YOU could be slapped with hundreds of pounds in fines for making a simple mistake when throwing out your Christmas rubbish.
Disposing of things like leftover food and wrapping paper could land you in hot water with the local council and penalised for fly-tipping if done wrong.
Rules on what you can throw away vary by council, but no local authorities are likely to take kindly to rubbish being thrown away incorrectly or illegally.
How to avoid hefty fines for throwing away Christmas rubbish
If you follow the rules you'll be starting the new year with a smile, but if you get it wrong, you could have a rubbish one.
Disposing of your Christmas trash in the wrong way and you could be slapped with a fine for hundreds of pounds.
Several sites at supermarkets and in car parks offer recycling for reasonable amounts of cans, glass, paper and plastic.
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If they are full don't be tempted to leave your trash next to it as you could be issued a penalty for fly-tipping.
You can also be fined up to £400 for dumping the wrong waste too.
North Hertfordshire Council has issued a similar warning that residents face a £400 fine for fly-tipping if they don't dispose of their rubbish in the right way.
The amount each local council can fine you varies, but it's usually in the hundreds of pounds.
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Meanwhile you could also be fined for dumping your Christmas tree on the street.
Many councils offer kerbside recycling, but you need to follow the rules.
For example in Islington, London, there are specific points to drop your tree between January 2 and 17.
If you leave it somewhere else, you could face a fly-tipping fine.
Some areas accept real Christmas trees disposed in garden waste bins, at recycling centres, or you could try planting it for using again next year.
What can I throw away in my Christmas bin collection?
Your local council will also have specific guidelines on what you can put in each of your bins.
For items like wrapping paper, cards and packaging from foods you can usually pop them in your recycling bin – but check the labels first for instructions.
Some foil wrapping for instance can't be recycled, or sheets with heavy glitter or other decorations.
The same goes with Christmas cards and crackers.
You generally want to follow the "scrunch test" for seeing if wrapping paper is suitable for recycling – if the paper stays scrunched in a ball it can be recycled.
But remove sticky tape and bows first.
For food waste, the usual rules apply.
You'll want to get rid of any uneaten leftovers in a food waste bin, or your own composter.
Packaging will have instructions on whether it should go in a recycling bin or not.
Some supermarkets like Tesco offer recycling for soft packaging that isn't collected by council recycling, so you don't have to throw it in the normal waste.
But again, double check the rules where you live as they can vary.
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