East Devon has highest recycling rate in county – and Exeter the lowest

East Devon has the best recycling rate in the county – and Exeter the worst – according to new figures.

The district has been hailed as boasting ‘one of the most comprehensive waste collection services in England’.

Annual statistics have revealed that 60 per cent of residents’ rubbish has been recycled – but the total has dropped half a per cent.

And while Exeter recorded the highest increase in Devon of 1.7 per cent, its recycling rate of 27.8 per cent is the lowest in the county.

A pilot food-waste collection service is set to begin in one area of the city, but a similar service for glass was recently put on hold.

East Devon Exeter

Recycling rates for 2020/21. Image: Devon County Council

A report by Devon County Council’s (DCC) chief officer for highways, infrastructure, development and waste Meg Booth said: “East Devon now provides one of the most comprehensive waste collection services in England whilst encouraging high levels of participation through award-winning communications and pioneering residual waste policies.”

Exeter does, however, produce the lowest amount of household waste per head in Devon with a total of 296kg.

East Devon has the third-smallest figure at 330kg.

East Devon Exeter Household waste per head in 2020/21. Image: Devon County Council

Household waste per head in 2020/21. Image: Devon County Council

Councillors were told how waste has increased in every area of the county with the exception of Torbay.

This has been put down to ‘changing waste behaviours, shopping habits and working from home’.

The overall recycling rate in Devon is the second-best in England despite a slight year-on-ear drop from 56.6 per cent in 2019/20 to 55.3 per cent in 2020/21.

Lockdown, social distancing and the closure of and less capacity at recycling centres and resale shops has been blamed for the reduction.

Devon has a target to recycle 60 per cent of its waste by 2025 and 65 per cent by 2035. The council wants to be carbon neutral by 2050.

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