Don't forget, waste collections will be a day later than usual all this week after the spring bank holiday.
Recycling and rubbish collection days are also changing for some households in Mendip and South Somerset. Read about the changes and how they may affect you.

Introduction

Not all plastics are the same. Some are more difficult to recycle than others and we only collect plastics we are confident can be reprocessed in the UK.

That is why we only take plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays in kerbside collections and at recycling sites.

We do not take plastic bags and wrapping with kerbside collections or at recycling sites.

However, we are keen to meet Somerset’s appetite to recycle more and are taking part in a national trial of kerbside collections of plastic bags and wrapping. For more information visit Flex Collect trials.

Please note, the symbols on plastics are not a guide to whether they can be recycled in Somerset and can cause confusion.

In Somerset, residents can recycle plastics in four ways:

  • Kerbside collections
  • Recycling sites
  • Supermarkets
  • TerraCycle schemes

Kerbside collection of plastics

Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays go in the bright blue bag to be collected weekly.

Document preview
Recycle more: What do we collect?

Full list of materials that we collect and recycle

PDF, 4.21MB

Yes please to:

  • Plastic bottles – including milk, bleach, juice and shampoo bottles.
  • Plastic pots – including yoghurt, soup, face cream and hair gel pots.
  • Plastic tubs – including margarine, ice cream, laundry tablets, chocolates and biscuit tubs
  • Plastic trays – including meat, ready meals, plastic punnets for fruit and mushrooms, plastic egg boxes and internal trays from boxes, tubs or tins of chocolates.

Tips for plastic

  • We take any colour, clear or opaque.
  • Rinse and nest if possible.
  • Bottles – squash and put the top back on if possible.
  • Bottles – remove and discard triggers sprays and pumps.
  • Pots, tubs trays – remove film covers, foil lids, soaker pads and cardboard sleeves.

No thanks to:

  • Mixed materials, such as pet food pouches or crisp packets (see supermarket and TerraCycle options below)
  • Plastic bags and wrapping, such as cling film, carrier bags, black sacks, bubble wrap or food wrappings (see supermarket and TerraCycle options below)
  • Carrier bags and frozen food bags
  • Bags for bread, pasta, rice and salad and cereal liners
  • Wrapping for biscuits, confectionery, crisps and snacks
  • Bubble wrap and cling film, ready meal film coverings
  • Wrapping from cheese fish, meat and flowers
  • Multi-pack wrapping and toilet roll wrapping

TerraCycle and plastics

TerraCycle is the main commercially-sponsored collection scheme and involves local drop-off points or volunteer collectors.

The scheme covers many different materials including many plastics. For more information visit TerraCycle

Examples of plastic and plastic-foil materials taken in free schemes include:

  • Packaging for crisps and other savoury snacks
  • Wrappers for confectionary, biscuits, cakes and cheese
  • Pouches for pet food, baby food, beauty products and laundry items
  • Bags for bread and other baked products
  • Disposable and cleaning gloves
  • Containers for beauty and hygiene products
  • Dental care products and packaging
  • Contact lens packaging and products
  • Pens, markers and correction fluid pots
  • Shaving products
  • Ring carriers
  • Water filters
  • Toys, games and foil balloons

Medical blister packs

Some Superdrug store pharmacies take medical blister packs for recycling (and some beauty products). Check the individual store and pharmacy for what they accept. Medical blister packs are not taken in kerbside collections or at recycle sites.

How to recycle coffee pods

These are complex mixed materials and not taken in kerbside recycling or at recycling sites.

Several brands are involved in the ‘Podback’ programme in which bags of used pods can be dropped off at collection points across the county. Visit the Podback website for more information.

If you cannot recycle them through Podback or any other commercial scheme, they must go into your refuse bin or they will contaminate other recycling.

Plastics at recycling sites

All Somerset recycling sites take plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays.

Yes please to:

  • Plastic bottles – including milk, bleach, juice and shampoo bottles.
  • Plastic pots – including yoghurt, soup, face cream and hair gel pots.
  • Plastic tubs – including margarine, ice cream, laundry tablets, chocolates and biscuit tubs
  • Plastic trays – including meat, ready meals, plastic punnets for fruit and mushrooms, plastic egg boxes and internal trays in boxes, tubs or tins of chocolates.

Tips for plastic

  • We take any colour, clear or opaque.
  • Rinse and nest if possible.
  • Bottles – squash and put the top back on if possible.
  • Bottles – remove and discard triggers sprays and pumps.
  • Pots, tubs trays – remove film covers, foil lids, soaker pads and cardboard sleeves.

No thanks to:

  • Mixed materials, such as pet food pouches and crisp packets (see supermarket and TerraCycle options, below).
  • Plastic bags and wrapping, such as cling film, carrier bags, black sacks, bubble wrap and food wrappings (see supermarket and TerraCycle options, below).
  • Other plastics, such as toys, CD or DVD cases, car parts, coat hangers, toothbrushes, blister packs and pens (see supermarket and TerraCycle options, below).
  • Expanded polystyrene and plastic packaging inserts.
  • “Compostable” food containers, cups, packaging and magazine wrappings.

Plastics at supermarkets

Many supermarkets now take plastic bags and wrapping for recycling. Commonly accepted materials include the list below, but please check where you shop.

A helpful search engine for what can be recycled and where can be found at  Recycle Now. Type ‘Plastic bags and wrapping’ into the search box and add your postcode.

Ideas for cutting your plastics waste

  • Take reusable containers and bags when shopping.
  • Buy loose fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid disposable drinking straws and plastic-lined paper cups.
  • Use a glass bottle home delivery service for milk.
  • Reuse glass jars for food storage.
  • Buy loose-leaf tea rather than plastic-sealed teabags.
  • Invest in electrical razors and toothbrushes and avoid disposable versions.
  • Look for items packaged in materials you can recycle at the kerbside.
  • Encourage hirers of village and community halls to run waste-free events by providing reusable catering equipment.
  • Encourage local shops, pubs and cafes to avoid using disposable cutlery and to supply condiments in bottles and jars not sachets.

Refill Somerset

Carrying a refillable bottle or mug is a great way to reduce the plastic waste generated by plastic bottled water or hot drinks bought while on the move.

Licensed premises, including bars, theatres and restaurants, are legally required to provide free drinking water on request in England, Scotland and Wales, although they can charge for use of a glass.

We support the Refill Campaign which works to connect people to locations where they can eat, drink and shop with less waste. You can download the Refill app which shows you all the locations signed up to the scheme, including the nearest locations you can fill up your empty water bottle.

Last reviewed: February 1, 2024 by Neil

Next review due: August 1, 2024

Back to top