We pledge to recycle, Ma’am

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.