Superb participation from local community in East Devon’s new recycling service

East Devon residents have made a remarkable start to their new recycling service.

In the first two weeks since the service was introduced to 51,000 properties in the district, householders have collected more than 770 tonnes of recycling, which is 242 tonnes more than the same two weeks last year - a 45% increase on the same time last year.

The council has seen fantastic participation from residents who have all presented their new containers just as was asked of them in the extensive communications they were sent before the service change. 

While the council knows that the service is working well for 99% of its residents, a change of this scale has led to some initial problems and the council is working hard with its partners SUEZ to deal with these issues.

The exceptionally high participation, the new round changes, a high rate of new container requests and the recent very warm weather has placed high demands on the contractors who are working very hard to deliver the new service. SUEZ has introduced additional staff and vehicles over the past few days who are now working on a small number of missed collections and additional container deliveries. This includes a specialist container delivery company who are helping us to clear the backlog caused by extraordinary demand for recycling containers. Five more recycling vehicles are being brought in this week (wc 3 July) to support our existing recycling fleet.

Since the new service was introduced in February 2017, residents have recycled so much material, that we have issued an additional 7,500 recycling boxes and a total of around 70,000 recycling sacks since to meet residents’ enthusiastic response to the new recycling initiative across the district.

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:

We are working exceptionally hard with our contractors to rollout the improved service and we would ask people to please bear with us as we work to restore the great standard of service our customers usually enjoy. We apologise for the disruption this has caused to a small number of our customers affected by these problems.

As always we are here to help and our team of recycling advisors are visiting properties every week to work through problems or concerns.

Dave Swire, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK regional manager responsible for the contract, said:

We brought in extra crews and vehicles to help manage the transition to the new collection service and our team has been working hard to put this in place. On the whole it has gone well with 99% of collections being completed on time. We know that we have missed some customers’ collections in parts of the district and I would like to apologise to anyone who has been inconvenienced by this. 

As we’ve rolled out the new service we have had some issues and we are working to put these right as quickly as possible. We have new larger vehicles being delivered next week to manage the increase in recycling, which has been even higher than expected, and our crews are now becoming familiar with the new routes. 

I would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding as the new service becomes established, and to reassure them that we are committed to resolving the issues to provide a reliable, high quality service throughout the district.

Residents are being reminded to refer carefully to the information they have been sent to ensure they are aware of their collection days, what they can recycle and how to separate the items between their box and new sack.

Cardboard, plastics, cartons and small electrical goods have been added to the extensive number of recycling items that residents can currently recycle which includes food waste, paper, glass bottles and jars, tins and cans, textiles, shoes, foil and batteries.

The new service means that all residents are now able to recycle more items than ever before and the recyclables are collected every week from the kerbside. As householders are able to recycle more and throw away less bulky rubbish, grey wheeled waste bins are now collected every three weeks.

The council is asking residents to be particularly careful with separating the correct items in to their box and new sack. Cardboard, small electrical items, paper, glass bottles and jars, textiles and shoes and batteries go in to the green recycling boxes. Plastics (including yoghurt pots, plastic meat and vegetable trays, margarine and ice cream tubs and plastic bottles), cartons and Tetra Paks, tins and cans, aerosols and foil (including trays) go in to the new green sack. The council is unable to recycle plastic film or wrappers, polystyrene or take-out pizza boxes due to the food residue that may be on the cardboard casing. Almost 17,000 households in Exmouth started to use the new service in mid-February in the first phase of the roll out. Within the first nine weeks of the new service, residents were recycling almost 60% of their waste – an increase in recycling of 15%.

Residents have been asking the council, through surveys, to help them recycle more and waste less for some time and in 2015 more than 1,300 households in two East Devon areas trialled the new service. The trials in Exmouth (The Colony) and new Feniton, proved so successful, that residents asked for the service to continue.

Further information about the new service is available on the council’s website and includes a full list of what residents can now recycle. You can also follow the council’s social media service on Facebook at East Devon District Council and @eastdevon on twitter.

If you want to be kept fully up-to-date about your new collections, download the council’s really useful smart phone app which will send you reminders about your 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.

If you need assistance or advice about the new service, please contact us on 01395 571515.