The council has announced plans to increase Reading’s recycling rate to 50 per cent.

Just 32 per cent of household waste is recycled in the town but Reading Borough Council (RBC) hopes its new food waste bins will increase this by 11.5 per cent alone.

Every home in Reading will get a 23-litre food waste caddy, as well as a smaller caddy to keep inside the house.

The council hopes to introduce food waste collection by Autumn 2020 and also plans to swap your 240-litre grey wheeled bin for a 140-litre black wheeled bin.

Research by recycling charity the Waste & Resources Action Programme shows this has helped to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill in other parts of the country.

But what goes in what bin? And how will this change when the new food waste bins come to your home in Autumn 2020?

Currently in Reading, we have red bins or boxes for recyclable waste, and a grey bin for waste that cannot be recycled.

These are collected every two weeks.

You can also subscribe to the £60 a year garden waste service to receive a green bin or bag which is collected once a fortnight.

From an anticipated date of Autumn 2020, a new bin will join the waste party.

Between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the household rubbish put into our grey bins in Reading is food waste.

This often ends up in landfill where it rots and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

When recycled, food waste can be turned into fertiliser for farming and energy.

The council has not yet decided what colour food waste bins will be.

More extravagant selections such as purple cost more money than a colour like brown or grey does, while choosing a colour that hides dirt will also be a consideration.

But now for what you’ve all bin waiting for – what goes where?

Recycling bin

Colour: Red

Size: 240 litre

Every: 2 weeks

Cost: Free


✓ Plastic bottles (e.g. drinks, milk, toiletries, detergent)

✓ Plastic pots (e.g. yoghurt, cream, snack, soup)

✓ Plastic trays (e.g. fruit punnets, meat/cake trays)

✓ Plastic tubs (e.g. ice cream, margarine, sweets tubs)

✓ Paper and card

✓ Cartons (Tetra Pak) cartons (e.g. juice, milk, soup cartons)

✓ Clean foil and foil trays

✓ Tins and cans (e.g. drink cans, food tins, biscuit or sweet tins – please rinse)

✓ Empty aerosol cans (e.g. deodorant, air freshener, hairspray, de-icer)

✓ Shredded paper (must be contained in a small cardboard box or envelope)

Doesn’t take

✗ Plastic bags, film and wrapping

✗ Black plastic trays

✗ Glass bottles and jars (goes to a recycling bank)

✗ Kitchen towels, tissues or wet wipes

✗ Food waste

✗ Nappies and sanitary products

✗ Coffee cups

✗Textiles (clothing, bedding, duvets)

✗ Polystyrene

✗ Any other items

General rubbish bin

Colour: Grey

Size: 240 litre -> Soon to be 140 litre (from around Autumn 2020)

Every: 2 weeks

Cost: Free


✓ Non-recyclable rubbish including packaging, plastic bags and food waste (currently)

✓ Nappies

✓ Hygiene waste (incontinence articles, catheters etc.)

Doesn’t take

✗ Builders rubble

✗ Soil

✗ Hazardous waste

✗ Trade waste

✗ Other clinical waste

But when the new food waste bins come in…

You guessed it – the grey bins won’t take food waste anymore. They will also be 100 litres smaller.

Garden waste bin

Colour: Green

Size: 2 x 240 litres or 2 x bag

Every: 2 weeks

Cost: Two bins for £60 a year or two bags for £20 a year (bin + bag = £60 a year)

Note: Residents must purchase garden waste containers for their property from the council in addition to the yearly fee.


✓ Grass and hedge cuttings

✓ Leaves, plants and weeds

✓ Untreated wood and branches up to 100mm thick

Doesn’t take

✗ Food waste (including fruit and vegetables)

✗ Treated wood

✗ Turf or soil

✗ Garden furniture

✗ Pet bedding or litter

✗ Gravel or rubble

✗ Trade waste (including waste from a gardener or other contractor working on your property)

✗ Plastic bags and wrappers

New food waste bins (From around Autumn 2020)

Colour: Unknown

Size: 23 litres + smaller caddy for inside

Every: Week

Cost: Free


✓ All forms of cooked and uncooked food including fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, rice, pasta, bread, dairy and tea and coffee grounds.

Doesn’t take

✗Liquids, garden waste or packaging in the food waste bin