Swindon Council and local charities are reminding residents to make sure they recycle waste and unwanted items over the festive period. David Wiles reports CHRISTMAS and New Year may be a time of indulgence, but it needn’t be a time of waste. Once all the food has been devoured, the presents unwrapped and the tree taken down, there is always a lot of waste packaging and other unwanted or old items. However, instead of throwing it in the bin, residents are being urged to recycle more waste to benefit the environment and local charities, and also to save public funds in reduced landfill charges. During the 12 days of Christmas, the amount of domestic waste created in the UK increases by three million tonnes, but lots of it can be recycled or, if it’s still useable, given to local charities. Swindon Council will continue to collect all the normal items over the festive period, including all plastics, wrapping paper and Christmas cards, although foil wrapping paper is not recyclable. Real Christmas trees can be left out on scheduled green waste collection days. Once collected from the kerbside, trees are taken to a local composting site and turned into soil improver, which could be used to grow more Christmas trees next year. Old TVs, computers, DVD players and other electrical items can be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre, in Cheney Manor, where many other types of waste can also be recycled. Coun Fionuala Foley, cabinet member for Streetsmart and corporate services, said that if they have extra pots and cans, residents can pick up another recycling box free-of-charge at the Household Waste Recycling Centre or simply leave them outside in a crate. She said: “My main message is please just to recycle like you do every week and just at this time of year remember we will take all the plastic bits and we will take all your cardboard. Just cut it down to size for us please. Don’t put out the big boxes next to your recycling because it won’t go into the lorry.” This month, Swindon Council is piloting a scheme in Chiseldon to collect Tetra Paks – drinks cartons which can currently be recycled at some supermarket car parks – as well as batteries and small hand-held electrical items, such as mobile phones, hairdryers and shavers. If all goes well, the council plans to roll it out across the borough in the new year. The Christian charity Storehouse, in Gorse Hill, is seeking donations of any quality, unused items which it can sell in its charity shop at 164 Cricklade Road, or give away to needy people. Pastor Dick Denyer, the charity’s director, said: “I think the overall message is don’t throw it away, forward it on to someone that can use it so it’s not wasted. “We’re happy to receive anything really. Certainly items of furniture are always very useful. We always seem to get plenty of clothing coming in.” The shop is open for donations from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Monday to Saturday, except on Wednesdays when it closes at 1pm. To arrange for old furniture to be picked up, call 01793 610603. The Swindon Foodbank is also appealing for donations of surplus Christmas food – ideally tinned and dried goods – which can be handed out to people in crisis this Christmas. Last year there was such a large response that the donated items were not fully shifted until Easter. Lee Thompson, the project manager, said: “If anyone wishes to donate Christmas surplus food, obviously as long as it has got a reasonable shelf life and hasn’t been opened, we’re more than happy to accept it. “People are incredibly generous around Christmas. Last year, just before I joined Food Bank, I spent some time working on a voluntary basis just to see what Christmas was like and it just amazed me.” Food can be dropped off at St John’s Church Hall, in Whitbourne Avenue, on Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.