Effective from 1 January 2024

New food waste sorting instructions in Vilnius

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How will the changes affect Vilnius residents?

From 1 January 2024, residents of Vilnius will have to sort their food waste. Vilnius residents will be invited to collect food waste at home in orange disposable bags, which they will conveniently place in a dedicated container. The bags will have to be placed in mixed municipal waste containers once they have been tied tightly.

The orange colour of the bags will allow this waste to be identified in the Vilnius Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facilities, separated from the overall waste stream and recycled more efficiently. Food waste will be turned into compost and the bags will be recycled.

What is defined as food waste?

What should be put in food waste containers?
Unpacked foodstuffs that are no longer good for consumption
Peelings, skins, nibbles, cores
Tea and coffee grounds, teabags
Houseplants and parts thereof
Paper towels and napkins
Food supplements that are no longer good for consumption
Other waste of organic origin or biodegradable waste
What should not be thrown into food waste containers?
Plastic, glass and metal packaging
Plastic, glass, metal
Kitchen sponges and cloths
Magazines, newspapers and other chemically treated paper (baking paper)
Liquid food
Tobacco products
Medicines
Hazardous waste

Why is this important?

Separating food waste is important in terms of environmental, economic and social aspects:

  • Responsible sorting keeps food waste out of landfill.
  • If food waste is collected and handled separately, it can be converted into natural fertiliser, used to produce biogas or compost.
  • By separating food waste, it does not contaminate other mixed municipal waste entering the stream, which increases recyclability.
  • Separating food waste also promotes an important social change in reducing the production of such waste and food loss.

Map

The map shows the locations where food waste sorting containers and disposable orange bags are planned to be distributed to citizens from December 2023.

To find other (temporary) distribution locations, click here.

Frequently asked questions

Why is Vilnius introducing a new sorting scheme?

Under Lithuanian legislation, Lithuanian municipalities are obliged to manage food waste separately from 2024 onwards, a change prompted by an EU Directive that has been implemented by all European Union (EU) Member States. Separating food waste from the general stream can increase overall recycling efficiency, preserve natural resources, reduce food waste and exploit the potential for recycling food waste.

When is the new food waste sorting scheme coming into force?

The new food waste sorting scheme will enter into force on 1 January 2024.

How should food waste be separated from 1 January 2024?

Residents will be urged to collect their food waste at home in orange disposable bags, which they can conveniently place in a dedicated container. The bags will need to be securely tied and placed in mixed municipal waste containers. The orange bags and bins will be available for collection from December 2023 at distribution points.

Where do I get orange bags and bins (buckets)?

From December 2023, they will be available for collection at Vilnius City Municipality, Vilnius bulky waste collection sites and municipalities. From January 2024, bags and buckets will also be distributed in places frequently visited by the public, such as the car parks of major shopping centres in Vilnius. A map showing the exact locations of the distribution is available here.

In case you are not able to come to pick up the bags and bins (buckets), what should you do?

You can sort your food waste using self-purchased bags, as long as they are orange in colour. During the recycling process, food waste will be separated from the rest of the waste based on the colour of the bag. We also encourage everyone in the city to take care of their relatives, neighbours and friends who are not able to collect their own food waste bins and bags.

What waste should be put in the orange bags?

In the orange bags, dispose of foodstuffs that are no longer fit for consumption (be sure to unwrap them), peelings, skins, nibbles, cores, scraps, tea and coffee grounds, teabags, houseplants and their parts, paper towels and napkins, food supplements that are no longer fit for consumption (be sure to unwrap them), and any other organic, biodegradable waste.

What should you do once the orange bag is filled?

After collecting the food waste, the filled bag should be tied tightly with a double knot (to prevent spillage) and disposed of in a mixed waste container.

How will the waste be sorted after it has been disposed of in the container?

Food waste in orange bags will be identified by the colour of the bag and separated from other mixed waste during the sorting process. And the bags containing food waste will be separated and recycled separately.

Will the new recycling scheme cost extra?

From 1 January 2024, Vilnius residents‘ waste management bills will increase slightly. There will be no extra cost for residents for food waste collection and disposal.

Is it compatible with environmental goals to use bags for sorting?

The bags distributed to residents are made of at least 90% recycled materials. Plastic orange bags will be separated and recycled.

What benefits will the new sorting policy bring?

Separating food waste from mixed municipal waste will improve the quality and recyclability of other waste. Also, separately collected food waste can be turned into a product that is widely applicable and used for composting or natural gas production. Separation and sorting of food waste can reduce food loss.

Contact

If you have any questions about food waste sorting, please contact atliekuetiketas@vaatc.lt

If you have any questions about general waste sorting, please contact info@vaatc.lt or call (8 5) 213 0397

For more information on waste management, click here.