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Cambridge City Council

Bin hygiene

Bins can get smelly in warm weather, attracting flies. In cold weather, the contents can freeze, which can mean we are unable to empty your bin.

Managing your waste carefully can prevent these problems.

  • Wrapping food waste and bagging all other waste will help keep your bins clean.
  • You can rinse your bins out with detergent, or use a bin-cleaning service.
  • If possible, store your wheeled bin out of direct sunlight, as the sun will warm up the bin, increase the smell and help attract flies.
  • Ensure that all bin lids are kept closed. If your bin is damaged or missing we can arrange a replacement.

Prevent bins from freezing in cold weather

Wetter items including food and garden waste can freeze to the inside of wheelie bins during cold spells. If this happens, they won’t empty properly when collectors tip the bin into refuse trucks. You can help by:

  • Wrap food waste in paper – newspaper will do, or you can buy paper liners
  • Put a piece of cardboard at the bottom of the empty bin – do this in cold spells only, as normally cardboard should go in the blue bin
  • Put your bin out at each collection even if it is only half full – this reduces the likelihood that you will be left with a full bin if it freezes

If your bin has not been fully emptied because the contents are partially frozen and you need to dispose of extra rubbish or garden waste you can take it to the recycling centres in Milton or Thriplow. We are not able to return to empty frozen bins.

In the kitchen

Use a kitchen caddy or any container with a lid to collect food waste separately. Line it with newspaper or a paper bag so the food can be wrapped easily before being put into your green bin. Search for ‘paper caddy liners’ to buy them online.

Empty your kitchen caddy (and kitchen bin if you put food waste in it) regularly and make sure waste is properly wrapped or bagged before putting it in your wheeled bins or waste sacks.

Minimise smells and help us recycle effectively by rinsing residue off food packaging such as yoghurt pots and microwave trays before putting them in the blue bin.

Make sure your kitchen bins have close-fitting lids; swing-top bins can sometimes let flies get inside. Keep the lid of your kitchen caddy closed.

Keep all food covered up and do not leave food waste on work surfaces: wrap it and put it in your kitchen caddy or bin straight away.

Discourage flies and remove maggots in warm weather

Flies lay eggs on food waste in warm weather, and the eggs will hatch into maggots inside your bin.

If maggots do get into your wheeled bin, most of them will go when your bin is emptied. Any that remain can be killed with boiling water.

Use a cleaning product with a fragrance to deter flies from your bin.

Other tips

  • Try composting your kitchen vegetable waste in a home compost bin with a lid. This complements the green bin service.
  • If nappies are included in your rubbish, empty solids into the toilet and then double-bag the nappy. Consider using washable nappies to reduce your waste.
  • Try not to prepare more food than you need, so reducing the amount of food you throw away. Visit Love Food Hate Waste for tips on portion sizes and other ways of reducing food waste.

For questions about a service we provide, please use our contact us form