City of Newcastle is offering free disposal of household recyclables to locals over the holiday period to help them do the right thing by the environment.
Newcastle residents can drop off excess recyclables to the Summerhill Waste Management Centre at no charge from Monday 24 December to Sunday 6 January (except for Christmas Day) during normal operating hours.
Summerhill Waste Management Centre is open every day except Christmas Day. Site Operating hours are Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 5:00pm, with the last vehicle entry at 4:45pm. Weekend and Public Holiday site operating hours are 9:00am to 3:00pm, with the last vehicle entry at 2:45pm.
City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes urged Novocastrians to be mindful of recycling over Christmas.
“The amount of rubbish going to landfill at Summerhill increased by more than 1,000 tonnes last December, compared to the monthly average,” The Lord Mayor said.
"Recycling is significantly higher in December and January than at any other time of the year, but we still get a lot of material going to landfill that could be placed in the yellow recycling bin.
"I encourage everyone to recycle as much food packaging and gift packaging and other recyclables as possible, either by dropping them off at Summerhill for free or just by placing them in their yellow bin."
Wrapping paper and cards, cardboard packaging, paper gift bags and cardboard Christmas decorations are among the festive material that can be recycled.
So too can plastic plates, glass bottles and jars, plastic berry punnets and steel or aluminium cans.
Even aluminium foil used to cover a roast turkey can be recycled if it’s rolled into a loose ball before disposal.
But Christmas wrap, ribbons, bows, tinsel, broken wine glasses and plastic Christmas trees are among items that are often placed heedlessly in the yellow recycling bin.
"Keeping these things out of the recycling bin helps ensure material sent for recycling isn't contaminated," Cr Nelmes said.
"This minimises waste and reduces operating costs, which ultimately benefits our ratepayers."
Other, less-obvious items can also be recycled at Christmas.
Live Christmas trees can be cut up and placed in the green lid bin, while empty confectionery packets, biscuit wrappers, plastic bags and other soft plastics can be taken to participating Coles or Woolworths outlets for recycling.
A survey in October/November of more than 200 homes across Newcastle found that the total amount of waste disposed to landfill had dropped by almost 2kg a household, per week, compared to 2014.
The amount of contamination going into recycling had also decreased, from 12.5 per cent to 11 per cent.
However, the total amount of recycled material per household fell from 5.2kg to 4kg.
"In summary, Newcastle residents are doing a good job of managing their waste, but improvements can definitely be made - especially with their recycling," Cr Nelmes said.
“Getting it right at Christmas time and into the new year is a great way to improve knowledge of what can and can’t be recycled, so I’m really pleased that we are once again offering this important initiative to all Novocastrians.”
The 12 dos and don'ts of Christmas recycling
JJ Christmas paper
JJ Christmas cards
JJ Cardboard and moulded plastic packaging
JJ Cardboard and paper gift bags
JJ Plastic fruit punnets
JJ Plastic plates
JJ Rigid plastic meat trays (not styrofoam)
JJ Steel and aluminium cans
JJ Glass champagne, wine and beer bottles
JJ Aluminium foil (scrunched into a ball)
JJ Live Christmas trees (green waste bin only)
JJ Plastic bags, bread bags, lolly bags and other soft plastic wraps (only in designated bins at participating Coles and Woolworths outlets)
LL Ribbons and bows
LL Foil wrapping paper
LL Cling film
LL Broken glasses
LL Christmas lights
LL Plastic Christmas trees
LL Plastic or glass Christmas decorations
LL Plastic cutlery
LL Broken/unwanted plastic toys
LL Broken cups/plates