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Top tips to reduce waste Christmas 2023

With Christmas only a few weeks away, Wiltshire Council is sharing top tips on what people can do with their waste including electrical items, wrapping paper and packaging over the festive season.

Published 8 December 2023
Let's sort it Xmas

With Christmas only a few weeks away, Wiltshire Council is sharing top tips on what people can do with their waste including electrical items, wrapping paper and packaging over the festive season.

Disposing of unwanted electrical items safely

Ever-evolving technology means that the number of unwanted electrical items increases around Christmas as many people receive new electrical items as gifts. These electrical items cannot be disposed of in general waste or recycling bins, and this is linked to hundreds of fires at waste facilities across the country every year. People can help to prevent fires and keep staff safe by following this guidance:

  • Electrical items that contain a rechargeable battery and would fit inside a 'shoe box' can be recycled using the small rechargeable electricals collection service. People can simply leave these items beside their blue-lidded bin or recycling sack in a supermarket carrier bag.
  • If people have replaced batteries in Christmas lights, or are disposing of electrical items powered by batteries, they can remove the batteries and place them in a clear sealed bag next to their blue lidded-bin or recycling sack on collection day.
  • All other electrical items including mains-powered items should be recycled at household recycling centres.

Packaging and wrapping paper

The season of giving often results in piles of wrapping paper, gift bags and packaging. Residents can follow these tips to recycle as much as possible:

  • Only paper wrapping paper can be recycled. To check if wrapping paper is made of paper, people can use the scrunch test. Scrunch the paper and if it stays in a ball, it can be recycled in your blue-lidded bin.
  • Gift bags made from paper or card can be recycled. Gift bags made from other materials can't be recycled. Gift bags that can't be recycled can be kept for next year and reused.
  • Recently there has been an increase in plastic bags and polystyrene (typically used for packaging) being incorrectly disposed of in blue-lidded bins which can damage waste processing machinery. Extra items that cannot fit inside the blue-lidded can be placed beside the bin in a suitable container, such as a plastic storage box. Paper and cardboard should be placed inside the bin to prevent it from getting wet.

People can check all the items they can (and can't) recycle at Rubbish and recycling.

Cllr Nick Holder, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "I'm really pleased we've introduced the small rechargeable collection service this year. It will be especially useful over Christmas when many of us will likely have unwanted electrical items we want to dispose of. Alongside our battery collection service, it's now quick and easy for residents to dispose of batteries and small electrical items directly from the kerbside, making it less likely that these items will find their way to waste facilities where they could cause fires.

"There's no doubt a lot of packaging will also be generated during the festive period, and we would urge people to ensure cardboard and paper is placed inside blue-lidded bins so that it's not damaged by wet weather.

"I encourage people to take advantage of our convenient kerbside collection services and follow these tips so we can recycle as much as possible in Wiltshire this Christmas."

People who have signed up to garden waste collections are reminded that they can leave their real Christmas tree next to their green bin on their first scheduled collection in January and the council will collect it for composting. Alternatively, people can make a small donation to charities who collect Christmas trees. More information can be found at Just Helping (opens new window).

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