Recycle More – helping you to waste less

Recycle More is successfully up and running in Mendip and coming to other parts of the county soon.

South Somerset is due to see the expanded recycling service launch at the end of June this year, with the Taunton Deane area due to follow in the autumn and Sedgemoor and West Somerset early in 2022.

Most people in Somerset are recycling to some extent, 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.

What is changing?

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 adds 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 will get a new recycling container – a 60 litre Bright Blue Bag – for their lighter recycling materials. It is tough, base-weighted, Velcro-closed and folds-flat.

Three-weekly rubbish collections

With so much more recycled each week, rubbish will be collected every three weeks and collection days will change for some people.

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

Garden waste and clinical waste collections remain unchanged.

Watch this short film to see how the new service works.

 

If you live in property with a shared/communal collection we will also be expanding your recycling collections, depending on the space available. More detail here: Latest information here.

Information and support for all

Everyone will be sent full information before anything changes for them, starting with a “Get ready for Recycle More” leaflet which is due to arrive in South Somerset in mid-May.

This will be followed by a “Recycle More is coming soon” leaflet which is due to arrive in South Somerset in early June.

You can follow @somersetwaste on Facebook for regular updates and take part in some dedicated Recycle More out of hours Q&A sessions.

We are also taking part in Recycle More discussions at South Somerset Talking Café live events run by the Community Council for Somerset (CCS). (Talking Café Live events run by the Community Council for Somerset

You can contact us using My Waste Services at somersetwaste.gov.uk or call your district council. If you are in South Somerset the number is 01935 462462.

How to get ready, now

Recycle More is an important change, and you can be ready for it right now, wherever you live.

Make sure 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.

Get into good habits – Recycle all food, every scrap, and all the other materials – the details here in our complete guide.

Practice – set aside the new Recycle More materials for a week and see how much space it takes up (you can then take them to a recycling site or put in your rubbish).

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 to reusable nappies and hot composting.

Recycle More so far

The new service has gone really well since it was launched in October as Mendip residents gave it their backing.

Its first three months saw recycling increase by 18%, with crews collecting an extra 1,275 tonnes. That included a 24% increase in plastics. More than 20 tonnes of small electricals and two tonnes of batteries were also collected for the first time.

At the same time, the weight of rubbish in Mendip bins fell by nearly 20%.

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 will be taken every week that might have attracted pests, 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. The new service will cost around £2m less each year.

 

Q: When are things changing?

A: It depends where you live. Recycle More starts in four phases based largely on district council areas. We’ll review it as we go, so dates may move, but this is our current schedule:

  • Phase 1 Mendip – launched in October 2020
  • Phase 2 South Somerset – end of June/early July 2021
  • Phase 3 Somerset West & Taunton (Taunton Deane area) – autumn 2021
  • Phase 4 Sedgemoor and Somerset West & Taunton (West Somerset area) – early 2022

 

Q: Why not at once? Why must I wait?

A: It is an important change and phases make it more manageable than doing 260,000 households in one go. Each of our five depots needs to be upgraded to handle the extra recycling, something difficult to do all at once without disrupting services. And it takes time to give people the information and support they need.

Q: What are the new kerbside materials?

A: You’ll be able to 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. You may be able to find ways of disposing of these and other hard-to-recycle materials through TerraCycle.

A number of supermarkets are now providing collections for some of these plastics, so it is worth checking with your local store.

 

Q: Should I remove bottle tops?

A: No, rinse and squash plastic bottles, 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 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 will I put all this extra recycling?

A: Most goes in a new recycling container – a Bright Blue Bag, delivered shortly before the new service starts. It has a 60-litre capacity, is bottom weighted so it should not blow away and has a Velcro fastening. It is for plastics and metals:

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

(If at any time you do not have the Bright Blue Bag, put its materials into your black box.)

 

Q: How do I get my Bright Blue Bag?

A: We will deliver them to all households over the two weeks before you need it for the launch of the service. In South Somerset, that means the two weeks before 28 June.

 

Q: Won’t 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. When used in existing Somerset Recycle More collections, they work well, as do similar bags elsewhere.

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.

 

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 “Beyond the Kerb” 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: Three-weekly collections have 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. Recycle More’s extra recycling leaves less to throw away and emptier rubbish bins, so everyone needs to make full use of weekly recycling. Make sure you have all the recycling containers you need and give the new service a go. In trials and elsewhere, people with initial concerns usually found that the service worked 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 emailing recyclemore@somersetwaste.gov.uk. Or you can do it 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: Three weekly collections have 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 a third of South Somerset 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 a rubbish collection; if this affects you, it will be shown in your collection day calendar.

 

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 at the same time as individual households. 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.

Everyone will be written to twice before anything changes.

 

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.