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  1. Waste catch-up on Saturday after festival traffic jams

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    UPDATE for late Friday 24 June: Waste catch-up efforts continue on Saturday

    Dedicated waste crews working hard on Thursday and Friday have made a big impact on the collection delays caused by the Glastonbury Festival traffic jams.

    But knock-on problems still remain in Mendip. Some parts of Shepton Mallet, Pilton and villages near the A37 going south to the A303, such as Baltonsborough and Lydford-on-Fosse, have had missed collections of rubbish and recycling on Friday and will see catch-up collections from 7am on Saturday.

    Residents  awaiting a return pick-up should ensure their recycling and rubbish is well presented – tops off, containers rinsed, everything except glass and aerosols squashed, all card flattened, materials sorted and segregated within boxes – and, in case of delays, left out until late. Details of what can be recycled and how to present it are here.

    If you have space, you may prefer to store missed materials until your next collection. If you have time and transport, you may prefer to take recycling and rubbish to a recycling site. All materials except food can be recycled at almost all recycling sites. Details of what is taken where can be found here.

    All 16 recycling sites are open on Saturdays 8am-4pm. On Sundays, all 16 recycling sites open at 8am, with the Big5 – Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton and Yeovil – open to 4pm and the other 11 open to 1pm. On Mondays, all 16 recycling sites are open from 8am, with the Big5 – Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton and Yeovil – open to 4pm but the remaining 11 sites open latenite to 7pm.

    Few if any problems are expected on Monday when the Glastonbury exodus begins, as the main working areas for crews from the Evercreech depot, which was badly affected by the earlier traffic jams, are in Frome and Crewkerne, well away from the festival site and so allowing collection vehicles plenty of route options to avoid hold-ups.

    For elsewhere in Somerset, the usual advice on service issues, such as missed collections or replacement containers, applies: bypass social media to get things sorted – contact your council’s customer services.

     

    General advice for those living near the festival site: Please continue to present your recycling and waste collections as usual during the Glastonbury Festival.

    Once traffic issues are cleared, our collection crews will have access to the villages near the festival site so collections are planned as usual, including refuse, recycling, garden waste, clinical and assisted collections.

    Please be aware that collection times may vary due to additional traffic causing delays or parked vehicles causing obstructions.  Please ensure ALL waste, and recycling is at the kerbside by 7am.

     

  2. Catch-up collections after Glastonbury jam delays

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    UPDATE Thursday 23 June. Apologies: Glastonbury traffic jams have caused widespread disruption to collections well beyond the immediate festival area. Crews are working from 6am Thursday to collect waste missed on Wednesday as well as to make today’s usual collections. In case of delays, please leave uncollected containers out until late. If your collection due today is missed, please put containers out again by 7am tomorrow. If you have space, you may prefer to store missed materials until your next collection. If you have time and transport, you may prefer to take recycling and rubbish to a recycling site. All materials except food can be recycled at almost all recycling sites – check details here of what is collected where. These are the recycling sites open Thursday 8am-4pm: the Big5 of seven-day Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton and Yeovil, plus five-day Chard, Highbridge, Somerton and Wells.

    Please continue to present your recycling and waste collections as usual during the Glastonbury Festival.

    Once initial traffic issues are cleared, our collection crews will be given access to the villages near the festival site so collections are planned as usual, including refuse, recycling, garden waste, clinical and assisted collections.

    Please be aware that collection times may vary due to additional traffic causing delays or parked vehicles causing obstructions.  Please ensure ALL waste, and recycling is at the kerbside by 7am.

  3. Eat well and stay safe

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    While the national Food Safety Week (4 – 10 July) may only last a few days, there are many simple things we can all do all year round to keep our food safe to eat. The tips below help us all to live well, save money and reduce waste.

    According to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, a fifth of what we buy is thrown away, costing the average family nearly £700 a year.  Most of this food and drink is or once was, perfectly good to eat and drink.  So what simple steps can you take to keep your food fresh and safe?

    •    Do you understand different food labels? What is the difference between “Best before” and “Use by”?
    •    Keep your fridge between 0°C and 5°C.  This is the optimum temperature range to keep many foods fresh, meaning they will last for longer.  Keep a thermometer in the fridge so you know the temperature and can adjust if needed.
    •    Help cool air circulate in your fridge by not over-loading it and by closing the door as soon as possible.
    •    Keep raw foods such as uncooked meat and fish away from fruit and vegetables, to avoid bacterial contamination.  Keep meats covered so they do not touch or drip on other foodstuffs.
    •    Do not store half used cans in the fridge. Empty the contents into a suitable air tight container as once opened to the air, metals from the tin can contaminate food.
    •    If you have made too much food and decide to keep it for left-overs, remember to cool the food as quickly as possible.  Putting hot food in the fridge raises the temperature and the condensation formed around the food is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
    •    Once food is portioned, cover and store in your fridge for two days, or freeze as soon as possible after it has cooled down.
    •    Always heat left-overs thoroughly and do not reheat left-overs more than once.
    •    Remember to label foodstuffs before you freeze them, ideally putting the date frozen on the packaging.  Foodstuffs can last a long time in a freezer, but ideally thoroughly defrost, cook and eat within three months.  You can defrost foods more slowly by putting them in the fridge, or if you are going to eat them straight away, you can use a microwave.
    •    Many foods once defrosted should not be refrozen, so ensure you read the manufacturer’s instructions.
    •    Keep foods safe by keeping them covered, resealing packs with Clingfilm or foil or by putting them in air tight containers.  Plastic take-away containers can be washed and reused for food storage, which is ideal as many are suitable for use in the microwave to reheat food.
    •    Do not use foods which are mouldy, smell “off” or have gone past their Use By date.  These waste foods can be recycled by using the kerbside food collection service.   Click here for information on this service including advice on how to keep your caddy clean.

    For many hints and tips on how to keep your food safe, for recipe ideas and portion advice visit Love Food Hate Waste.

  4. We pledge to recycle, Ma’am

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    Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is reminding Somerset residents to have a waste-free celebration party for the Queen’s 90th birthday, over the weekend of 11-12 June.

    Many residents will be joining thousands of others across the land in celebrating the Queen’s official 90th birthday this June.  In London, there is a formal street party being held on The Mall, St James, London on 12 June.  If you are not taking part, then why not have your own local informal gathering in celebration of Her Majesty?

    A street or community party with friends and neighbours need not be expensive or wasteful. A few home-made touches will help make the party go with a swing.

    Make your own temporary paper bunting from magazines or newspaper or for something a little more durable, use old scraps or fabric or cut up unwanted clothing which is not fit for donation.   (You can recycle the rags using your kerbside collection).

    Have a competition for young (or young at heart) children to make their own paper crown or hat.  There is no need to buy expensive plastic one-off wear hats as the internet is a great place to find simple instructions if you are lacking in imagination. Use old buttons and bottle tops as “jewels” or simply colour them in to make them easy to recycle. Get children involved in making their own patriotic flags, banners and posters to decorate the venue and add to the festive fun.

    When getting together with neighbours try to use reusable crockery and cutlery for the meal.  A team to help wash-up at the end will get the job quickly done, rather than having plastic plates and glasses, which cannot be recycled and will spend years in landfill if simply thrown away.  Alternatively, you may be able to hire reusable glasses from supermarkets or wine merchants if you are buying drinks in bulk.

    Many items from a street party can be recycled; keep all the cans or plastic bottles from fizzy drinks, and do not forget to save foil cases from quiches or cakes.  Simply give food and drink containers a quick rinse before putting them out for collection to deter insects if the weather stays warm.  Drink cartons are also accepted at most recycling sites in Somerset, except Castle Cary, Cheddar, Dulverton* and Somerton due to space issues. (*£2 entry fee at Dulverton Community Recycling Site).

    If you live near either Taunton or Wellington, you can take your plastic pots, tubs and trays from food packaging to the recycling centres, where we are collecting these materials in a recycling trial.

    When preparing food, it might be a good idea to keep a central list, so that you avoid duplication and waste.  Have food that is easy to make, transport and share. Do not forget to recycle any food waste using the kerbside food waste collection service if it has not been eaten or quickly refrigerated on the day and saved safely for leftovers.  Visit Love Food Hate Waste for recipe ideas and food safety tips.

    Do not forget, uneaten fruit and raw vegetable peelings, along with coffee grounds, cardboard and scrunched up newspaper can be easily composted at home.  For advice on how to compost or to purchase competitively-priced compost bins see our home composting section.

    A street gathering such as this may be an opportunity to develop community resources to help you and your neighbours cut down on waste all year round.  The Street Party website has some great advice on how to set up a neighbourhood Swapshop, which enables residents to share and swap items such as DIY tools and sporting equipment, rather than everyone having equipment they never use languishing in cupboards and sheds.

    If you are inspired to hold a street party and want some advice about the logistics, check out The Big Lunch or The Street Party websites.

    We hope you have a fantastic time waste-free time celebrating in a right royal reuse and recycle style.

  5. All kerbside waste collections back to usual days

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    All kerbside waste collections are back on their usual schedules from this week, including recycling and rubbish pick-ups, as well as garden, clinical and assisted collections.

    Recycling, rubbish and garden waste bins and boxes should be out by 7am on the day of collection.

    As ever, those with clinical waste collections should put their containers out the night before because of the crews early start time.

    The advice on what to put out for collection and how is clear:

     

    • Rubbish bins should have their lids closed with no “side waste” on top or beside the bin, or households without a bin can put out up to four black sacks.
    • For recycling, take tops off and rinse containers, squash all except glass and aerosols, sort and roughly segregate items in boxes without leaving in plastic bags.
    • Flatten all card, and put out for kerbside collection no more than the equivalent of two recycling boxes full.
    • Check what we take and do not accept, only put out what is on the list. When in doubt, check or leave it out.

     

    Fast rising levels of cardboard mean that the card chamber on recycling trucks can quickly get full.

    This gives crews the choice of leaving card behind to continue collecting other items, or driving back to the depot to drop off the card and risk late or missed collections on their recycling route.

    To avoid missed card or missed collections, you could consider:

     

    • If your packaged purchase is not fragile, taking it away unpacked, leaving the card at the supermarket, garden centre or other store.
    • If a big item in cardboard is delivered, getting the crew who brought the item to take away all the packaging.
    • If you have storage, put out some card each week until it is all gone.
    • If you have time and transport, take all card and other recycling except food waste to a recycling site.

     

    The next bank holiday will be on Monday 29 August, with all collections in that week  one day later, including Friday pick-ups on Saturday 3 September.

    PS: Recycling sites are getting busier with the better summer weather, and bigger vehicles can be a cause of greater congestion, from delays and problems parking to the time they take unloading large amounts of materials.

    So the advice is to dodge the queues by going at a usually quieter time, especially if you use a horsebox, double-axle trailer or large van.

    These less busy times are: Monday 8am-10am (16 sites), Monday 4pm-7pm (11 sites), Tuesday-Wednesday 8am-10am (12 sites) or Thursday-Friday 8am-10am (nine sites).

    The check which sites are open when, visit the recycling sites pages.