Our aim is to deliver a more sustainable recycling and waste collection service that is of benefit to the environment and economically viable

As part of East Devon District Council’s ongoing commitment to providing an efficient, high quality recycling and waste collection service, we will shortly be publishing in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) an invitation for expressions of interest in the council’s new recycling and waste services contract, as the current contract (with SITA) is due to expire in March 2016.

We have already undertaken a considerable amount of preparation in readiness for the stringent EU compliant procurement process, which we will be carrying out in order to appoint the best possible service provider.

The move to a more sustainable recycling and waste collection service is of vital importance – it will produce economic benefits for the community, because it will enable us to make savings that will ensure other council services can still be provided. It will also help the environment by recycling as much waste as possible, reducing the need to dispose of waste by more costly and less environmentally friendly methods, such as landfill and incineration.

In readiness for the procurement, we have also been taking the opportunity to reassess the recycling and waste collection service. We have already discussed contract requirements with councillors, town and parish councils to design an outline specification for the new contract, and we will be consulting with the public to ascertain their views on how the service can be improved.

Councillor David Cox, Portfolio holder for Finance, said:

East Devon District Council regards its recycling and waste management service as much more than just a statutory duty. We have a terrific opportunity here to make a significant contribution to saving our environment, while at the same time creating jobs and making savings to our costs, which in turn gives us more money to spend on important non-funded community services and will enable us to keep the district council element of Council Tax down.

Councillor Ian Chubb, Chairman of the East Devon Recycling and Refuse Partnership Board and Portfolio holder for Environment, said:

Overall, we are extremely pleased with the way the preparations for the new recycling contract are progressing. We have had a lot of positive feedback and strong levels of interest from both councillors and householders and this confirms that we are moving in the right direction.

Future plans for a better and more sustainable recycling and waste service

We want to continue to improve our service so that it is more environmentally sustainable, allowing us to recycle as much of East Devon’s waste as possible. The council’s recycling and waste service is also one of the most expensive service areas we provide, making up over a quarter of the council’s annual revenue budget. To allow us to improve both the economic and environmental sustainability of the service, we are investigating a number of different service options.

Research and trials for a more sustainable waste collection service

  • Inclusion of cardboard and mixed plastic recycling.
  • Addition of a fortnightly or weekly nappy/clinical waste collection service (if residual rubbish collection frequencies are changed).
  • A new improved sustainable collection scheme with better recycling collections and three to four weekly residual waste collections (in locations to be decided) will be piloted. The logic here is that if we recycle cardboard and plastics this would remove bulk from the residual waste bins to enable us to collect less frequently. We will gather data and feedback from residents to decide if this is feasible.
  • These trials will help the council make better informed decisions on the future of the waste collection service.
  • Flexibility – all problems will be approached on an individual basis, with the aim of speedy resolution.
  • We will still visit every household weekly to remove malodorous waste (food waste and possibly nappies).

Why change? Benefits of new sustainable waste service

  • Improved and more efficient recycling service for householders (currently up to 60% of residual rubbish could be recycled, e.g. card, mixed plastics and food waste)
  • Sustainable and environmental benefits – we want to contribute to helping the environment by decreasing the amount of waste which is not recycled
  • Economic benefits of a three/four-week waste collection – more recycling will reduce costs
  • Savings on waste disposal and income from additional recycling can be spent on non-statutory services and facilities, such as parks, leisure centres and countryside, which have all been affected by Government cuts
  • Fast response – we promise to answer your questions on changes to the recycling and waste collection service quickly and to action any decisions efficiently
  • We need you to recycle as much as possible to reduce the amount of waste, save money, create jobs locally and protect the environment.

What won’t change

  • Excellent level of service
  • You will still see us every week – it’s just we’ll be collecting different types of waste
  •  There will still be a weekly food waste collection – otherwise there will be odour problems
  • Support for householders – we’re here to help you

Addressing concerns from councillors and householders

  • Containers – not too many boxes/containers to be used say both councillors and householders
  • Householders want to be notified in advance of any changes to collection days
  • They also want to be allowed to recycle a range of different materials including cardboard and mixed plastics
  • Householders and councillors would like an assisted/clinical waste collection maintained
  • Keep it simple – councillors would like the services to be kept as simple as possible
  • Householders want to be provided with a bin of sufficient size for their waste

Recycling facts

  • 60% of waste in the average residual rubbish bin could be recycled • The council provides a waste and recycling service to around 65,000 households in East Devon.
  • Other councils, such as Falkirk, have successfully trialled a three-week waste collection and are now moving to four week collections of residual waste.
  • Our current recycling and refuse budget of £4.7 million represents a quarter of the annual council budget
  • Improving recycling uses less energy and reduces carbon emissions, compared to raw materials.
  •  Recycling reduces the demand for raw materials and helps protect the countryside.
  •  32% of material sent for disposal in 2013 was food waste that should have been recycled.
  • Recycling helps the economy by creating more jobs locally.