With Christmas fast approaching, North Devon residents are urged to continue to focus on recycling as the local council seeks to meet tough new government targets in the new year.

Bin collections in your local area. Picture: North Devon District CouncilBin collections in your local area. Picture: North Devon District Council

Christmas is arguably the busiest time of year for families and many of us will be working through our individual tick lists to make sure everything is ready for the big day and the rest of the week.

Understandably, separating rubbish for recycling or incineration is possibly not a priority, but it's never been more important as potentially hefty fines face districts - and ultimately council taxpayers - which fail to meet a new national 50% recycling target.

Picture: North Devon District CouncilPicture: North Devon District Council

Not to mention the environmental benefits of recycling.

North Devon currently recycles 44% of rubbish - a continuous level for several years - so all council taxpayers will pay the penalty if the district fails to meet the target. And that's money that could be better spent on important local services.

Picture: North Devon District CouncilPicture: North Devon District Council

"Unfortunately, people are less likely to recycle at Christmas and we end up with much more waste in black bags which goes for incineration in Cornwall," says Claire Holm, North Devon Council's customer and corporate communications manager.

"But it's important to be careful about what can and can't be recycled. We would ask our residents to take just a couple of minutes to think about their recycling, which will be great for the environment and help us to meet the government target.

"This Christmas, we need residents to check their collection dates (see panel) and take note that we can't recycle shiny or glittery wrapping paper or glittery cards, but Christmas trees can be chopped up and popped in the green wheelie bin or taken to a recycling centres in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe or South Molton."

The following items can go in the recycling box:

- Small waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) such as kettles, toasters and mobile phones. Loose cables (mobile phone and computer cables) can also be recycled. All items should be no larger than a standard sized carrier bag.

- Mixed plastics including yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, plastic bottles and food trays - squashed and lids replaced where possible.

- Glass bottles and jars - pop the lids back on once you've rinsed them.

- Food tins and drink cans.

- Aluminium foil.

- Aerosol cans.

The following items cannot go in the recycling box:

- Large items such as washing baskets, water carriers or beer kegs in the recycling box, as these will damage our recycling machinery.

- Hard/rigid plastics such as buckets, toys or storage boxes/crates in the recycling box, as these will also damage our recycling machinery.

- Black plastic products, plant pots, light bulbs, cling film, tetra paks or packaging film, including cellophane, sweet wrappers and crisp packets.

Food waste is collected every week from the kerbside caddy, together with your other weekly recycling. The following items can go in the caddies:

- All cooked food.

- All raw food.

- Bones and carcasses.

- Leftovers from plates.

- Tea bags and coffee grounds.

- Fruit and vegetables, including peelings.

- Egg shells.

Claire adds: "Christmas is a great time to use leftover food. Can you beat a turkey and stuffing sandwich, or warmed up Christmas pud and cream? It's a great time to be inventive in the kitchen at the same time as reducing the kerbside food

collections."

The following flattened cardboard (with packaging tape removed) and brown paper items can go in the brown bag:

- Corrugated cardboard.

- Cereal boxes and other cardboard food packaging.

- Toothpaste boxes.

- Toilet roll and kitchen roll cores.

- Cardboard egg boxes.

- Card sleeves (from food trays).

- Plain greetings cards (not ones with any glitter or shiny foil).

- Brown paper and envelopes (windowed or non-windowed). You can have up to two brown bags per household.

The following items can go in the green bag:

- Newspapers.

- Paper, including shredded paper.

- White envelopes (windowed or non-windowed).

- Magazines.

- Catalogues.

- Telephone books.

- Junk mail (no plastics).

- Dry, undamaged clothes.

- Undamaged shoes (in pairs).

- Undamaged blankets and bedding sheets.

Other remaining items can go in the black wheelie bin, including:

- Vacuum cleaner contents.

- Cardboard milk or juice cartons.

- Disposable nappies.

- Plastic envelopes.

- Polystyrene.

- Plastic food wrappers - such as cling film and crisp packets.

- Black plastic food containers.

For more information about recycling in North Devon, visit northdevon.gov.uk/bins-and-recycling