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Recycle, reuse, buy responsibly and have a green Christmas!


Linking in with our campaign asking residents to have a less wasteful Christmas and help reduce their impact on the environment we’re also launching a campaign on Monday
(December 13) encouraging residents to recycle and reuse as much of their waste as they can.

This follows last year’s tremendous effort when residents helped us recycle 6,722 tonnes of waste – that’s about the same weight as 57,000 Santas – over the festive season!

We’re also asking people to fold up their cardboard neatly before putting it in the correct recycling bin to make sure they leave enough room for all the extra recycling likely to be generated over the festive season.

If there is no room left, we’d encourage you to make an appointment at your nearest recycling centre and take any extra waste there. If that is not possible, fold it up neatly and place it next to your bin on your collection day. If you have a large amount of any waste generated please don’t place it next to your bins but book an appointment at your local household waste recycling centre.

We’re also letting residents know there are no changes to our waste and recycling collections as Christmas and New Year are on a Saturday this year so they should put their recycling and waste bins out on their usual collection days.

 Recycle, reuse, buy responsibly and have a green Christmas!

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Environment Convener, said:

“It’s really important that we all do our bit to help the environment and the festive season is a perfect opportunity to get creative and reduce waste by making delicious dishes out of leftovers, making gifts for our loved ones and reusing cards and wrapping paper as festive decorations for future years.

Many more people are still shopping online due to the current health pandemic which means a lot of cardboard is being used. When clearing up this Christmas, please remember to fold cardboard up neatly and recycle it responsibly and I think it is also important to point out that when shopping remember that while foil and metallic wrapping paper and cards may add sparkle to your Christmas, they can’t be recycled.”

Councillor Karen Doran, Environment Vice-Convener, said:

“As well us reusing, buying responsibility and locally where you can, when waste is generated, please help us push up our recycling rates by making sure you clean your plastics before they are recycled to stop contamination and put everything in the correct bin.

Any food you haven’t turned into lovely leftovers, if you put it in your food waste bin, we turn into energy and fertiliser. Recycling one kitchen caddy of food waste can create enough energy to power a TV for five hours. Other fun facts we’re sharing to encourage people to recycle are six clean mince pie foil cases saves enough energy to watch up to an hour of TV and one glass bottle saves enough energy to make 14 slices of toast.

When the fun is over and you’re taking down your tree, if you are recycling it, check which day we’re collecting trees in your street on our website, remove its base, decorations and cut it in half if it’s over 6ft before popping it neatly on the kerbside on its collection day.”

 Recycle, reuse, buy responsibly and have a green Christmas!
Glass recycling

Further information

More information on how to have a green Christmas.

Festive recycling tips

  • Save money and avoid food waste by turning your leftovers into delicious meals. Check out www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for tasty recipes. Any scraps that are leftover can be popped in your food waste bin.
  • If you have any extra cardboard you can’t fit in your recycling bin, make sure it’s bundled up and place it neatly beside it and we’ll recycle it for you.
  • You can use any bag to collect your food waste (biodegradable, paper or plastic bags including bread bags, cereal packets or old shopping bags).
  • Use your leftover wrapping paper to cover school books or to make festive bunting to decorate your house.
  • We can recycle your Christmas cards and the envelopes they come in – except glittery, foil or metallic ones!
  • Give your plastics and cans a rinse before they go in the bin. They don’t need to be sparkling clean but doing this helps make sure the recycling is high quality and can be properly recycled.
  • If you’re recycling your Christmas tree remember to remove its base, decorations and cut it in half if it’s over 6ft before popping it neatly on the kerbside on its collection day.

What goes where?

Green lidded recycling bins and red recycling boxes

  • Paper – including wrapping paper, envelopes and Christmas cards (no glittery, foil or metallic ones!)
  • Cardboard and drinks cartons
  • Plastic bottles (with lids), pots, tubs and trays – including empty plastic toiletry/household cleaning bottles
  • Tins/cans
  • Empty aerosols
  • Clean tin foil – including mince pie cases!

Blue boxes and purple lidded communal glass bins

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Blue boxes only – small electricals (eg hairdryers and toasters) and batteries in a clear plastic bag

Grey lidded food recycling bins

  • All your cooked and uncooked food including meat and bones

Christmas trees

You can check which dates we’re collecting Christmas trees in your street on our website. You can also book an appointment online to take it to one of our recycling centres.

Recycling centres                                                                                         

Please not there are some changes to the opening hours at our recycling centres over the festive period and you must book an appointment at edinburgh.gov.uk/bookrecycling to visit one.

Garden waste collections

There will be no garden waste collections from 14 December to 10 January. If you don’t use the garden waste service but would like to sign up for it, there will be one more opportunity to register for this service year, which runs until November 2021. Registration opens from 2 February to 16 February and more information about what you you need to do will be availble on our website nearer the time. 

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