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Christmas recycling advice for Allerdale residents

Residents across Allerdale encouraged to recycle considerately at Christmas and know what can and can’t go in their kerbside collections.

Check your bin day over the Christmas period

Recycling is extremely important in protecting the environment and helping to tackle climate change. 

How can I cut down on the waste I produce?

  • Reduce! The less we buy in the way of excess packaging, unwanted food and other items the less that will have to go in the bin and better it will be for the environment.  
  • Re-use! If you have something that can be re-used why throw it away? Things like gift bags are often re-useable, can you use some old newspaper instead of buying new wrapping paper or what about being creative and use an old scarf or other textile to wrap presents up this year instead?  

Top tips on how do I go green at Christmas?

Making sure the right items go in the right bins or boxes is also very important, as incorrect items or those ‘contaminated’ could jeopardise a wagon-load of recycling and mean it is not accepted by our end users. This would have knock-on effects for the environment and the taxpayer.

Get the recycling right

  • Does the wrapping paper pass the scrunch test? If you squash it into a ball and it holds the shape then it is more than likely recyclable and can go in the blue-lidded bin or green sack. If you scrunch and it unfolds then it could be lined with a plastic coating and needs to go in with the general waste. Stick to buying wrapping paper without the lining
  • Remove sticky tape, glitter and things like bows and ribbons from cards and paper before putting into your paper/card recycling.
  • Do the ‘rip test’ on packaging – if you can’t rip it, it’s probably laminated and contains plastic so can’t go in the paper/card bin
  • Remove the plastic ‘windows’ that showed your address from the packaging and dispose of them in your black bin.
  • Chop up your Christmas cards and you’ve got gift tags galore for next year! If they are decorated with glitter or items such as ribbons then these must be removed before putting in the paper/card recycling bin or box.
  • Use the space in your recycling bins more effectively by flattening cardboard boxes, and carefully washing and squashing plastic bottles – and cans if you are able too.

See our A-Z guide on what can and cannot be recycled - and also our guide to what happens to your recycling after we've emptied your bins.

Need a trip to the tip?

  • Excess glass, plastics, paper and card can be taken to our ‘ bring sites’, the small recycling centres in our towns. Please don’t leave anything by the side of the bins and flatten cardboard to allow as much as possible. The bring sites should not be used for business waste. The council provides a competitive trade waste service to businesses.  
  • Cumbria County Council operates a number of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs), including in Wigton, Workington and Maryport (and other parts of Cumbria) but there will be some changes to their operation over the Christmas period. Check the county council website for more.
  • If you leave waste that can’t be recycled outside the skips of the bring sites, or outside the gates of the household waste sites, it’s classed as fly-tipping and could land you with a hefty fine. 

Plan your plates!

  • We all love a proper Christmas feast, but what do you do with the leftovers? Portion up meals in recycled takeaway containers and put them in the freezer for easy dinners in the new year.
  • Dig out your old recipe books or search online for new ideas for soups, stews, curries and pasta sauces then get cooking on the cold winter days.
  • Pass some food to family, friends and neighbours – if you’ve over ordered on the turkey, maybe you know someone who can make the most of it?
  • Share the menus, and the cost – maybe you could cook the turkey, someone else could do the veg, and you could split the desserts and cheese between you?
  • Totally overstocked on food that has a long use-by date? Don’t forget your local foodbank or charities asking for raffle prizes.

Create memories rather than waste!

  • Stuck for a present for the person who has everything? How about a homemade ‘voucher’ offering to cut their grass, clean their car, or do something else that they hate?
  • Think about experiences rather than traditional gifts – is there a café, restaurant or tourist attraction you’ve been meaning to try for ages? Or a walk with a picnic you both really want to do? Or perhaps you fancy getting on a bus or a train to somewhere you’ve never been before for a bit of an adventure.

Shop local!

  • It’s so easy to shop on the internet, but shopping locally is a pleasure in itself – proper customer service with a smile, and no massive piles of excess wrapping from certain online retailers…
  • If you want to shop online, how about sending an email to your local stores and asking them to save items for you so you can pop in and pick them up whenever it’s convenient? Some independent shops may even offer postage or deliver for you.
  • Discover a new shopping experience – when was the last time you sought out new and different shops in Workington, Wigton, Silloth, Maryport, Keswick, Cockermouth, or Aspatria? You’ll see your list to Santa through a fresh pair of eyes.
  • Find a Christmas market – the festive market in Workington could be the source of a great unique gift from an independent business.

Christmas trees 

  • Some local charities may carry out tree collections for a small donation and will dispose of the tree correctly, so consider making use of their service where available. Otherwise to ensure your tree is usefully recycled then we would advise you to cut it and store it in your garden bin until collections restart in spring or take it to a HWRC (tip). If you are unable to do this then leave any tree placed next to a household waste bin to be collected. 
  • The Royal Horticultural Society has lots of top tips for garden uses for your old (real) tree.
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