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  1. Missed recycle or rubbish pick-up? What you can do

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    First, our apologies if your collection is missed – with 20 million waste collections and deliveries a year, some do get delayed. But completing your collection is our priority, and here are the actions you must take to help us get that done.

    If your whole street or a large group of neighbours have been missed, we will know. Please leave your waste out for two working days so our crews can return. Crews work early and late to catch up with missed collections.

    Do not add to the rubbish levels by leaving additional black sacks or side waste (black sacks beside or on top of your rubbish bin). All bin lids must be closed with contents inside.

    If only your own recycling or rubbish has been missed, including garden waste, clinical waste, or an assisted collection, please email your local customer services team to report it and leave it out for two working days so it can be collected. The list of contact details is below.

    Customer services will need to know the following:

    • Your name and full address (including house name or number and postcode).
    • Day-time telephone number, either mobile or landline.
    • Type of service missed: food waste, recycling, refuse, clinical waste, garden waste or paid-for bulky waste.
    • Always identify containers by function AND colour – garden waste, rubbish, recycling, food waste, clinical waste; green, black, brown, yellow – as various combinations of containers and colours are used.

    If materials or tags are left by the crew, if possible include a photograph with your email.

    In the subject line of your email, put your postcode, surname and a brief description; i.e. “TA1 1AT, Smith, missed recycling”.

    Use the email address for your council:
    • Mendip – customerservices@mendip.gov.uk
    • Sedgemoor – customer.services@sedgemoor.gov.uk
    • South Somerset – ssdc@southsomerset.gov.uk
    • Taunton Deane – enquiries@tauntondeane.gov.uk
    • West Somerset – customerservices@westsomerset.gov.uk

    Do not use social media to report missed collections. We do not deal with any service issues on social media so posts or tweets simply slow down you reporting it correctly and getting your collection completed.

    Similarly, investigating the individual cause of your missed collection or taking time to call or email you to explain could delay the catch-up collection itself.

    Missed collections are usually caused by a combination of these factors: vehicle problems, such as breakdowns; staff issues, such as illness or injury; round conditions, such as parked car blockages, road works, or traffic jams; winter weather, such as floods, snow or ice; excess materials – especially cardboard – that can force trucks to break off collecting to unload early; or broken containers or containers so overloaded they could break, damage lifting machinery, or risk crew injury.

    If you have space, you may prefer to store all materials until your next collection. If you have time and transport, you may prefer to drop everything off at a recycling site.

    For kerbside collections, use only SWP-issued recycling boxes as these hook on to the vehicle when being emptied. We may not collect from incorrect boxes.

    If you need new or replacement recycling boxes, order them from your district council online:
    http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/collections/order/

    If you need new or replacement rubbish or garden waste wheeled bins, email your local customer services and in the subject line of your email, put your postcode, surname and a brief description; i.e. “TA1 1AT, Smith, new rubbish bin needed”.

    Customer services will need to know the following:
    • Your name and full address (including house name or number and postcode).
    • Day-time telephone number, either mobile or landline.
    • What existing bin (if any) you have, including the size in litres (see the inner front lip when you open the lid) and why it needs replacing.
    • Always identify containers by function AND colour – garden waste or rubbish; green, black, brown – as various combinations of containers and colours are used.

    Use the email address for your council:
    • Mendip – customerservices@mendip.gov.uk
    • Sedgemoor – customer.services@sedgemoor.gov.uk
    • South Somerset – ssdc@southsomerset.gov.uk
    • Taunton Deane – enquiries@tauntondeane.gov.uk
    • West Somerset – customerservices@westsomerset.gov.uk

    For more information about all recycling and rubbish services, including what we do and do not collect for recycling, see the SWP website pages for recycling and rubbish collections.
    For all other queries, start by searching at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk

  2. Hot summers and food waste – try these simple steps

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    Hot summers and food are not always a great combination, from food being wasted if not kept cool inside your home through to preventing problems with the weekly food waste recycling.

    And, of course, you should never put any food waste – not a scrap – in your rubbish bin or bags.

    A kitchen caddy and a lockable food waste container are provided to most homes for the collection of food waste.

    Do not put the kitchen caddy outside instead of the bigger food waste bin; caddies are not as tough or as easily seen by busy collection crews.  For a free replacement kitchen caddy or lockable kerbside food waste container, order them via your district council.

    Flies cannot lay eggs on your food waste unless you give them access to it. Lids open on food containers, dirty containers or adding food to your rubbish bin, are all invitations to houseflies, whose lifecycle – from egg to maggot to pupa to fly – speeds up in hot weather to only 7-10 days.

    Caddies can be kept clean by lining your it with newspaper or the compostable liners that can be bought in many local shops. Tie liners off when putting into your external bin or ensure food waste is fully wrapped in newspaper, as shown in our You Tube video.

    If you regularly empty the kitchen caddy, and put the liner or newspaper ball into your kerbside container without leaving any lids open, you will stop flies laying eggs. Some residents put food waste in compostable liners into their freezers between collections, as this prevents smells, pests and vermin until the food is collected.

    Try to keep kerbside food bins out of direct sunlight. Maggots in your external food bin? Try tucking sheets of paper over the food waste as a barrier (while ensuring the food waste will still easily tip out). After the next collection, clean out your food caddy and bin. You can use washing-up liquid, while white vinegar is an effective, environmentally-friendly disinfectant.

    If your food waste bin or caddy is broken, free replacements can be ordered online.

    One way to reduce food waste is to home compost certain non-cooked wastes, such as vegetable and citrus peelings, salad items, tea bags, coffee grounds, apple cores and banana skins.  For guidance on home composting, and how to purchase low price composting bins, see the home composting pages.

    Another way to cut food waste is to use peelings from well-washed vegetables, broccoli stalks, cauliflowers leaves and wilting mushrooms to make your own vegetable stock.  And maximise the value of a chicken carcass or what is left from family roasts.  For ideas, see the Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

    PS: Summer or winter, ensure no food waste – not a scrap – goes into your rubbish, any smell waste is double bagged, and keep the bin lid closed at all times.

  3. Blaze beware: how to stop making rubbish a fire risk

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    Adding the wrong items to rubbish bins and black sacks could put lives at risk by starting a fire, Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has warned.

    As well as the danger of a fire in a rubbish bin threatening homes or business premises, lack of care could start a blaze in rubbish lorry or see a landfill conflagration putting staff at risk.

    The warning comes after 70 firefighters tackled a blaze that broke out at a landfill site in Wareham, Dorset, and almost a year since a fire took days to put out at Dimmer in Somerset.

    Among the danger items that SWP says should never be added to the rubbish bin are:

    • Hot ash or part-burned materials from domestic or garden fires or barbecues.
    • Used portable barbeques whose charcoal may not be completely cold.
    • Household or vehicle batteries as these may short out or cause sparks.
    • Broken glass not carefully wrapped or bagged as it could act as a magnifying lens.
    • Aerosols as they may get hot or be pierced during the collection and landfill process.

    The advice is simple in each case:

    • Let ash and portable barbecues completely cool, or fully damp down with water.
    • Recycle vehicle batteries through any one of Somerset’s 16 recycling sites.
    • Take household batteries to recycling sites or high street stores that collect them.
    • Carefully wrap and bag broken glass, which should also never go in recycling boxes.
    • Use up aerosols completely, do not squash, and then add them to recycling boxes.

    A SWP spokesperson said: “These are common sense precautions to avoid fires. And recyclable items – including batteries and aerosols – should never be in household rubbish.”

    No one was hurt in either landfill blaze, and in neither case has the cause yet been identified.

    See here for more on what to recycle at the kerbside and at recycling sites.

  4. Pay here for asbestos and plasterboard before you go

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    Arrangements for Somerset recycling centres that take asbestos, plasterboard and related materials: –

    Pay now for asbestos and plasterboardclick here.

    If you want to take asbestos and plasterboard to a recycling centre you must pay before you go.  The new payment system makes it quick and easy to make your payment.

    After payment is received online, you will be issued a receipt and – for asbestos – must then contact one of the seven sites that accept it to arrange a visit when there is adequate skip space.

    If you have queries about payments or need to discuss arrangements, please contact Somerset Waste Partnership during normal office hours.  Staff at Recycling Centres are unable to handle payments for these materials.

    Please note and follow the guidelines for disposing of these materials, given when you make your payment.

    Both materials require special handing – asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACM) as a significant health hazard, plasterboard and plaster due to serious pollution risks – and are complex and costly to treat. Somerset’s asbestos is landfilled and plasterboard recycled.

    Unlike asbestos, plasterboard and plaster are safe to handle but cannot be landfilled as it reacts with buried organic material to create toxic and climate changing gases.

    You do not need to book a recycling site visit to deposit plasterboard or plaster but should pay in advance, then go to one of the 11 sites that take plasterboard and show the receipt to site staff before unloading. Plasterboard and plaster waste should be free from contamination prior to taking it to the recycling centre.  Remove all wood, masonry, tiles and fixings and dispose of these separately.  (Charges may apply).

    We encourage those with excess plasterboard or plaster to save money and materials by recycling them through their supplier, or to sell or give them away.

    Collections of asbestos and ACM from residents – which must, as always, be sealed in plastic in advance – are available for the treatment cost plus a fixed collection fee. To pay and arrange that, click here.

    Check here for a guide to ACM items manufactured before asbestos ceased to be used, from storage heaters and insulation materials to floor tiles, fire blankets and flues. (Payment required from 4 April 2016).

    Click here for the contact details and locations of the seven recycling sites take asbestos and ACM: Bridgwater, Frome, Highbridge, Minehead, Street, Taunton, Yeovil.

    These 11 recycling sites take plasterboard and plaster: Bridgwater, Chard, Crewkerne, Dulverton, Frome, Highbridge, Street, Taunton, Wells (Dulcote), Williton, Yeovil.

    Businesses can pay to deposit plasterboard or plaster at some recycling sites – click here for details – but business deposits of asbestos cannot be accepted.