Rubbish & recycling  |  15 Dec 2020

Don’t let the growing mound of packaging, wrapping paper, broken decorations and empty bottles get on top of you this Christmas. Use these helpful tips to make the right decisions about what to do with your festive waste.

Disposing of Christmas gift unwrapping

  • You can put cardboard or paper left behind after Christmas presents have been unwrapped into the yellow wheelie bin as long as it is bigger in size than an envelope and doesn’t have a plastic coating.
  • If you’re uncertain try the tear test. If your Christmas wrapping paper tears it is paper and can be recycled.  If it doesn't tear, put it in the red bin.
  • Foil wrapping can't be recycled and must go in the red bin.
  • Plastic wrap, plastic strapping, courier bags, bubble wrap, plastic shopping bags, confectionery bar wrappers are all soft plastics and must go in the red bin.
  • Old Christmas cards can go in the yellow wheelie bin.
  • Any polystyrene used to package items should be put in the red bin.
  • If you have more recycling than you can fit in your bin, you can drop it off one of the EcoDrop recycling centres for free.

Dealing with Christmas breakages 

  • Broken cups and glasses cannot go into the yellow wheelie bin so if a glass gets broken during your Christmas festivities, wrap it in paper and place it in your red bin.

Getting rid of unwanted Christmas gifts

  • If you have unwanted Christmas gifts, think about taking them to a charity shop or one of thee EcoDrop recycling centres. Find out more about what items are accepted at EcoDrop centres.
  • Unwanted clothing or toys can’t be recycled in the yellow bin and could damage the sorting machinery at the EcoSort facility.
  • Good clothing can be recycled through one of the clothing bins dotted around the city. Otherwise, clothing belongs in the red bin.

Disposing of the Christmas tree

  • If you’ve got a real Christmas tree that’s reached its use-by date, you can chop it into small pieces and put it in your green wheelie bin or take it to the EcoDrop green waste drop-off (standard charges will apply). 
  • If you want to get rid of a fake tree and it’s in good condition, take it to one of the EcoDrop recycling centres so someone else can use it. If your fake tree has lost its Christmas sparkle you can dispose of it in the red bin.
  • Unwanted tinsel or Christmas ornaments should go in the red bin if you can't find a new home for them.

Excess food

  • Food scraps (including chicken and turkey bones) and any left-overs you no longer can use can be disposed of in the green organics wheelie bin.

Don't overfill

  • Don't overfill your wheelie bins. Remember bin lids must be flat for collection. 

Bin collection

Over the Christmas & New Year period, if your wheelie bins are normally emptied on a Friday, they will be emptied on the Saturday instead as there is no collection on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 

People whose bins are normally emptied on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday should put their bins out as usual over the Christmas/New Year period.

All kerbside collections will take place on the normal days from the week beginning Monday 4 January.

Holiday tidy-up

If the prospect of having house guests has you in a tidying frenzy and cleaning out cupboards, remember that:

  • If you want to get rid of metal tools, kitchen pots and pans, or household appliances you can drop them off for free at one of our three EcoDrop Recycling Centres where they can be reused at the Ecoshop or salvaged as scrap metal. Otherwise put them in your red bin.
  • Drink cans, metal tins and household aerosol cans are the only metal items that can go in your yellow bin. Remember to give them a quick rinse and make sure they are loose.
  • Only hard plastic bottles and containers numbered 1,2 and 5 can go in the yellow bin. They need to be clean and the size of an individual yoghurt pot, or bigger, but no larger than three litres to get through the automated sorting plant. All lids and tops need to go in the red bin.