Gifts wrapped in recyclable brown paper with baubles and sprigs of fir tree Gifts wrapped in recyclable brown paper with baubles and sprigs of fir tree

All you need to know about waste and recycling over the holiday season

Your one-stop-shop for seasonal waste and recycling details to ease the holiday stress.

Bank holidays and revised collections

We collect on every Bank Holiday throughout the year, except for on the 25th, 26th December and 1st January. But don’t worry, we’ll be working three extra Saturdays to catch up – the 2nd, 9th and 16th January.

This means that you will have collections on a different day than normal between Friday 25th December and Saturday 16th January. Please check your collection calendar for your revised collection dates in December and January.

Residents Christmas trees will be collected for free again this year. Collections will take place between Tuesday 12th January and Friday 22nd January. Please check your collection calendar for your tree collection date.

Your 2020 – 2021 Collections Calendar

Your waste and recycling collection calendar is available to download from our website or you can find out which calendar you need by putting your address into the Bristol City Council website.

If you are visually impaired or have a special request you will need to contact Bristol City Council on 0117 922 2100.

Download your collection calendar

Bulky and Garden Waste

Due to the demand for garden waste collections being minimal at this time of year, we will be temporarily suspending the service over the holiday period. There will be no garden waste or bulky waste collections between Friday 25th December and Friday 23rd January. We believe our valuable resources will be put to better use, to help us manage the increased volume recycling we see over the holidays; including enabling us to continue to collect Christmas trees from households across the city free of charge.

Residents can continue to take garden waste to one of our Household Reuse and Recycling Centres, compost it at home or wait for the next scheduled collection. You can find out when your next collection will be by visiting Bristol City Council’s the council’s handy collection day finder.

Household Reuse and Recycling Centres

If you’re making extra room at home and need to get rid of some of those larger items, or if you have an excess of packaging that won’t fit in your recycling boxes, then please take it to your nearest Household Reuse and Recycling Centre. Please note that while our sites are open every Bank Holiday throughout the year, they will be closed on 25th, 26th December and 1st January.

Don’t forget to bring your ID with you as we now want to ensure that it’s Bristol residents we provide this excellent service for.

Cat in a Christmas tree

Christmas Tree Collections

Christmas trees will be collected for free again this year. You’ll notice on your new collection calendar that a yellow tree symbol marks the day we’ll be collecting trees from your home. Please put your tree out where you would put your normal refuse or recycling for us to collect. Please note that trees must be no longer than two metres in length.

Real trees only please – they all go to make compost.

What happens to Christmas trees?
Christmas dinner

Festive food

Eat, drink and be merry for sure but check out our Festive Food for Thought page to see how to waste less, save money and make sure that any unavoidable food waste goes in your brown food waste bins. Food waste is a valuable resource for Bristol and is transformed in to energy to help power our city.

Festive Food
Pile of Christmas cards

Can you recycle your holiday cards?

Having had your annual ‘by post’ contact with some of your family, friends and possibly long-lost pals, put your cards in the green recycling box and let them live on becoming new paper, or packaging – maybe even next year’s present wrapping!

We don’t take cards with glitter on as this contaminates the recycling stream. You can tear the front (glittery part) of the card off and put this in your wheelie bin and put the back cardboard part can go in the blue bag or recycling box

On the topic of cardboard…gifts inevitably include packaging, much of which is cardboard. Please remove tape and stickers and flatten or fold your cardboard so it fits inside your blue bag. This ensures the cardboard will fit into the compartment in our recycling trucks.

Make your cards into gift tags
Presents wrapped in brown paper and reused gift tags

What to do with wrapping paper?

Unfortunately, we are unable to recycle your wrapping paper because most of it has either a plastic or foil coating and that would mean it would spoil our whole paper stream. Please place in your black wheelie bin instead.

Or you can get creative with present wrapping with some fantastic alternative uses for wrapping paper. Who doesn’t love bunting and bows?

Just a thought… why not choose to wrap the pressies you give this year in something recyclable? You could use bright material, brown paper or even a colourful magazine – all of which can be recycled!

Fairy lights in a window

Fun with Fairy Lights!

We’ve all been there. Finally dug out the fairy lights to adorn your tree and they aren’t working. If it’s not just as simple as needing a new bulb, please don’t throw them in your black wheelie bin, or they will end up in landfill. Pop them in a clear bag in your black recycling box or take them to one of our household waste recycling centres and do your bit to remove them from the waste stream.

Final festive tips

Make your unwanted ‘presents’ felt

Didn’t like or use what granny gave you last year? That knitted jumper Aunty Sue gave you not your style? Why not re-gift it to someone who will? Alternatively, there are plenty of charity shops to donate them to so others can feel the love.

Battery Power

Overused the remote this festive season? Kids drained their gadgets? Please put your used batteries out for recycling in the black box. So that these don’t get in with any other recyclable materials it would be amazing if you could put them in a clear plastic bag so they are easily identifiable.

Thanks for checking out our festive tips and above all have a lovely break!