Waste disposal - how food businesses can comply with the law

Tips to help food businesses store waste safely without causing pest problems or contaminating food.

Food businesses in some areas of the city may have been told that they cannot store their rubbish or bins on the road or pavement all the time. 

Here are our top tips to help food businesses store waste safely without causing pest problems or contaminating food:

  • Areas for indoor storage of refuse must be away from food rooms and be cleared at frequent intervals.   
  • Waste must be stored in a way that prevents direct or indirect contamination of food. 
  • Waste storage must be ‘pest proof’ (to keep pests like rats, mice and flies out) – either store waste in a covered area sealed against pest access, or have an adequate number of bin with firmly fitting lids. Bins should have a lid and be made of a durable material, so they are easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect. 
  • Waste must be removed from rooms where food is handled or prepared – remove waste at the end of each trading session from the immediate food preparation area and arrange for disposal or collection. Collection frequency depends on the volume and type of waste. 
  • Enough bins should be provided to accommodate the quantity of food waste normally produced. 
  • Suitable consideration must be given to the waste that your business will create so that it can be stored and disposed of hygienically. This means allowing adequate space for waste to be stored securely whilst awaiting collection. 

Best practice 

  • It is helpful if refuse containers in food rooms are lined with plastic bags to allow easy removal and to minimise food waste coming into contact with containers.   
  • If your business will generate significant quantities of waste oil, consider means of capturing this at the design stage.   
  • If possible, for bulk bins, it is helpful to have drainage plugs to allow for easier cleaning. These should be replaced after use to prevent access by pests. 
  • The use of designated containers may facilitate the recycling of waste products and to ensure that animal by-products are sent for incineration (if applicable). 
  • Ensure indoor refuse storage areas do not attract or allow access to pests. Where space allows, designate a well-lit, separate area for outdoor waste storage with a solid base. 
  • Consider cleaning and drainage – a water supply will be useful. To make cleaning easier, a hard-standing area may be appropriate. 

You can find more information on the law relating to waste disposal in food businesses on page 18 of the UKHospitality - Catering Guide.