War on Waste

The War on Waste. Join Us.

When we throw something away, it’s just ‘away’ from us. It still exists. We want to take full responsibility for what we use, and help others do the same. 

There are many reasons to get a good waste system right; it saves time and hassle managing mess, there are less stinky heavy bags, and less carbon emissions.

Waste systems are one of the biggest proof points a host can use to show they care about the planet. Don’t expect guests to reduce their impact on the planet for you (by using less energy/water etc) if you can’t role-model good behaviours to them in the first place.

Why update your waste practices?

You'll save time managing mess

When guests have clear info' and understand WHY you're suggesting something, they are far more likely to reciprocate and help you.

It goes along way to stop the stink!

Those black bags stink with so much food rubbish in them. Use composting to deal with this issue if you can. No more cleaning out bins full of maggots, or foxes and donkeys ripping the bags open and upsetting everybody!

It increases recycling rates

Feel good about your recycling rates. Yes the council here are pretty hopeless, but you don't have to be. Role model the right thing. Clear systems, good signage and when food is split out from recycling, rates shoot up. Yes - we tested this.

It will help reduce your guests eco-anxiety

75% of the adult UK population are worried about climate-change. 83% of teens are (UK Census 2022). Poor waste systems are going to make them feel worse. This is not a holiday experience you want them to feel. Do good by them.

It creates a culture of caring

Prove you care about the environment. Don't expect guests to reduce their impact on the planet for you (by using less energy/water etc) if you can't role-model good behaviours to them in the first place.

Waste... How bad is it really? We researched the problem.

Our New Forest authorities waste systems – yes, they’re really bad.

the New Forest Council recycling rates are amongst the lowest across England
Only 35% of waste is recycled here – the UK average is 65%!

Our 2022 Rubbish Research project:

From Feb – April ’22, Rachel, Founder at NFE, measured guests rubbish by weight and content. We measured only 3 rural houses but the themes were very clear and it was a totally disgusting job…

  • We found:
    Some people create up to 20kgs of waste in 3 days
  • Up to 30% of black bag waste was actually food waste
  • When we provided a compost solution, 99% of people used the system immediately
  • When food waste was separated recycling rates increased
  • Guests expect owners to help them waste in the best way

Our Owner research:

  • Most owners have only a basic set up
  • Most owners are exasperated with the council system and feel stuck
  • Most owners have poor signage, communications to guests varies hugely
  • All owners hate dealing with nappies and dog poo in plastic bags

Our 6 Step Guide to War with Waste!

Step 1 - Be empathetic. People are worried about their waste.

85%* of UK travellers want to reduce general waste.

49%* of travellers want to eradicate single use plastics.

1.3 billion tons of waste, between 4-8 % of global waste, is produced each year solely by tourists**.

We can and must take responsibility, this includes helping our guests help themselves.

*   Booking.com 2022 Travel Survey.
** The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 

seagull bird eating plastic

Step 2 - Help guests with super clear messaging.

Our research in 2022 helped us understand:

1. Guests want to know EXACTLY what to do + how to do it.

2. They want to know WHY the set up is like it is –  if there are limits and specific reasons to do something.

This is critical – it helps reduce their eco-anxiety/anger/resentment for owners efforts. They assume it’s you not the council that are at fault.

3. They want to SEE you’re really making an effort (battery / electric waste / food bank items/ charity shop items etc).

Step 3 - Food waste is a big deal.

People really expect action on food waste. If you can, COMPOST!

In country houses:

1.  Purchase a food caddy (circa £15 – £30)
2. Get composting! (We love WormCity wormeries, based in Ringwood, and our owners get a discount. Expect to pay £20- £150. Alternatively, look at at Facebook Marketplace etc for freebies).

Read the composting section below for more signs/tips/help.

If you can’t offer food waste handling:

1. You need to tell your guests WHY. They will expect better waste systems than we have. They will expect you to handle food waste for them. It is usually normal elsewhere.
2. You need to explain why really carefully. Make sure you use our sample in Step 2 to help.

Step 4 - Review your recycling bin set up.

Make the right thing easy, and the wrong thing hard! Use this animal-training principle to help your guests.

Make sure your waste system is super easy to operate. You need:

A large general recycling bin.  Read the council list here. 

A food waste caddy

A general recycling bin (make this secondary by making it slightly smaller than the  recycling bin).

A large glass bin (usually large outdoor bins are fine)

Nespresso pod bin – You can return these with PodBack.  This sort of detail really impresses people.

Batteries and electrical waste – should be kept and taken to the council facilities.

Label all bins very clearly.

Put bins as close together as possible – the kitchen is best – people don’t want to walk more than they have to.

Step 5 - Update your guest signage around waste.

Info must be easy to find, preferably on the bins or very near.

Also add the information to the house book. See Step 2.

Make signs super clear and easy to see.

Wipeable signs are better

Don’t forget to have fun too. This is a great opportunity to be human and make people smile!

Download and edit your House Book sample information page here.
Download and edit your Food Caddy sign example here.
Download and make it silly/er – your Name your Worm form here.


Step 6. It's all changing in 2025.

FINALLY! Yes, finally, the council are getting their act together…

Food Waste – From 2025 the council will provide a 7 litre caddy which can be used in kitchens, and a 23 litre caddy for collections.

Only food waste will be collected each week. If it overfills you will need to deal with excess food waste in another way.

Mixed Recycling – will be added loose to an 180 litre wheeled bin and include:


Step 6 - Feedback and improvement..

When we throw something away, it’s just away from us. It still exists. We want to take full responsibility for what we use, and help others do the same.

If you have better ideas, let us know! This is a part of our journey to improvement.

Ask your guests if the system worked, ask them if they have ideas for improvement.

If you have feedback, please let us know [email protected]



plastic mountains of rubbish

Compost - it's all about the details

You will hear people say “No! Rats moved in”.  or “The flies were horrible” or “It overflowed”.
It’s true, it can go wrong, this is about management not impossibility!

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you feel confident and try it out.

Compost Do's

  • Put it somewhere away from people. You will get flies, they are part of the process. It would be weird to have biodegrading with some bugs – it’s their job.
  • Put it on the soil not on concrete. Put it in the shade, so it doesn’t dry out.
  • Turn it with a garden fork a few times in the year, the process likes aeration, which speeds the biodegrading up.
  • Make it easy to find and operate – for guests, for you. Keep it accessible.
  • Do your research – a little will go along way – How to make a compost heap – The Eden Project – Read here
  • Mix your brown and greens – 50% and 50% – Food is just one thing to go in. Get your grass clippings on there. Read more here with the RHS
  • Use your new soil enricher on your garden! Feel proud, feel glorious, feel like a farmer!
  • If you want to compost dog poo – watch this You Tube here. Apparently it’s very successful.

Compost Don't's

  • Don’t put meat or dairy on it (unless it’s a closed system like a wormery).
  • Let your heap get too dry – rats love this.
  • Don’t leave the compost bin uncovered (Rachel at NFE does and it’s fine, but she does live on a farm, and no, there are no rats about either).
  • Don’t compost dog poo if you want to use the soil in food-producing areas. It may be better to build one instead of buying one. Use wooden pallets. Ask your gardener or green-fingered neighbours to advise.
    If your house is very busy, with a lot of food waste going in, you might need to have both a contained system and a pallet system – the key is the right mix of green/brown mix from the garden. Read more here with The EcoGardener. 

The value of composting in £

Why buy in compost when you can make it yourselves? 

Let’s say you buy 8  x bags organic, peat-free compost a year @ £7 a bag = £56.
Fuel to/from garden centre @ £4 a time x 3 visits = £12.

Total cost per year of £68

Over 20 years of gardening this costs you circa £1,360

Compost v's Wormeries


This is a better system for a big property.

You might be able to get a free one online from Facebook Marketplace etc, or up to £150 for a large new version


Wormeries cost with WormCity = circa £77- £87 – including the worms. Head here to get our discount with them. 

Get a big one, even for a small house, you’ll be surprised how much guests can waste. Here’s WormCity’s FAQ for you. 

More about the 2025 NFDC bin pickups...

New Forest District Council says – “With the new service, you will be able to recycle much more from the kerbside, like food waste, foil, and extra plastics. And we’ll be able to reduce our impact on the environment, make collections safer for our staff, and reduce litter from split plastic sacks in our streets”.

The NFDC Waste Strategy Summary document (2021) states that the changes will:

  • Meet the government’s recycling rate target of 55% in 2025 and 65% in 2035 and reduce waste in the district.
  • Recycle food waste, which currently makes up roughly 40% of our total collected general waste, by weight
  • Collect a wider range of recyclable materials, including more plastics
  • Reduce litter from split plastic sacks, which can cause harm to wildlife


For the full information on the waste strategy on the NFDC council site, click here. 


NFDC Council website pages for;

Household Waste – Read here. 

2022-2027 Waste Strategy – Read here 

WRAP UK – Waste in Britain – The Key Facts – Read here 

You're on a roll! You can green up and reduce costs in other areas of your holiday home too...

The Booking.com Travel Survey 2022 found that 83% of people surveyed want to travel greener. 

This is the future we believe in and are working towards to create change in the tourism industry. 

B Corp        Our To-do List

The 20 second summary...

Guests expect best practice waste set ups. BUT the New Forest is one of the worst councils in England for waste management – we only recycle 35% of waste. The UK average is 65%. We don’t even have food waste bins yet!
Guests can get upset that our homes don’t recycle to the level they expect.

Guests are right to be worried. Emissions from waste are a significant contributor to a homes carbon footprint.

In the New Forest Escapes office (back in 2019) – 1 black bag, and 1 recycling bag a week, was 7 tonnes of CO2e (equivalent) per year.
It wasn’t hard to address this. We moved bins around, separated waste into specific bins, labelled them clearly. That took less than an hour.
It gave us a big reduction in emissions.

In 2025 the New Forest District Council will change their set up. The council will supply all new bins, but only pickup food waste weekly, with general rubbish and recycling fortnightly.

We want to help owners green up their waste systems NOW and keep food nutrients for the garden compost.

Doing this could reduce your house emissions by up to 20% and your guests will definitely see you care, so they are likely to care more.

What you can do now….

Get a food caddy, wormery and/or compost unit – use our discounts.
Review your signage to help guests improve recycling – look at our ideas here.
Show guests you care, quickly make a positive impact and reduce emissions.

Doing these clear and simple things will help put you at the front of delivering greener holidays.

For more info on WHY, read down the page. OR to get straight into the HOW, read our 6 step guide below.

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