Organic waste bins (brown bins)

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.

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 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 is 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 will be emptied and returned to your property
  • book a slot at a local household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) free of charge
  • try home composting.

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.

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 instead, or you may also have 2 reusable brown sacks for any garden waste. Food must not be put in the reusable bags.