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Edinburgh residents asked to go green this Christmas

Posted: 14th December 2020

A multi media campaign encouraging residents to recycle this Christmas is being launched by the City of Edinburgh Council on Monday (14 December). This follows last year’s tremendous effort when residents helped us recycle 5431 tonnes of waste – that’s about the same weight as 46,000 Santas – over the festive season!

A key message this Christmas is a reminder to residents to recycle as much of their Christmas waste as possible and due to the huge increase in online shopping from March, we’re encouraging people to fold up their cardboard neatly before putting it in the correct recycling bin to make sure they leave enough room for all the additional waste likely to be generated over the festive season.

If there is no room left, we’d encourage you to make an appointment at your nearest recycling centre and take any extra waste there. If that is not possible, fold it up neatly and place it next to your bin on your collection day. Stickers are also being put on communal bins as well with instructions on how to recycle your cardboard.

Around 50,000 letters have also gone to residents to advise them that there are no collections on Christmas Day (Friday 25 Dec) or New Year’s day (Friday 1 January). People who use our kerbside wheelie bin recycling service who are due a collection on these dates should instead put their bins out for collection on the following Mondays (28 Dec and 4 January). People in the city centre who use our red and blue box recycling service should put them out for collection on the Saturdays (26 Dec and 2 Jan).

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Environment Convener, said: Going green this Christmas is so important as we all need to change our behaviour to live more sustainably to look after our beautiful city and precious planet.

To give it some context – did you know that the amount of Christmas wrapping paper thrown away in the UK each year could stretch from Edinburgh to the North Pole 100 times – I know when I think about that, I’ll make sure I recycle mine.

Many more people are shopping online due to the current health pandemic and the amount of cardboard being used has already shot up. When clearing up this Christmas, please remember to fold cardboard up neatly and recycle it responsibly and I think it is also important to point out that when shopping remember that while foil and metallic wrapping paper and cards may add sparkle to your Christmas, they can’t be recycled.

Cllr Karen Doran, Vice-Convener of the Environment Committee, said: There are many ways you can help us to recycle the waste you generate when celebrating this Christmas. We turn all your food recycling into energy and fertiliser and recycling one kitchen caddy of food waste can create enough energy to power a TV for five hours. Other fun facts we’re sharing to encourage people to recycle are six clean mince pie foil cases saves enough energy to watch up to an hour of TV and one glass bottle saves enough energy to make 14 slices of toast.

When the fun is over and you’re taking down your tree, if you are recycling it, check which day we’re collecting trees in your street on our website, remove its base, decorations and cut it in half if it’s over 6ft before popping it neatly on the kerbside on its collection day.

Festive recycling tips

  • Save money and avoid food waste by turning your leftovers into delicious meals. Check out www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for tasty recipes. Any scraps that are leftover can be popped in your food waste bin.
  • If you have any extra cardboard you can’t fit in your recycling bin, make sure it’s bundled up and place it neatly beside it and we’ll recycle it for you.
  • You can use any bag to collect your food waste (biodegradable, paper or plastic bags including bread bags, cereal packets or old shopping bags).
  • Use your leftover wrapping paper to cover school books or to make festive bunting to decorate your house.
  • We can recycle your Christmas cards and the envelopes they come in – except glittery, foil or metallic ones!
  • Give your plastics and cans a rinse before they go in the bin. They don’t need to be sparkling clean but doing this helps make sure the recycling is high quality and can be properly recycled.
  • If you’re recycling your Christmas tree remember to remove its base, decorations and cut it in half if it’s over 6ft before popping it neatly on the kerbside on its collection day.

What goes where?

Green lidded recycling bins and red recycling boxes

  • Paper – including wrapping paper, envelopes and Christmas cards (no glittery, foil or metallic ones!)
  • Cardboard and drinks cartons
  • Plastic bottles (with lids), pots, tubs and trays – including empty plastic toiletry/household cleaning bottles
  • Tins/cans
  • Empty aerosols
  • Clean tin foil – including mince pie cases!

Blue boxes and purple lidded communal glass bins

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Blue boxes onlysmall electricals (eg hairdryers and toasters) and batteries in a clear plastic bag

 Grey lidded food recycling bins

  • All your cooked and uncooked food, including meat and bones.

Christmas trees

You can check which dates we’re collecting Christmas trees in your street on our website. You can also book an appointment online to take it to one of our recycling centres.

Recycling centres                                                                                         

Please not there are some changes to the opening hours at our recycling centres over the festive period and you must book an appointment at edinburgh.gov.uk/bookrecycling to visit one.

Garden waste collections

There will be no garden waste collections from 14 December to 10 January. If you don’t use the garden waste service but would like to sign up for it, there will be one more opportunity to register for this service year, which runs until November 2021. Registration opens from 2 February to 16 February and more information about what you need to do will be available on our website nearer the time.


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