Top tips to reduce waste this Christmas

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 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.