Recycle More – helping you to waste less

UPDATE: Recycle More is up and running throughout Somerset – adding new materials to weekly collections and collecting hundreds of tonnes of extra recycling each week. 

Most people in Somerset recycle, yet more than half the contents of the average Somerset bin could have been recycled. We want to make it easier for everyone to recycle even more. It helps protect our environment, tackle climate change and saves money. Play your part, do what is right and join Recycle More’s success.

A customer survey among users found 84% of respondents preferred the new service to their old one.

If you think you may need extra guidance or support for Recycle More, you can request it here. 

What has changed?

More recycling collected every week

As well as all existing materials – including food waste, paper, card, tins, cans, aerosols, foil, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles – Recycle More added the following to weekly kerbside recycling collections:

  • Plastic pots, tubs and trays
  • Food and drink cartons (such as Tetra Paks)
  • Small household batteries and electrical items

A new recycling container

Everyone should now have a new recycling container – a 60-litre Bright Blue Bag – for their lighter recycling materials.

It is tough to last, base-weighted to stay put, Velcro-closed to make sure the contents stay put, folds flat for easy storage when empty, and easy to clean.

Three-weekly rubbish collections

With so much more recycled each week, rubbish is now collected every three weeks.

Extra advice and support is available for families using nappies and similar hygiene products.

Garden waste and clinical waste collections are unchanged.

NOTE: If your home has a shared/communal collection, we will be expand your recycling collections, depending on the space available, later in the year at a date to be confirmed. More details here.

If you have an individual household recycling collection, watch this short film to see how the new service works.


Information and support for all

During the final roll-out, everyone in Sedgemoor and West Somerset should have received a “Get ready for Recycle More” leaflet (this information is available in Polish, Romania and Portuguese; if you need information in another language or format, please get in touch).

This was followed by the “Recycle More is coming soon” leaflet, which included your own collection day calendar for the coming year.

You can follow @somersetwaste on Facebook for regular updates, and contact Somerset Waste Partnership using My Waste Services at or via your district council.


Recycle right with Recycle More

Recycle More is an important change, so make sure you are recycling right.

Do you have all the right containers – green box, black box, brown food bin, and rubbish bin? Missing any? Never use other containers; order the right ones online using the My Waste Service menu here.

Start and maintain good habits – recycle all food, every scrap, and all the other materials – the details here in our complete guide.

Think reuse – are there ways you could reduce the amount of rubbish left in your bin or black sacks, from high street recycling of plastic bags and much more thin-stretchy-crinkly-soft plastics – see this guide to what and where – to reusable nappies and hot composting.


Recycle More – making a big difference

The new service has gone really well since it was launched in October 2020 across Mendip. Since then it has been rolled out across the county.

Hundreds of extra tonnes of recycling are being collected every week, with big increases most recyclables as well as the new materials.

At the same time, the weight of rubbish collected has been falling substantially too.

Somerset is far from being the first to make this change. Extra recycling and three-weekly rubbish collections are already running for millions of people up and down the country, including our neighbours in East Devon. More are planning to make the change.


No extra fly-tipping or other issues

More waste taken each week as recycling and less rubbish left to collect means there is no reason – or excuse – for fly-tipping.

The most common items fly-tipped are bulky household items, such as old sofas, and commercial waste dumped by rogue tradespeople.

No changes are planned to current bulky waste collection services or recycling site services. We will also continue to offer commercial waste recycling services at 10 recycling sites, and offer information on business waste collections.

As well as continuing to take food waste every week, much more food packaging that might have attracted pests is taken every week, so Recycle More will help.

As always, we advise you to bag items like nappies, adult hygiene products and pet wastes before putting them in your refuse bin.


We can all Recycle More

Most people in Somerset recycle and want to do more.

Disposing of rubbish is expensive, recycling is far cheaper and money saved can be spent on the many other council services offered by SWP partners.

We also need to think about the resources we throw away. Every time people throw a food can or a plastic bottle in their rubbish bin, it can never come back, and those natural resources will not last forever.

Recycling more is a simple, easy option for all of us and just takes a few minutes each week. Endless rubbish is an expensive and a dirty luxury none of us can afford.

Q: Why Recycle More?

A: Most people in Somerset recycle. The new service makes it easier for everyone to recycle even more, reducing waste, protecting the environment and helping tackle climate change. Somerset has a really good recycling record, but we can do better. Half the average Somerset rubbish bin could have been recycled. More recycling is cheaper, too. In both Mendip and South Somerset the service is already collecting more 100 extra tonnes of recycling every week.

Q: What are the new kerbside materials?

A: You can recycle the following every week, along with everything that can already be recycled.

  • Plastic pots, tubs and trays
  • Food and drinks cartons (including Tetra Pak)
  • Small household batteries
  • Small electrical items, such as kettles or toasters

For more detail, visit the Recycle More materials list.


Q: Does Recycle More mean I can recycle ALL plastics from my kerbside?

A: No. There are still some plastics we cannot collect because they are very difficult to recycle. These include crisp packets, cling film, the cellophane that covers many plastic tubs and trays. Remove and discard these before putting the recyclables in your Bright Blue Bag. Increasingly, supermarkets are now providing collections for some of these plastics, so it is worth checking with your local store.

You may also be able to find ways of disposing of these and other hard-to-recycle materials through TerraCycle.


Q: Should I remove bottle tops?

A: No, rinse and squash plastic bottles and cartons/Tetra Paks, then put the top back on. Rinse glass bottles and jars, and replace the tops.


Q: What is classed as a small electrical item?

A: Any electrical item – if it has or had a plug or batteries – that fits into a carrier-sized bag. For example: kettles, irons, toasters, mobile phones and laptops. These should be kept dry in the bag and left out beside your recycling containers.

Q: Where can I put all this extra recycling?

A: Most goes in a new recycling container – a Bright Blue Bag. It has a 60-litre capacity, is bottom weighted so it should not blow away and has a Velcro fastening. It is for cerain specific plastic and metal items (not all plastics or all metals):

  • Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays
  • Food and drink tins and cans
  • Foil and aerosols


Q: I have not got a Bright Blue Bag, or I need more than one. How do I get my first or an extra Bright Blue Bag?

A: Order all the recycle containers you need, free, via My Waste Services at Or contact your district council.


Q: Do the bag and contents blow away in high winds?

A: They are based-weighted so should not blow away. The lid is Velcro-fastened, which keeps the contents inside. Except in the most extreme winds, which will move any waste container, the Bright Blue Bags have worked well, as do similar bags elsewhere in the country.

Q: Will the same things go into my green and black boxes?

A: No. With the new service you need to sort your recycling as follows:

  • Blue Bag – plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, food and drink tins and cans, foil and aerosols
  • Green box – glass bottles and jars, and cartons (such as Tetra Pak)
  • Black box – paper and cardboard
  • Brown food waste bin – cooked and uncooked food waste
  • Carrier bag – small household batteries and small electrical items

(If at any time you do not have the Bright Blue Bag, put its materials into your black box. NEVER put materials from your green box, black box or food waste bin into your Bright Blue Bag.)


Q: How can I get more recycling containers?

A: Order extra or replacement recycling containers via the My Waste Services menu. Choose the “Waste boxes, bins and bags” option.


Q: Why not just sort the recycling at the depot?

A: Even the best depot sorting technology cannot compete with the combination of householder sorting, supported by collection crews as they load on to the truck.

Well-sorted, clean materials are in demand from the companies that turn them into new products and packaging. Kerbside recycling works best, keeps costs down and is better for your environment.

It also makes it easier for us to get your recycling reprocessed in the UK –  as 98% is at the moment.


Q: What happens to the recycling and rubbish after collection? Is it sent to other countries?

A: At the moment more than 98% of Somerset’s recycling stays in the UK, with more than 50% staying in Somerset. You can find out more through our Recycling Tracker analysis. If there is UK recycling demand and capacity, 100% will stay in the UK in future. Recyclable materials are reprocessed into new products and packaging, while all food waste is sent to a local anaerobic digestion plant to generate electricity for the national grid and farm compost for food production. Any kerbside rubbish and most material that cannot be recycled at recycling sites goes to an energy-from-waste plant in Avonmouth to generate electricity and heat.

Q: What about people who worry they won’t cope with three-weekly collections?

A: We understand that some people might have concerns. However, three-weekly collections are working well in Mendip, South Somerset and Taunton Deane, and millions of people across the UK already have three-weekly rubbish collections, including our near-neighbours in east Devon. Recycle More’s extra recycling leaves less to throw away and emptier rubbish bins, so everyone needs to make full use of weekly recycling. In a customer survey more than 80% of the respondents said they preferred the new service to the old service – including the new three-weekly collection. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said they though the rubbish bin was the right size with the three-week collections because so much space is saved by the extra recycling (10% said they thought the bin was too big).

Make sure you have all the recycling containers you need and give the new service a go. Often people with initial concerns usually find that the service works well. If you are struggling, get back in touch and we can arrange a call or visit from a Waste Management Officer.


Q: How do I request extra space for my rubbish?

A: Extra space will only be provided if it is essential. If you think three-weekly rubbish collections will be a problem because you have a large family, children in nappies or a medical need, make sure you get in touch. We will assess your circumstances and can arrange a call or visit from a Waste Management Officer to talk things through and help. You can request additional rubbish capacity by calling your district council Customer Service team or going through the My Waste Services menu on this website.


Q: What help is there for people who have children in nappies?

A: Anyone who has concerns about whether they can manage with three weekly rubbish collections, whatever the reason, can request extra rubbish bin capacity. We will assess your circumstances, including whether a household has children in nappies, and can arrange a call or visit from a Waste Management Officer to talk things through and help. We will only provide extra space if it is essential and we would encourage everyone to make sure they are making full use of the weekly recycling collections before making a request. We also encourage people to consider reusable nappy products and are providing funds to three projects in Somerset that help people make the switch; more details on reusable nappies here.


Q: Even with the extra recycling, I think three weeks is too long. What should I do?

A: Our experience in Mendip, South Somerset and Taunton Deane, and what we see elsewhere in the country shows that the three weekly rubbish collections work well. More than 80% of respondents to customer survey in Mendip said they preferred the new service and many people have been surprised by how much space is saved in their bin by the extra recycling week collect weekly.

Three weekly collections have also been working well in Mendip since October 2020 and millions of people across the UK already have three-weekly rubbish collections, including our near neighbours in east Devon. Even people with initial concerns usually find that it is not a problem once they have tried the new service. It is important to make sure you have all the right containers and make full use of the weekly recycling collections to free up space in your rubbish bin or black sacks. Anyone with concerns about managing with three-weekly rubbish collections can request extra rubbish bin capacity, but we will only provide it if it is essential.

Q: Will my collection day change? If so, how will I know?

A: Collection days will change for around two-thirds of households as round routes are made more efficient. Around three weeks before the service starts, you will be sent a leaflet with your individual collection day calendar. That calendar will show all collection days, including your first Recycle More recycling collection with the Bright Blue Bag and extra materials. Some households will also get an extra, one-off rubbish collection so no-one goes more than three weeks without one; if this affects you, it will be made clear in your leaflet.


Q: Is this going to affect garden waste, clinical waste or assisted collections?

A: Garden waste and clinical waste collections and their collection days will stay the same. Assisted collections (when crews help people with their recycling and rubbish) will continue but on the new collection days.

Q: What is changing for people with communal recycling collections?

A: Properties like flats, houses of multiple occupancy and retirement villages will have improved collections as part of Recycle More. This will happen a little later in the year at a date to be confirmed. Everyone will be written to twice before anything changes. What is possible will depend on the space and access at each site. Where possible, we will offer people the full Recycle More kerbside collections. Where that is not possible, we will expand the communal collections to include cardboard and plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays.


Q: I have a communal rubbish collection, but some of my recycling is collected weekly; will that change?

A: Weekly recycling collections will continue. You will receive a letter before Recycle More starts, explaining any changes to your collection days.