Recycling collections

Recycling works – Somerset Waste Partnership’s annual report Beyond the kerb – recycling to resources tells you exactly what happens to every tonne of recycling you recycle – where it goes, what it becomes and how much it saves.

The standard recycling collection service for most households, (excluding communal properties) is weekly for both recycling and food waste, collected on the same vehicle.

When are my collection days?
You can find your collection days by visiting your district council’s website:

Select your district below:

Box 1 (usually green)
  • Paper – newspapers, magazines, leaflets, directories, white envelopes (no need to remove windows) and other white paper.
  • Glass bottles and jars – rinsed and unbroken (no table or cook ware).
Box 2 (usually black)
  • Food and drink cans – rinsed and squashed if possible – no need to remove labels – please place loose can lids inside squashed cans (including steel jar tops inside squashed steel cans); all other metal items should be taken to any recycling site.
  • Aerosols – only recycle empty – do not pierce or squash – if you can, remove the plastic cap and nozzle.
  • Plastic bottles (not pots, tubs, trays or film – click here for details of those) from inside the house – no tops, caps or spray nozzles – please rinse.
  • Cardboard – brown corrugated, grey card, greetings cards and brown envelopes – please flatten.  Small bits of card can be put into larger boxes before flattening – cut or tear up large pieces.  Please remember, very large pieces or more than the equivalent of two recycling boxes when flattened should be taken to a recycling centre and may not be collected at the kerbside.
  • Foil – aluminium foil only and not if plastic or paper backed (check with the scrunch test – scrunch up and if stays squashed together it can be recycled as foil).
On top or alongside boxes
  • Textiles – clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, curtains, but no stuffed items, such as duvets, pillows and quilts. To keep them completely dry, put out in bags (not black sacks, as these can easily be mistaken for rubbish, or charity collection bags, to avoid any confusion) and avoid putting out on wet days. Please label “textiles”.
  • Shoes – tied in pairs and bagged.

Need help remembering what goes in your recycling boxes? Download our at-a-glance recycling boxes reminder.

  • Glass that is not a bottle or jar
  • Broken glass
  • Plastic pots, tubs and trays (Click here for news about these)
  • Food or drink cartons or paper lined disposable cups – please take these to a recycling centre
  • Plastic foil
  • Old or unused wall paper
  • Shiny, thermal paper, as used for many till receipts
  • Plastic foil, for example crisp packets and pet food pouches
  • Syringes, knives and other sharp objects
  • Metal kitchenware, large catering-sized tins, large metal food tins for biscuits and sweets, or 5 litre large beer kegs
  • Old metal tools
  • Electrical items
  • Household batteries
  • Nappies and pet excrement
  • Large quantities of cardboard or excessively large kerbside boxes – please take to a recycling centre

Contact your local council customer services to report missed recycling collections.

Unless you have an assisted collection, containers should be at the edge of your property by 7am on collection day (as collection times can vary) and no earlier than the night before. Please take care not to obstruct pavements or roads, and take bins back in as soon as possible after collections.

Please separate and sort materials into your kerbside boxes. You can use one box if that is all you need or you can request additional or replacement boxes here.

Only use carrier bags for textiles, clothes and shoes. Never use black sacks for recycling as these may be mistaken for rubbish.

Collection crews pick up materials they drop or spill, but cannot pick up those blown down the street.

We do not supply lids for recycling boxes. To assist with storage between collection, stretch covers are available to buy.  See Stretch covers for boxes.

More materials can be taken for recycling at our recycling centres, including drinks cartons and cooking oil. And you can take things like portable batteries to collection points at many shops.

Destruction of confidential or sensitive materials, such as by shredding, is a vital precaution before adding them to a recycling box, as kerbside collections and the recycling process are not designed to be a secure disposal route.

While much of the concern about identity theft has moved to the risks of online cybercrime, in the past the police have warned Somerset residents about suspicious individuals spotted looking through recycling boxes at night.

As the police and government advise, householders should take steps to avoid fraud or identity theft. Credit cards and similar items must be fully cut up, while documents that could be misused should be destroyed, preferable by shredder.

These can include bank statements, credit card receipts, utility and tax bills, pay slips, old driving licences or passports, as well as CVs and items with signatures or National Insurance numbers.

Even seemingly innocuous material – such as received mail with your name and address – can be misused when combined with other forms of ID.

For example, warning that “identity fraudsters don’t need much information in order to be able to clone your identity,” the police National Fraud and Cybercrime Reporting Centre urges consumers to “destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on”.

SWP is happy to accept shredded paper for recycling, but advises avoiding mess by placing it in a paper wrapper that can also be recycled, such as an old envelope or paper bag.

If large amounts of papers need destruction, residents may wish to use the SWP business directory and other sources to find companies offering confidential waste services.

More on ID risk can be found at the National Fraud and Cybercrime Reporting Centre and the Stop ID Fraud site (NB: the latter is sponsored by a shredding company).