Christmas 2020

Recycle for Scilly this Christmas

The waste & recycling team have pulled together some information to help you reduce waste and recycle more this Christmas, as well as the usual information on changes to collections and site opening times.

We hope you find this information useful but please contact or call 01720 424450 (voicemail only) if you have further enquiries. 


Changes to Collection Days


Porthmellon Waste and Recycling Centre Christmas Opening Times


What can I recycle?

Christmas trees

This service is for residential properties only from 5th January 2021

Householders on St Marys can recycle their real Christmas trees at by either:

  • Contacting one of the local haulage companies and arranging collection for £5.00 per tree, with no additional waste disposal fee.
  • Or by bringing your tree to the Porthmellon Waste and Recycling Centre yourself. Please ensure you book a slot by contacting or calling 01720 424450 (voicemail only).
  • Please ensure that you remove all decorations, lights etc
  • Trees will be shredded on site and composted locally.

Christmas cards

There are various charity collections for Christmas cards.  You can also put them in your recycling sack as part of your household recycling collection, please remove glitter, ribbons, and all electricals before recycling. 


Envelopes can go in your household recycling collection.  Please ensure any plastic windows are removed.

Wrapping paper

We can put any wrapping paper that is not coated with foil or plastic in your household recycling sack. Please remove any sticky tape, string or ribbons.

To check if your wrapping paper is suitable for recycling simply carry out the scrunch test: screw a piece of paper up in the palm of your hand, if it stays scrunched you can recycle it.


Over Christmas there are a lot of extra cardboard boxes. Flatten the boxes and put them in your household recycling sack.

If the boxes are too big, please book a slot, via or call 01720 424450 (voicemail only), to bring them to the waste and recycling centre yourself.

Plastic & foil pots, tubs and trays

Don't forget you can recycle plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays - for example:

  • Sweet and biscuit tubs
  • Mince pie trays (not black)
  • Clotted cream pots
  • Brandy sauce pots
  • Christmas pudding tubs (not black)
  • Tin foil – put in clean & scrunched up

Food waste

Many of us tend to over cater at Christmas, and this shows in the amount of rubbish in the New Year.

The best way to reduce food waste is to write a shopping list and stick to it. Think about how many people you will be feeding and just buy enough for them. Remember, if you don’t like sprouts, you don’t have to buy them!


Residents can recycle most household batteries at our waste and recycling sites including:

  • button batteries and
  • battery packs from laptops, phones, power tools and remote controls

Car batteries can also be recycled.

Household battery drop-off locations are also available at various local shops that sell them.

Waste free Christmas presents & supporting local businesses

Keep waste levels down, this year why not consider giving something different? 

With social distancing making some experiences trickier than others, it may be nice to buy the experience now and have something to look forward to in the months ahead.

A few ideas of what you can give include:

  • Voucher for a local shop
  • A voucher for a local meal out or takeaway
  • Charity donation/purchase to support local charities 
  • Membership 
  • Experience days

Buying presents that people can cherish is fantastic and there are lots of wonderful local gifts available from local makers, crafters and much more. If you buy gifts - try to buy them locally to support our local businesses. 

Christmas Waste Reduction 

This year, more and more people are thinking about ways in which they can reduce the amount of waste they create at Christmas. Here’s how you can too.

1. Reduce food waste

Does anyone in your family actually like sprouts? Be honest. If you’re just going to bin them, don’t buy them.

Resist the urge to stockpile in case of ‘emergencies. Rather than over-buying food then binning it, plan your meals, make a list, stick to it, exercise portion control and plate, cover and use your leftovers.

See below for a portion planning tool and Christmas leftovers recipes.

2. Give experiences not things

Make memories by gifting experiences and your time instead - or if you do buy gifts, please make sure they support local businsses. 

3. Be proud to buy second hand at Christmas

By going second hand, you’re not going second rate. Children’s toys in particular are really great to buy second hand, they don’t always get much use. You’re not just saving money; you’re helping the environment too.

4. Cut down the plastic

Plastic is everywhere at Christmas from glossy gift wrap and sticky tape to the tinsel on the tree.

You can resist that glittery roll of wrapping. Use fabric or a scarf, decorate some brown paper, use newspaper, paper bags, old calendars or maps instead.

Forego that plastic novelty gift that may go in the bin come 1st January. Choose the wooden toy over the plastic. When replacing Christmas decorations, go for natural ones.

5. Recycle

You can recycle non-shiny wrapping paper that’s not coated with foil or plastic by putting it out for kerbside collection in your recycling bag. Please remove any sticky tape, string or ribbons. Check your wrapping is recyclable by scrunching it in your hand. If it stays scrunched, you can recycle it, if it unfolds you can't.

Choose rechargeable batteries for all your electrical toys and technical gadgets.

Old and broken electrical toys or tree lights this Christmas? No problem! You can take them to your local household waste and recycling site (just remember that a booking system may apply!). Please remember to observe COVID-19 guidance on wearing masks and social distancing at all times.