East Devon has county’s best recycling rates – with Exeter’s revealed as the worst

East Devon residents are officially the county’s best when it comes to recycling rates, while the population of Exeter has been revealed as the worst.  

In 2018/19, 56 per cent of household waste in Devon was sent for reuse, recycling and composting – the highest-ever level.

The numbers are up two per cent on the previous year and 0.3 per cent higher than the previous record of 55.7 per cent in 2016/17.

East Devon was the highest performing authority, recycling 59.1 per cent.

This has been credited to the roll-out of a kerbside service which includes weekly recycling and food waste collections, chargeable garden waste pick-ups and black bins being taken away every three weeks.

Torridge District Council also achieved notable success with a 10 per cent rise in recycling rates following the launch of a weekly recycling and food waste service with chargeable garden waste and fortnightly residual collections.

Recycling rates also rose in Mid Devon, North Devon, Teignbridge and West Devon, while they remained static in the South Hams.

Recycling rates though fell in Exeter, down 3.7 per cent from 30.8 to 27.1, and dropped by 1.3 per cent in Torbay, down to 41.3 per cent.

Devon recycling rates – 2017/18 vs 2018/19

East Devon
2017/18: 54.2%
2018/19: 59.1%
Change: +5%

2017/18: 30.8%
2018/19: 27.1%
Change: -3.7%

Mid Devon
2017/18: 51.8%
2018/19: 53.5%
Change: +1.6%

North Devon
2017/18: 45.5%
2018/19: 45.6%
Change: 0.1%

South Hams
2017/18: 53.9%
2018/19: 53.9%
Change: 0%

2017/18: 55.4
2018/19: 56.3
Change: +0.9

2017/18: 41.2%
2018/19: 51.3%
Change: +10%

West Devon
2017/18: 51.2
2018/19: 51.3
Change: 0%

2017/18: 42.6%
2018/19: 41.3%
Change: -1.3%

2017/18: 54%
2018/19: 56%
Change: +2%

Exeter City Council has already proposed switching to kerbside sorting in 2021, including weekly glass and food waste collections and a three-weekly residual waste model like East Devon’s.

A report on Devon and Torbay’s waste statistics went to last week’s Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee.

Meg Booth, chief officer for highways, infrastructure development and waste, said in her report: “In 2018/19, Devon achieved its highest-ever recycling rate at 56 per cent.

“Devon’s success can be attributed to the effective partnership working through the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee and support from  residents.

“While Exeter remains at the bottom of the Devon league table, a further reduction in rate during 2018/19 was principally due to an increase in the amount of material rejected from the Exeter Material Recycling Facility due to changing market conditions and operational reasons.

“While Exeter does offer a chargeable garden waste collection service, the authority collects approximately one third less organic waste than other authorities reflected in the low overall performance.”

The statistics comes as councils across Devon are urging residents to ‘end the horror’ and recycle your pumpkin this Halloween as UK households produce around seven million tonnes of food waste every year costing the average family about £60 per month.

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