Recycle More

Recycle More will be Somerset’s next big leap forward in driving up recycling in the county.

The change will see a range of new materials added to weekly recycling collections: household and food plastic pots, tubs and trays; food and drink cartons; household batteries; and small electrical items.

2020 – Transforming Somerset’s Waste Services

The upgraded service will start rolling out across the county  during 2020, at the same time as a brand new fleet of collection vehicles and the switch for rubbish from landfill to resource recovery, pumping energy into the national grid.

Between now and then, we will be specifying and buying the vehicles (with space to carry the thousands of tonnes of new materials), re-developing the depots so they can cope with all the additional recycling, and finding the right contractor to deliver the changes.

All householders will be informed well in advance of any changes happening in their neighbourhood.

With so much being taken out of the waste bin each week, the frequency of rubbish collection can then reduce to three weekly.

Garden waste and clinical waste collections will remain unchanged. Collections from flats will remain unchanged, except that some extra materials may be collected.

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

Every week: All paper, cardboard, food waste, food and drink cans, aerosols, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottle, aluminium foil, shoes, textiles (unstuffed), clothes and shoes, plus:

  • Household and food plastic pots, tubs and trays
  • Tetra Paks and other beverage cartons
  • Small electrical items
  • Household batteries


While many of us just want to recycle more, we also know from analysis of the things people put in their rubbish bins that, right now, half the rubbish thrown away could simply and easily have been recycled in today’s kerbside collections. We cannot afford to continue like this.

Disposing of rubbish is expensive and we, as residents of Somerset, have to think about what that means. Do we want to recycle more or do we want to cut public parks, street cleaning, services for children and disabled people? Do we want to recycle more and keep council tax down, or let costs rise?

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 dirty luxury none of us can afford.

We trialled the service in over a thousand homes for several months to make sure it could work. Yes, a few people were concerned when it started that they would not manage, but very soon that switched to surprise at how little was left in their bin after three weeks. By the end of it, 86% of the people who responded to our surveys told us they preferred the new service to their old fortnightly system with less recycling.

We are also far from being the first. Three-weekly rubbish collections for millions of people are already running successfully in many other areas up and down the country, including our neighbours in East Devon (with one – Falkirk – even moving to monthly collections) and more are planning to make the change.

Yes, as part of the rollout there is an optional new container.  It is likely to be a base-weighted fold-flat tough bag. You will be able to order replacement recycling containers if yours are old and need replacing.

Before then, if you have broken or missing recycling containers, you can order replacement containers free of charge.

We do not expect that, as more material will be collected every week. When we tested the service in 1,100 Somerset households it did not happen.

Remember, the most common items that are fly-tipped are bulky household items such as old sofas or commercial waste dumped by rogue tradespeople. There are no changes planned to current bulky waste collection services or to recycling centre services.

We will also continue to offer commercial waste recycling services at selected recycle sites, and to advise businesses about the facilities available.



We will continue to collect food waste weekly and will also start to take much more food packaging that might attract pests, so Recycle More should help matters, not make them worse.

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

We will be taking this very seriously because we want everyone to be able to use our services with the minimum of fuss, no matter what your circumstances are.

Well before your property joins the Recycle More collection scheme, we will send you a pack of information, which will include a guide to services and a collection calendar. This will also be available online, in other languages and can be supplied in other formats on request (for example audio versions).

We are also planning to introduce an app so that mobile phone users can get collection day reminders wherever they are. Along with improvements to our website, most people will have the information just a few clicks away.

Before we launch the service in your area, we will be available to answer your questions, and there will be more staff available in your area during the launch to answer any concerns you may have. And, of course, we are only ever a phone call or email away.