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 collect food scraps to put in your compost bin, worm farm, green waste recycling bin (selected households in the food waste recycling service pilot) or your local community composting hub.

Types of caddies

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

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

Caddies provided by Brisbane City Council

Council provides optional caddies for households in the food waste recycling service pilot and community composting hub users. These caddies are made from 100% recycled plastic and can also be recycled in the hard plastics section at Council's resource recovery centres if they become cracked or broken.

Key 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
  • conveniently sized so it fits on your benchtop or in your fridge.

Tips for using your caddy

  • Empty your caddy every one to three days (more often in warm-hot weather) to avoid smells and rinse after every use.
  • Keep smelly foods in the freezer until you are ready to empty the caddy.
  • If you have space, keep your caddy in your fridge to prevent insects.
  • Do not place meat or dairy in the caddy.
  • Firmly close the lid of the caddy after each use to prevent insects.
  • Place a fly food cover net over your caddy to prevent insects.
  • Place a cup of apple cider vinegar beside your 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

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

We recommend you don't use compostable bin liners because:

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

What to collect in your caddy

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

Emptying your caddy

Home compost bin or worm farm

Add some carbon-rich materials (such as dry grass clippings or leaves) to your compost every time you empty your 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

Check if you're part of Council's food waste recycling service pilot. If so, empty your caddy into your green bin every one to three days, along with any grass clippings, branches and other garden waste.

Related links

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Topics: green

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