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Christmas recycling guide

Bins, recycling and waste

31 October 2023

No matter whether you’re hosting or visiting family or friends this year, make the most of waste and recycling services by following some of these top tips:

A range of aluminium items, including foil trays, mince pie cases and wrapping foil can be recycled.

Please wash and scrunch into items into a hand-sized ball before placing in your recycling bin. Aluminium cans and empty aerosols can also be recycled.

Metal items such as baking trays, knives and cooking pans are not accepted in the recycling bin but can be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre for recycling.

All textiles can be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre

All textiles can be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Please also consider whether old clothes, shoes or other textiles are suitable for donation to a charity bag/charity shop.

Please also consider whether old clothes or other textiles are suitable for donation to a charity.

Cardboard boxes should be flattened and placed in your recycling bin.

Please ensure any plastic or polystyrene packaging is removed and placed in your general waste bin, as this cannot be recycled.

Cards and paper can be recycled, provided you make a couple of checks first.

Please remove any embellishments such as ribbons, bows and glitter from Christmas cards, and remove any batteries from musical cards.

Wrapping paper can also be recycled so long as it is made of paper. Please make sure sticky tape is removed. Plastic, glittery or foil wrapping cannot be recycled and should be put in your general waste bin.

If you are unsure whether your wrapping paper is suitable for recycling, do the ‘scrunch test’. If the paper stays scrunched in a ball it can be recycled. If it doesn't it should be put in your general waste.

Real Christmas trees will be collected from households between 8 and 19 January.

Residents in the Daventry, Towcester and Brackley areas should put real Christmas trees out on the day garden waste is due to be collected in their area.

In the Northampton area trees should be put out next to recycling bins, while those on sack collections can present trees beside their recycling boxes on their collection day.

To help our collection crews, please ensure trees over 6ft tall are cut up into manageable pieces and remove all decorations.

Plastic trees cannot be recycled. If you have one you wish to dispose of please consider finding it a new home, or put it in your general waste or take it to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. They will also accept real Christmas trees in the green garden waste containers.

Decorations such as baubles and ribbons cannot be recycled and should go in the general waste bin. Please wrap any broken glass in paper before disposal.

The natural parts of door wreaths can be placed in your garden waste or compost bin.

This includes holly, fir cones and mistletoe for example - provided they are free of embellishments such as ribbons, glitter or fake snow.

Please remember to recycle any Christmas food waste in your food caddy.

All leftover raw and cooked foods can be put into the caddy, including vegetable peelings, out-of-date food, plate scrapings, solid fats, meat and fish bones. Please do not put in any liquids.

You can line your food waste caddy with paper, compostable bags or plastic caddy liners. Read our top tips for reducing your food waste this Christmas

Small electricals and batteries can be left out for collection in some parts of West Northants.

In the South Northants and Northampton areas of West Northants, small electrical items including Christmas lights and household batteries can be left in clear plastic bags or carrier bags and placed on top of your recycling bin, not inside the bin.

In the Daventry area of West Northants these are collected separately for recycling in clear plastic bags or carrier bags which you should place on top of your general waste bin.

Batteries can also be recycled at most supermarkets.

Consider taking any small electrical items still in working condition to a charity shop for reuse by someone else.

Here are 10 top tips to help reduce your waste this Christmas:

  1. Open your presents carefully and keep your wrapping paper to reuse next year. To help with this use string, not Sellotape
  2. Use reusable bags/boxes/baskets instead of wrapping paper and keep for next year
  3. Send e-cards rather than real cards
  4. Create your own door wreaths from natural materials only which can be recycled or put away to be reused next year
  5. Use real cutlery, plates, and cups for parties. Or wash disposable cups, plates, and cutlery to put away for reuse next year. Remember not all plastic cutlery can be recycled (including compostable cutlery and cups)
  6. Buy only the foods that you will eat and freeze unused foods/leftovers before their use by date or donate to a local food bank
  7. Find new tasty leftover recipe ideas
  8. Do not throw away your decorations at the end of the Christmas season. Keep them for next year and if you fancy a change why not organise a Christmas decoration swap with friends for next year?
  9. Consider buying presents which can be consumed so they don’t end up as waste. for example, Foods, drinks, bath products and so on
  10. Reduce how many presents you buy and consider giving your time as a present. Can you babysit for someone, clean their house, help in the garden or paint a kitchen?

Find out more information about waste and recycling collection arrangements this Christmas

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