City Of Newcastle is offering locals free disposal of household recyclables over the holiday period to help them do the right thing by the environment at Christmas.
Newcastle residents can drop off excess recyclables to the Summerhill Waste Management Centre at no charge up until Sunday 7 January during normal operating hours.
Operating hours will be extended an hour to 4pm on weekends from Saturday 23 December to Sunday 7 January to help minimise waste that goes into landfill unnecessarily during the festive season.
Council CEO Jeremy Bath 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,” Mr Bath 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 the yellow."
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," Mr Bath said. "This minimises waste and reduces operating costs, which ultimately benefits everyone."
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 recycling," Mr Bath said.
The 12 dos and don'ts of Christmas recycling
Cardboard and moulded plastic packaging
Cardboard and paper gift bags
Plastic fruit punnets
Rigid plastic meat trays (not styrofoam)
Steel and aluminium cans
Glass champagne, wine and beer bottles
Aluminium foil (scrunched into a ball)
Live Christmas trees (green waste bin only)
Plastic bags, bread bags, lolly bags and other soft plastic wraps (only in designated bins at participating Coles and Woolworths outlets)
Ribbons and bows
Foil wrapping paper
Plastic Christmas trees
Plastic or glass Christmas decorations
Broken/unwanted plastic toys