Organic waste bins (brown bins and sacks)

To ensure fair access to food and garden waste service, we can only provide one type of waste container configuration to a property dependent on eligibility.

They are one brown wheeled bin, or 2 brown reusable sacks with one 23 litre food waste bin.

Combinations of the 2 options cannot be provided.

If your property is suitable for a brown bin

Most houses set back from the highway in Medway can have a brown bin.

If you live in a house with room to store a bin, and can safely present the bin on the public highway, you may have a brown bin.

If your property is not suitable for a brown bin

Some properties are unable to safely store or leave out a brown bin.

In this instance, you may have a 23 litre food waste bin and 2 reusable brown sacks for any garden waste instead. Food must not be put in these reusable bags.

If you're unable to safely move a wheeled bin to the boundary of your property for collection, you can request 2 reusable brown sacks and one food waste bin as a replacement. This is under the condition that your wheeled bin is given back at the time of delivery of the replacements.

Brown bins and food waste

We encourage all residents to recycle their food waste. Food that is contained within the brown bin is not attacked by scavenging animals, keeping the environment clean and tidy. Food is co-mingled with garden waste and is turned into compost to be used on farmland in the south-east.

Putting food waste into a brown bin

Food can go directly into a brown bin. Alternatively, you may collect a silver 5 litre kitchen caddy from any Medway community hub or library free of charge. You could line the caddy with newspaper or compostable caddy liners. You can buy caddy liners from a library for £2.30 per roll of 26, or from most supermarkets.

To maintain the hygiene of your caddy, regularly wash in warm, soapy water or put in the dishwasher.

Silver kitchen caddies

Caddies are small and may not been seen by crews. They may also become damaged as they are not designed for outdoor use. Please remove the contents of the silver caddy before collection day and put it in your brown bin.

If you live in a flat

Most flats either do not have access to a garden, or pay a maintenance charge to their landlord to maintain shared green areas.

It is not compulsory for flats to recycle food, as this can be difficult for landlords and caretakers to monitor and manage. For these reasons, flats do not have brown bins.

Additional brown bins

Properties are allocated one brown bin. This allows our collection crews to effectively plan for quantities of waste they will collect and dispose of during their round.

If households had multiple garden waste bins, it would be impossible to estimate how much waste would be presented each week, and could lead to collection trucks reaching capacity sooner, resulting in the need to be emptied more each day. Each time the truck is emptied, it's no longer collecting waste and this impacts on the time, fuel and staff needed to complete each round.

In Medway, all waste is collected weekly. This is twice the frequency of most other local councils. If you have additional garden waste you can:

  • present a maximum of 2 additional non-black open sacks of garden waste alongside your brown bin each week  (these bags must be no larger than 80 litres, similar size to a regular rubbish sack)
  • extra sacks will only be emptied and returned to your property if they are open and of the correct size outlined above otherwise they will be left and we will not return to collect
  • book a slot at a local household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) free of charge
  • try home composting.

If Medway Council-issued brown reusable sacks are left out alongside a brown wheeled bin at a property, our crews will remove the reusable brown sacks.

Reusable brown sacks can be reissued to the property upon request. This is under the condition that any brown wheeled bin at the property is given back at the time of delivery.

If you have 2 brown bins

Our crews are instructed to collect one brown bin per household per week. This has been Medway Council and contractor policy since 2013.

If you have previously had 2 bins collected per week, you have been receiving an additional service that had not been authorised. We regret that this is not a service that we are able to endorse or maintain. If you do have 2 bins, you may leave them out for collection on alternate weeks to ensure they are emptied regularly.