One of East Devon District Council's new recycling lorries.

New service starts in the town from Thursday February 16

Exmouth residents will soon be able to recycle up to as much as 60% of their household waste for weekly collection when a new improved recycling service starts in the town from Thursday (February 16.)

East Devon District Council has extended the number of items that households can now collect to include cardboard, mixed plastics, cartons/Tetra Paks and small electrical items. The new additions mean householders are able to recycle more, throw away less rubbish and put East Devon at the very forefront of environmental sustainability. With recycling and food waste collected every week, and much less bulky rubbish in grey wheeled waste bins, the waste bins will be collected every three weeks instead of every fortnight.

Examples of new items that residents will now be able to recycle as part of the new service include yoghurt pots, plastic meat and vegetable trays, margarine and ice cream tubs, small electrical items such as irons, printed card, egg boxes, tubes from toilet and kitchen rolls, brown cardboard boxes, card from packaging such as toys, clean cardboard food packaging (cereal packets, cardboard sleeves) and much, much more.

These are in addition to the current recycling items that households collect every week which include the usual cans, foil, aerosols, paper, magazines, glass bottles and jars, textiles such as shoes and towels and household batteries.

Weekly collections of food waste – all cooked and uncooked food – continues and is another really useful way of keeping smelly food out of waste bins.

The new service is being introduced in two separate phases across East Devon – firstly in the Exmouth area next week (Feb 16) and then to the rest of the district from June 12.

Residents have been asking the council to help them recycle more for some years now and the council did its groundwork by first trialling the proposed changes in late 2015. Almost 1,400 households in Exmouth (The Colony) and new Feniton added cardboard and mixed plastics to their weekly recycling collections and found that so much of what they used to throw away as rubbish, could now be recycled. The trials proved so successful that the service is still continuing in these areas.

The council has been working closely with its contractors SUEZ to prepare for the new service where all 16,700 Exmouth households will be given an additional 75 litre reusable sack for their extra recycling which they can use alongside their green recycling box and blue food caddy.

Residents may also notice new - purpose built lorries in the area, which store dry recycling in separate compartments. The lorries are called Romaquips and the council has invested £4.3 million on 20 of these vehicles and seven refuse collection vehicles.

An extensive public awareness campaign explaining the new service to residents has been running since Autumn 2016 and includes a poster campaign and roadshows and recycling officers have met more than 1,000 residents at these events.

Councillor Iain Chubb, the council’s portfolio holder for the Environment, said:

Our aim has always been 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. We believe that this new service provides the solution.

We have trialled it thoroughly and with the help of our trial residents we have almost flipped the recycling rate in the trial areas. We used to throw away 60% and recycle around 40%. The trial areas have turned this rate on its head, meaning almost 60% of waste is now diverted from disposal and recycled instead. That’s got to be good for the environment.

He added:

I must stress that the new service means that residents will still see us every week – it’s just that we will be recycling much more of what was previously sent for disposal. The recycling collections will not change either. Your green boxes, food waste caddies and new reusable sacks will still be collected every week. The only noticeable difference is that householders will be able to collect more recycling and their grey wheeled bins will be collected every three weeks instead of every fortnight.

We are here to help our residents through these changes and will have a dedicated team of officers who will be out on the streets of our district giving advice and assisting wherever they can.

Cllr Chubb said although the new service had been meticulously planned, the council and SUEZ are advising that there could be some limited disruption at the start as collections settle down.

With a transition on this scale involving thousands of households, including 119 blocks of flats, and more than 450 streets we do anticipate some teething problems at the start but we’re well prepared to respond quickly to these issues. We have meticulously planned the new service and we’re ready to go.

Further information about the new service is available on the council website and through the council’s social media service. Follow us @eastdevon on twitter and on Facebook at East Devon District Council. The council also has a really useful smart phone app which will send reminders about recycling and waste collection days tailored to your own address. The East Devon mobile app is free and is available to download from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.