Top tips, including how to recycle your Christmas tree

Top tips, including how to recycle your Christmas tree

Still got recycling and rubbish left from the festive season? All collections and recycle sites are back on their usual timings. To check your collections, click here. To check recycle sites click here. For weather and flood advice, please check here. For recycling, here are our top tips (plus important weather advice, below):

Tree: take decoration-free natural Christmas trees to any recycling site for composting. Garden waste collection subscribers can put one out on their usual day once collections resume from Monday 8 January. Check to see if local charities, garden centres or tree surgeons are offering chip trees in your area. For the third year running, residents in South Somerset can get their natural Christmas trees chipped at various sites. A full list of South Somerset’s chipping sites and dates is available here. As a very last resort, to send your tree for costly and wasteful landfill burial to decay for decades while producing climate changing methane, leave it out with the rubbish on your usual collection day 8-19 January 2018. Of course, Christmas trees can be chipped to compost at home, placed in a corner to create a wildlife area for a wide range of creatures, or the branches can be use to protect growing beds from frost and act as a mulch. PS: All-plastic artificial Christmas trees with no wiring can be put on rubbish or taken to a recycle site; please take those with metal frames and/or integral wiring to a recycle site and ask staff for guidance.

Cardboard (and cards): brown, corrugated and grey card, Christmas cards, and brown envelopes can go in a kerbside box. Please flatten boxes, and cut or tear up large pieces. Small bits of card and Christmas cards can be put into larger boxes before flattening. Very large pieces or more than the equivalent of two recycling boxes when flattened may not be collected at the kerbside and should be taken to a recycling site. Alternatively, scrunch up Christmas cards and add them to your home composting bin. Or save cards and create gift tags for Christmas 2018.

Wrapping paper: paper wrap can be put in with cardboard in your kerbside recycling (remove plastic bows and fabric ribbons first); plastic or metallic wrap must be discarded into your rubbish. If you wrapped gifts in brown paper packaging tied up with string – one of our favourite things – these can both be reused.

Foil: rinse off any food and scrunch together aluminium foil, including mince pie cases, takeaway or ready-cooked meal containers, and foil previously used in cooking. Add this with cans and aerosols to your kerbside recycling. Or take foil with all recycling and rubbish to a recycling site.

Glass: discard tops*, rinse and recycle glass bottles and jars with paper in a recycling box. Or take all recycling and rubbish to a recycling site. Broken glass, table ware or cookware cannot be recycled and should be discarded into your rubbish. (*If possible and safe, trap steel jar lids within squashed steel cans.)

Cans: rinse and squash cans, then add to your kerbside recycling. Or take cans with all recycling and rubbish to a recycling site.

Plastic bottles: discard tops, caps and trigger sprays, then rinse and squash plastic bottles. We take all plastic bottles – from milk to shampoo, bleach to juice and washing up liquid – and the bottles with hand-squeeze sprays. We do not yet collect any other plastic containers or packaging, such as pots, tubs and trays, which should continue to be put in your rubbish, but plan to do so with the new service Recycle More, which will roll out from 2020.

Food: whatever cannot be composted at home – all fruit and veg peelings, tea leaves, coffee grounds, plain paper napkins – must go in your food waste bin and never, not one scrap, in your rubbish. The food bin can take all food, cooked, raw, fresh or mouldy, including meat and fish, bones and skin, fruit and veg, cereal and bread, and all scrapings from plates and cookware, including solid fats. All that food is process at Somerset’s anaerobic digestion plant into gas to generate electricity for the grid and farm compost. Liquid cooking fat should be taken to any recycling site.

Batteries: used-up batteries from toys and games can be recycled at supermarkets or any recycling site.

For these and all other materials taken at the kerbside, do see our full guide here.


Weather and waste

See our main weather story with all details here. In summary, until your waste is collected, it remains your responsibility, so in bad weather, check forecasts and our website, fill containers carefully, weigh down loose materials, stack boxes with the locked food waste bin on top, and – if possible – leave in a visible but sheltered spot so recycling and refuse does not create a mess. If your collection is missed, contact your district council customer services.

All efforts will be made to maintain services in severe weather, if safe. If a collection is missed, crews will make a return pick-up as soon as possible. Residents should put out missed containers by 7am for up to four calendar days for recycling, and up to seven calendar days for rubbish. If still no collection, take containers back in and put them out by 7am on the next usual collection day.

During severe weather do help anyone elderly, infirm or disabled with containers or in taking excess materials to recycling sites. Where possible, clear snow and ice from pavements yourself – this is the government advice – which helps pedestrians, kerbside collectors and your post person.