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What happens to food and garden waste

The food and garden waste we collect from households and schools in Southwark is taken to our integrated waste management facility.

When enough material is collected, it is transferred into very large lorries and taken to a composting facility.


At the composting facility, the following process takes place with the biodegradable waste:

  • it is shredded to make the particles smaller and water is added
  • it is kept at between 60-70ºC
  • air is added regularly for over about a week, as bacteria uses up lots of the oxygen
  • after being monitored for pathogens, it is removed and put on open windrows where it is regularly turned for up to six weeks
  • finally, it is put through a large sieve to remove contaminants to make it suitable for use as an agricultural soil improver

The soil improver is used for agricultural purposes. It enhances organic matter levels in soil and supplies essential nutrients for improving crops.

Organic soil conditioner 'Pro-Grow' can be purchased at Southwark's Reuse and Recycling Centre.

Page last updated: 22 May 2017


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