Cllr David Harvey – Lead Councillor for City Management said
“Our thanks to all the Citizens of Exeter who consistently throw out significantly less waste than most other areas. We currently generate the 7th lowest level of waste per person in the Country.
It will be soon be even better when food and glass kerbside recycling is introduced not only will Exeter have a brilliantly low level of waste produced per household we will also have a fantastic recycling rate as well.”
“Whether it’s adopting new habits to reduce waste or remembering to recycle more items more often, we should be proud of our achievements.” he added.
Its important to remember lowering the environmental impact or the waste we produce has three main aspects Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reducing overall waste is the most important part, and is a key target all authorities strive for. This where Exeter leads the way it has the 7th lowest level in the Country and significantly less than the other Councils in Devon.
People may try to undermine the work we all do and focus only on the recycling rate. This is important and the Council takes it very seriously, more below, but we should still be proud of ourselves as a City. The equation is simple if we produce less waste it reduces the problem throughout all of the other stages of waste management including recycling.
Exeter was the highest performing Devon authority in 1995 so set the trend for others to follow and established the Material Recycling Facility (MRF) on Marsh Barton in 2001 responding to a need for recycling capacity in Devon. The MRF has proved to be a fantastic investment, not just for the City but for wider region. One example is that our MRF is able to recycle a wider range of plastic grading than most of its competitors and it now accepts materials from other Devon authorities helping to increase their recycling levels. Its impressive to learn that just from what is collected in Exeter the MRF processed 3,438 tonnes last year!
But over the last few years as other authorities have introduced separate food waste collections and rolled out new services the City recycling rate has suffered in comparison and has been dropping. Despite these challenges, Exeter has ambitious plans to introduce kerbside food and glass collections, which will also enable a reduction in residual waste collection frequency, further boosting recycling participation and performance.
A study of what goes into Devon’s bins showed that a large part of it is food waste, around 30% on average. So its the next significant step in the Councils recycling services. Food waste collection has been a key aim of the City Council for some time and is really starting to take shape. Of course it needs to be environmentally and financially sustainable but the design of the new service is finally nearing completion. Once collection of food is added to the mix of recycling collected the council will be boosted significantly.