Exeter to introduce food waste collections

Exeter City Council has announced its new plans to introduce kerbside collections for glass and food waste. 

Householders will no longer have to take their empty bottles and jars to recycling banks around the city, as the planned service changes will mean that these will be collected from the kerbside.

Food wasteFood waste will also be collected from the kerbside, in a move that aims to substantially increase the council’s recycling rate and reduce net climate change emissions. The waste will be sent off to a processing plant and turned into soil conditioner and electricity for export to the national grid.

Currently, Exeter residents can recycle plastics (including film and bubble wrap), cans and paper and card in one co-mingled green bin. The council offers a charged-for garden waste service, and recycling and residual waste is collected once a fortnight.

As the introduction of food waste collections will mean that less waste will need to go in the black bins, the council plans to reduce collections for household residual waste to every three weeks.

Exeter City Council’s Executive backed the proposals on 9 July and they will now have to go before full Council. If the plans are supported, householders will be issued with a food waste bin and a kitchen caddy, as well as extra recycling boxes and bags for the collection of glass bottles and jars.

Cllr David Harvey, Lead Councillor for Environment and City Management, said: “People have said for years now that they want to recycle more and for glass to be collected from the kerbside. We have listened to the wishes of the people and decided to bring in kerbside collections.

“We’ll be communicating these changes widely to residents so that they are familiar with them as soon as they are introduced. Our teams will be talking to people about how they store and manage their recycling bins and bags.”

Kerbside collections around the country

Councils around the country have seen significant improvements in recycling rates after adopting waste collection strategies similar to those proposed by Exeter City Council.

Recycling rates in East Devon were seen to increase by as much as 15 per cent following the introduction of a three-weekly bin collection, with residents in Exmouth recycling nearly 60 per cent of their weekly household waste, an increase from the previous rate of 44 per cent.

The introduction of separate collections of food waste in Northern Ireland led to an increase in recycling rates from 42.1 per cent to 47.1 per cent, according to statistics from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera).

In Wales, a number of councils are following the Welsh Collections Blueprint model, which recommends a weekly food waste collection combined with fortnightly collections of residual waste. This blueprint model represents the most effective means of improving recycling performance, according to research carried out by Eunomia Research and Consulting. This research suggested that a move to three- or four-weekly residual waste collections could result in further improvements in recycling performance, whilst also reducing costs.

All English councils look set to follow Wales’ example in collecting food waste at the kerbside, with the Resources and Waste Strategy, released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in December, outlining plans to introduce separate food waste collections to every household in England by 2023.

Exeter City Council has been contacted for further information on its proposals.

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