Householders can recycle kitchen waste from the kerbside from this week for what is believed to be the first time since the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001.
Cambridgeshire County Council restarted collection of unused food after being granted the first UK catering waste licence.
Kitchen waste collections were stamped out three years ago after tough laws were introduced to prevent cattle contracting disease from the resulting compost.
But with Donarbon composting centre gaining the right to treat animal by-products to UK standards, the practice restarted this week.
Waterbeach firm Donarbon has invested £1 million in meeting the criteria but the authority believes the changes will allow it to recycle at least an extra 3,000 tonnes annually.
County council waste policy manager Mark Shelton said: The recycling rate in Cambridgeshire last year has already increased to 29% and we are very pleased about this development and how it will help local authorities further.
I believe that adding kitchen waste could increase our green waste collection by between 10% and 25% and could even help us exceed our targets.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs policy advisor on composting Jon Rouse added: I am very pleased to see Donarbon awarded this licence so it can collect food waste rather than letting it end up in landfill.
Donarbon hopes to compost more than 40,000 tonnes this year, a massive increase from 7,000 tonnes in 2001/2.
Managing director Mark Davenport said: We are very proud of what Donarbon has achieved. We will be the first composting facility working to UK regulations.
This means we will be able to accept a greater range of organic material from local authorities to enable them to meet their targets.
Cambridgeshire residents are able to put kitchen waste out for fortnightly collection along with green waste in their green bins. And Shelton said this would help increase the countys use of controversial alternate-week collections.
One of the main complaints about alternate-week collections is that cooked meat gets smelly being left in the general waste bin for two weeks, he said. This way food waste can be put out on the recycling week as well.
Cambridgeshire had the third highest recycling rate in the UK in 2002/3 with 24.3% and the county hopes kitchen waste will push it to the top for 2004/5.