Cardboard and mixed plastics added to recycling collections in two trial areas

An improved recycling collection service is to be trialled in two East Devon areas this autumn following approval from the district council’s Cabinet.

Around 1,800 households in the Feniton and Exmouth (The Colony) areas will be able to recycle more during the trial as the council is adding cardboard and mixed plastics to the extensive number of items it already collects from the kerbside each week.

Every household in the trial areas will receive an additional 70 litre reusable sack which they can use for their recyclables along with their usual green recycling box.

The council’s popular weekly food waste collections will also continue as normal. As residents will be able to recycle more in their weekly collection, they will produce less waste to go in their grey wheeled bin which will then be collected every three weeks instead of every two weeks in the two selected areas.

The council is carrying out the trials to help prepare for the appointment of a new recycling and waste contractor next year. Feedback and information from the trial will help the council make a decision on any future changes to the current recycling and waste service for the whole district.

The trials will start in September. East Devon currently recycles around 44% of its household waste and the recycling and waste contract accounts for around a quarter of the council’s total annual revenue spend.

With the ever continuing squeeze on public finances - East Devon faces a budget gap of £2.8 million by 2020/21 - the council will be looking very carefully at every detail of the new contract to ensure it gives value for money.

Cllr Iain Chubb, the council’s portfolio holder for the Environment, said that the extended recycling collection trial was being introduced in response to residents who have been asking to recycle more materials such as cardboard and mixed plastics. He said:

We regularly carry out surveys of our residents and time and again they ask us to help them recycle more and waste less.  Our residents are already among the best in the country for producing less waste and we think this is an ideal opportunity to help them recycle even more.

With the weekly collection of the additional cardboard and mixed plastics, we feel that these items will take the bulk out of residents waste so that their refuse will be far less.

We are looking for support for these trials from the residents in these two areas to help us make decisions on what the service will look like in the future.

Our aim is to deliver a more sustainable recycling and waste collection service that benefits the environment, helps our residents do the right thing by recycling more and is economically viable.

I must stress that residents will still see their recycling – green boxes and food waste caddies – collected every week. That will not change. The only noticeable difference during the trial is that householders in the trial areas will be able to collect more recycling and their grey bins will be collected every three weeks instead of every fortnight.

Several other councils and waste partnerships have carried out trials similar to the one East Devon plans to introduce. Falkirk and Bury Councils have already implemented three – weekly waste collections across their areas, and Falkirk has just approved plans to move to four weekly waste collections.

East Devon officers are preparing a wide ranging public awareness campaign in the two selected trial areas with letters, leaflets and road shows. Information on the trials will shortly be placed on the council’s website –

The council is also looking for ‘Recycling Champions’ in Feniton and Exmouth (The Colony) to assist council officers and help them with the introduction of the trials by giving feedback throughout. If you’re a keen recycler, living in the trial areas and you’re interested in helping out, please contact our recycling team on 01395 571515.

Cllr Chubb said that helping the residents adjust to the collection changes was his top priority.

We will be doing all we can to help our householders. We are also looking for their support too.

Residents in the trial areas will now be able to recycle:

  • Cardboard - Printed card, egg boxes, inner tubes from toilet and kitchen rolls, brown cardboard boxes, card from packaging such as toys and electrical goods, all cardboard food packaging (cereal packets, cardboard sleeves)
  • Mixed plastics - Margarine and ice cream tubs, yoghurt pots and food packaging such as meat and veg trays
  • Plastic bottles - Milk containers, drinks, cleaning and product bottles
  • Textiles - Clothes, sheets and blankets, curtains and towels
  • Glass - Glass bottles, glass jars
  • Household batteries
  • Paper - Newspapers and magazines, bagged shredded paper, junk mail/envelopes, writing paper
  • Metals - Food and drink cans, pet food cans, foil wrap and trays
  • Empty aerosols
  • Food waste  -  Fruit and vegetable peelings, cooked food, uncooked food, meat and fish, plate scrapings, tea and coffee grounds, cat and dog food.