Oldham residents! Let's talk about food waste

Closed 7 Mar 2021

Opened 4 Feb 2021

Feedback updated 10 May 2021

We asked

Recycle for Greater Manchester (R4GM) is the public facing brand of GMCA Waste & Resources.

We work with local councils in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford to inspire and encourage the residents of Greater Manchester to manage their waste and recycling responsibly. We aim to help residents to see the value of waste and the real benefits that can be achieved by wasting less and recycling right. Wigan is not part of R4GM because it administers its own disposal arrangements.

In 2020, we launched a campaign in Oldham called ‘Buy, Keep, Eat, Repeat’. This was focused on helping residents to reduce their food waste, and recycle any food waste they did have, instead of putting it in their general waste bin. Every household with kerbside wheelie bin collections in Oldham received a leaflet in November 2020, and the campaign was further supported by a dedicated webpage on both Oldham council’s and R4GM’s websites, and social media posts with tips on how to reduce food waste. In February 2021 we carried out a survey to understand people’s behaviours around food waste, food recycling and what would help reduce the amount of food they throw away. We also asked some questions about the Buy, Keep, Eat, Repeat logo and campaign messaging, as well as questions about other national/local food waste campaigns. This survey was targeted at Oldham residents who have food and garden bins as part of their kerbside collections.

You said

We had 451 responses in total. 75% of people said they generally put food waste in their green bin or food caddy. Those who said that they generally recycled their food waste as opposed to putting it in the general waste bin, were then asked if they use caddy liners: 69% of those said that they did use caddy liners.

For those who said they generally put food waste in their grey general waste bin, we asked them why this was. 18 people selected ‘other’ from the list of options; the most common answer was that the green bin did not get emptied so they put food in their grey bin instead.

We also asked people what would motivate them to recycle their food waste if they didn’t already recycle it. The most popular answer here was if it saved space in the grey bin, followed by ‘if it helps the environment’. For those who already recycled their food waste, the main motivation behind them doing this was because they want to recycle as much of their waste as possible.

We also asked people if they thought various items could be recycled in their green bin. A large majority of people were correct about which bin they should put each item. However, 52% of people thought compostable packaging could be recycled in their green bin/food caddy when it should go in the grey general waste bin.

59% of people said that the reason they throw away food at home from time to time was because the food was out of date.

When asked what they do to help reduce the amount of food they throw away at home, 84% of people said that they check what is left in the fridge and cupboards before they do another shop. 74% said they make a list when they go shopping. 73% said they freeze leftovers.

We then asked what support you may need to reduce the amount of food thrown away. The most popular answer was tips on how to store food so it lasts as long as possible (35%). 33% said tips on what food can be recycled and how to recycle food waste. 20% said recipes and cooking tips.

The survey also showed that most people were ‘very concerned’ about the environmental impact of producing and transporting food, and ‘fairly concerned’ about the environmental impact of disposing of food waste.

Finally, we asked for feedback on our Buy, Keep, Eat, Repeat logo and general campaign approach. 66% of people said they quite liked the logo. 59% also said they quite liked the approach of the campaign being split into 4 sections.

We did

The results of the survey were collated and will be used to develop our future work around food waste.

Some of the feedback received has helped us to tailor our messages further when posting about the Buy, Keep, Eat, Repeat campaign on social media. For example, for the question about what support is needed to help reduce food waste, most people selected tips on how to store food. Additionally, the third most popular answer was recipes and cooking tips. Therefore, future posts will focus more on the ‘keep’ and ‘eat’ sections of the campaign. As people also requested more support with tips on what food can be recycled and how to recycle food waste, there will be messaging about how to dispose of compostable packaging. Most people were ‘very concerned’ or ‘fairly concerned’ about the environmental impact of food waste. Further to this, helping the environment was a motivation for some people to recycle their food waste. Therefore, future messaging around food waste will link to climate change through facts and statistics, to show that reducing your food waste on an individual level can help fight climate change.

For more information about our current campaigns, please visit: https://recycleforgreatermanchester.com/community/ or search #BuyKeepEatRepeat on Twitter.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Did you know that every year in Oldham, 9,641 tonnes of food is thrown away that could have been avoided? This costs Oldham tax payers £2.8 million pounds a year in disposal costs.

Reducing food waste not only saves you money but is better for the environment, when you think about the journey food goes on before it gets to your plate.

Please can you complete this survey so that Oldham Council and Recycle for Greater Manchester can understand how to best approach this issue.

We want to find out if you recycle your food waste, why you throw away some food, and learn about what would help you to reduce the amount of food you throw away.

Your responses will directly shape our partnership work in future.


  • General public


  • Green