Hounslow hails ‘bin washing’ food waste scheme for flats

Hounslow council has reported that a project launched in 2020 to help residents recycle food waste from flats has seen nearly 600 tonnes recycled and generated £50,000 of savings.

Hounslow food waste
As part of the scheme, each communal bin is replaced after being washed

To drive participation in the scheme, a bin wash system was built which meant a full bin collected from each site weekly was replaced with a clean one after being put through a machine “similar to an industrial dishwasher”.

The council said this has helped the main issue of dirty/smelly bins reported in residents’ feedback. Hounslow says it is the first London borough to introduce this innovative and successful service.


Hounslow launched the scheme in partnership with  the West London Waste Authority and its waste collection partner, Recycle 360, to implement new initiatives that would stop leftovers going in the rubbish bin.

While it the service now reaches 16,794 households across 137 sites, it is short of the 24,000 target it set itself by the end of 2022.

Flats make up around 32% of housing stock in the borough with around 35,000 properties.

We do not want to see food going into an EfW site. As a borough, we cannot afford it

  •  Councillor Guy Lambert


Hounslow, which runs an in-house collection service, says it has engaged with residents throughout the project and the service has thus far “proved a hit”.

Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for environment, highways and operational services, Councillor Guy Lambert, said: “The food waste recycling project is one of those ideas that makes perfect sense. No one wants to see food going to waste. We especially don’t want to see it going into an energy from waste site. As a borough, we cannot afford it.”

Cllr Lambert added: “It is clear that there is an appetite amongst our residents to recycle more food waste than ever before. That is why we have listened to what they have had to say. We have understood the barriers they face in recycling their food waste and made every effort to remove them. This is why we have introduced innovations such as the bin washing service, which have been so successful.

“This partnership approach has paid dividends for us and we are seeing more food waste than ever before being converted into energy or made into environmentally-friendly fertiliser for the agricultural industry.”

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