the hub) to cover the scraps. 

Green bin - only if you're part of the food waste recycling pilot

Are you part of Council's food waste recycling service pilot in selected suburbs? If so, empty your kitchen caddy into your green bin once every one to three days, along with any grass clippings, branches and other garden waste you have.

Related links

Date posted:
Last updated: 30 June 2022
Topics: green

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