Boxes of cardboard

Households asked to be patient as crews redouble efforts to collect the backlog

Cardboard recycling has doubled in East Devon since the coronavirus lockdown in March from an average 250 tonnes a month to a whopping 526 tonnes a month – and there are no signs that these record collections are letting up even with the easing of restrictions.

East Devon residents – who are officially the best recyclers in Devon – are continuing their excellent recycling record despite the pressures of coronavirus.

During the lockdown period from March to June, the district’s 70,000 households are recycling a far greater volume of materials than ever before.

Glass and food waste tonnages have increased by an extra 20 tonnes and 50 tonnes per month respectively during the pandemic as we all eat and drink at home.

The greatest increase by far has been cardboard. With the high streets shut down and only just re-opening, internet shopping and home delivery has increased hugely. This has meant that the amount of cardboard packaging put out at the kerb-side for collection by the district council has increased two fold.

The increased volumes means that our partners Suez UK, who collect recycling and waste on the council’s behalf, are having to work doubly hard to do so.

There have been occasions when the collection crews have had to leave some cardboard at the kerb-side as recycling vehicles have filled so quickly. To help this situation, extra vehicles have been deployed just to collect cardboard and residents are asked to be patient if their cardboard may have been left behind. Households are asked to store any uncollected cardboard and put it out over a number of collections to help spread the load for the crews.

Cllr Geoff Jung, the district council’s Portfolio Holder for coast, countryside and environment, said:

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to change our habits, and recycling has become even more important than usual as we adjust to the changes.

East Devon households have responded to this magnificently. The recyclables we all put out for collection are valuable resources and by recycling in the way we are, we are all helping to provide the raw materials to help re-start the UK economy and protect our environment as we recover.