Next week West Devon Councillors will be discussing whether to make changes to the waste and recycling service.

Waste Vehicle

The changes which are being proposed will enable residents to recycle more and do their part to avert the global climate change and biodiversity emergency.

Climate change and biodiversity loss are hot topics in West Devon at the moment, with the Council recently passing a motion which recognises the urgency of the global situation.

One of the easiest things that residents can do to help is to put less waste in black sacks and recycle more.

The proposals being discussed this week are aimed at increasing the amount of waste that is recycled: more items will be collected for recycling from the kerbside, such as plastic pots, tubs, trays and printer cartridges, along with foil and cardboard drinks containers.

By recycling these items, residents will see a dramatic fall in the amount of waste in their black sacks. This is proposed to start in October this year. In the meantime residents can already make a difference by ensuring all food waste is put into the kerbside caddies as this waste makes up almost a quarter of all the waste in black sacks.

Cllr Caroline Mott, West Devon Borough Council's Lead Member for the Environment said: "For some time now residents have been asking us to take more recycling from the kerbside and I would like to bring this forward, as soon as is possible. The changes being discussed at West Devon prioritise recycling over waste." 

These could include a trial for 1000 households from November, where the food and recycling is collected weekly from the kerbside and the black bags are collected every three weeks.

Jane Savage, Waste and Recycling Commissioning Manager said: "We have seen in other areas of the country where this has been done, that the environmental benefits are huge, as the amount of recycling goes up dramatically and the amount of non-recyclable waste falls.   Understandably there may be an initial fear when we start talking about reducing the frequency of black sack collections.  This was also the case in East Devon when they reduced the frequency of their black sack collection 3 years ago.  But the positive effect on the environment and the change in residents attitudes towards recycling in East Devon has been dramatic".

Latest figures for recycling in East Devon now show that residents are recycling an average of 60 per cent of their waste every week - the target that the Government says councils should be hitting by 2030.

West Devon is currently recycling around 51% of its waste.  West Devon used to be top of the table but have now been over taken by other Councils who have changed the focus from waste collection to recycling.

Cllr Mott added: "We know that we could recycle nearly half of the waste that currently goes into black sacks  and half of this is food waste. We intend to do everything we can to make it easier for residents to recycle this and other items."

The discussion by the Hub Committee will take place at Kilworthy Park on Tuesday 4th June.