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  1. Recycling your plastic bottles could not be simpler

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    Once you have used up the contents of plastic bottles from around your home – from drink, cosmetic, cleaning and grooming, they should go into your recycling box, not the landfill bin.

    Simply empty the contents, give the bottles a rinse to remove the residue using left-over washing-up water.  This is particularly important if the bottles have contained cleaning products such as bleach. There is no need to peel off labels, but do remove all lids, pumps or trigger spray tops and handles or removable spouts.  Put these in your rubbish as they currently cannot be recycled.

    As plastic bottles are bulky (but lightweight), squash the bottles to save space and pop the bottles into your black (box 2) recycling box.

    Once collected for recycling, plastic bottles can be turned back into other plastic bottles, or they may be turned into fabrics and used to make fleece jackets or even football tops.  Some plastics are used to make furniture items or even children’s toys.

    According to WRAP – the Waste and Resources Action Programme – Recycling one tonne of plastic bottles saves ¾ tonne of carbon – this is the equivalent of travelling nearly 2,500 miles in an average car.  So do your bit to ensure that every plastic bottle from your home goes for recycling.

    We do not currently collect other types of plastic, such as plastic bags, meat trays, fruit punnets, yoghurt pot or margarine tubs for recycling at the kerbside.  We are seeking economically and environmentally sustainable methods of adding these to the kerbside service and we will let you know if the plastic products we take for recycling is expanded.  So if you are not a subscriber, do sign-up below to receive Sorted! our monthly e-newsletter.

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  2. Dark waste warning on Black Friday packaging problem

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    With pre-Christmas sales well underway since October, the next challenge for consumers trying to waste less while holding  onto their cash is the four-day marketing heave between Black Friday and Cyber Monday – 25 to 28 November.

    Whether a bargain bonanza or a right rip-off, the main result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is another wave of waste that can – if not carefully handled by residents – jam rubbish bins, clog up already full recycling trucks, and cause kerbside collections to be delayed or missed.

    One simple option is to join the annual 60-nation Buy Nothing Day on Friday 25 November, which wants everyone to “lock up your wallets and purses, cut up your credit cards and dump the love of your life – shopping!”

    Under the slogans “No purchase necessary, escape the shopocalypse, and shop less, live more”, it urges: “Challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off from shopping and tune into life.

    “Black Friday is creating a brand of shoppers who will trample and fight each other to get their hands on next year’s landfill. Can you resist the urge to splurge? Or will Black Friday bully you into buying things you probably don’t need?”

    Still keen to spend? Somerset Waste Partnership is urging residents to shop smarter so whatever they buy is great value and will last, and to plan how they deal with waste – especially all the extra cardboard – so they and their neighbours do not miss out on collections.

    Consumer revenge campaigner Martin Lewis – founder of the popular Money Saving Expert website (other such sites exist) – urges shoppers to stay tough in the face of such sales spree invitations with simple money mantras that warn against unnecessary excess.

    For the skint he suggests asking: “Do I need it, can I afford it?” Those not skint should consider: “Will I use it, is it worth it?” Both should also reflect: “Have I checked if it’s cheaper elsewhere?” In either case, if any of the answers is no, Lewis is firm: “Don’t buy it.”

    The problem is two-fold, explained a Somerset Waste Partnership spokesman: “First, all those purchases come in plenty of packaging, from swathes of plastic wrapping that ends up in the rubbish bin to mountains of cardboard that should be recycled.

    “Second, such impulse purchases can all too often be a mistake and either end up being recycled – far worse than the waste reduction ideal by saying a firm ‘no’ – or even heading to costly, wasteful and polluting landfill via a rubbish bin or black sack.

    “A rising tide of waste means that extra packaging fills rubbish bins and recycling boxes. Our trucks cannot take very big pieces or large loads of cardboard. If these are put out, they will be left.

    “Even if residents flatten boxes and cut up cardboard as we have long advised, they often put out too much. We state that no more than the equivalent of two recycling boxes of card should be put out.”

    Fast rising levels of shopping cardboard causes problems by swiftly filling all its allocated space on recycling trucks. Crews must then either stop collecting card or take an hour or two to return to their depot to drop off card and little else before resuming collections.

    The SWP spokesman added: “If customers have excess waste, they have a choice.
    If they have space, they can store it and put out the right amount for each collection until it is gone.

    “If they have time and transport, they should take the excess and any other rubbish or dry recycling they can handle – everything except food waste – to a recycling site.”

    For all information on winter waste, including kerbside collections, recycling sites, severe weather and missed collections, visit: www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.

    Information on kerbside recycling:
    http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/collections/recycling/

    Recycling sites and the materials they take:
    http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/sites/

    Severe weather and waste:
    http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/collections/bad-weather/principles/

    How to report missed collections and get replacement containers:
    http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/collections/kerbside-collections/containers/

    More of the problems of packaging: http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/more/packaging/

    Details of Buy Nothing Day:
    http://www.buynothingday.co.uk/

  3. Do not dump those plastic bottles in your landfill bin

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    Are you sure you are recycling all the plastic bottles from around your home?  Are you quite sure?  The Somerset kerbside recycling service accepts more bottles than just those that contained milk or fizzy drinks.  So what do we take?

    We accept a whole host of plastic bottles.  From the kitchen and bathroom we take every day cleaning product bottles – loo cleaners including bleach bottles, fabric conditioners and washing up bottles.  From your bedroom, finished cosmetic and cleansing bottles, as well as grooming products such as liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner.

    Whatever the colour size or shape –it does not matter what type of plastic the bottle is made from (ignore the number against a triangle, that is for trade use only) – if it is bottle-shaped then it should be placed in the black kerbside recycling container.

    According to Recycle Now,  of the 480 plastic bottles used by the average household each year, only 270 are recycled.  This means a whopping 44% are still being put in the rubbish bin.  Is that what you do?

    So next time you are sorting out your rubbish, make sure there are no plastic bottles heading for landfill and pop them out for recycling instead.

    We do not currently collect other types of plastic, such as plastic bags, meat trays, fruit punnets, yoghurt pot or margarine tubs for recycling at the kerbside.  We are seeking economically and environmentally sustainable methods of adding these to the kerbside service and we will let you know if the plastic products we take for recycling is expanded.  So if you are not a subscriber, do sign-up below to receive our monthly e-newsletter.

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