15 July 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Exeter plots overhaul of kerbside recycling service

Kerbside glass and food waste collections are set to be introduced in Exeter, as the city council also looks to move to a three-weekly cycle for residual waste collections.

Workers sort waste at Exeter’s MRF

The move to introduce a kerbside service for food represents a change in policy for the council, which had opted against the measure in 2018 due to the potential ‘financial risk’ perceived in the introduction of the service (see letsrecycle.com story).

Currently Exeter residents have to take their glass waste to recycling banks, but the service changes would mean glass will be collected from the kerbside every week. Food waste has not previously been collected by the council.

The plans are not finalised and will have to be given full approval in September or October, when a timetable for the rollout will also be released.

Cllr David Harvey, lead councillor for environment and city management at Exeter city council, 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.”

“People have said for years now that they want to recycle more and for glass to be collected from the kerbside.”

Cllr David Harvey

A meeting of the council executive on July 9 resolved to make the changes to Exeter’s recycling system, as well as agreeing that a detailed analysis of the cost, health & safety and organisational change implications of the new system should be made in the next committee cycle.

In order to support the weekly kerbside recycling, Exeter has proposed to invest more in material sorting technology to maximise commercial recycling opportunities. It is hoped that improvements to the council’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) will mean waste can become part of a closed loop system and be made into new products.

Carbon neutral

The recycling changes also form part of Exeter’s plan to move towards carbon neutrality by 2030, which the council committed to in March.

The council expects that the food waste collections in particular will help to increase Exeter’s recycling rate, which sat at 30.8% for 2017/18, the lowest rate in Devon.

Householders will be given a food waste bin and a kitchen caddy, under the proposals.

Exeter’s energy from waste (EfW) facility on Marsh Barton – which predominately deals with plastic and food waste – is the single largest emitter of carbon emissions in the area, according to a report made to the council’s Place Scrutiny committee in June.

The EfW has been operational since July 2014 and operates under a partnership with Devon county council. It currently handles 60,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from homes within Exeter and the surrounding area.

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