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What happens to my food and garden waste?

Find out how we dispose of your food and garden waste.

The food and garden waste collected within Lewisham is taken to Veolia in Southwark to be treated through a process called IVC (In-Vessel Composting). Composting is nature's way of recycling, and is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to treat waste. The waste is treated in different stages, as described below.

The composting process

Stage 1

The food and garden waste collected within Lewisham is first taken to Veolia in Southwark to be combined with organic waste from other London boroughs. It is then taken to an In-Vessel Composting (IVC) facility to be treated.

The composting process is kick-started by naturally occurring micro-organisms already in the waste. They break down the material, releasing the nutrients and in doing so increase the temperature to the 60-70ºC needed to kill pathogens and weed seeds, and meet the regulations for processing ABP material.

Stage 2

After the first stage (which can take between seven days and three weeks), the material is transferred to the second ‘barrier’, where the composting process continues, usually for a similar duration.

Processing in two stages ensures that all parts of the composting mass reaches the required temperature. The oxygen level, moisture and temperature are carefully monitored and controlled during both composting stages to ensure the material is fully sanitised.

Stage 3

Once the sanitisation process is complete, the compost is left to mature in an open windrow or an enclosed area for approximately 10-14 weeks to ensure stabilisation.

Stage 4

Once the composting process is complete, the waste has been fully converted in to compost. This is sold on to manufacturers and nurseries, where it is used to grow new produce.

If you have any questions on how we manage your food and garden waste, please contact us at recycle@lewisham.gov.uk



Wearside Service Centre, Wearside Road, Ladywell, London, SE13 7EZ

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