27 July 2016 by Lewis Deakin

North Devon considers three-weekly collections

North Devon council has proposed reducing the frequency of residual waste collections, as one of three options to save money and boost its recycling rate.

The proposal – which would see refuse collections change from fortnightly to three-weekly, is contained in an officers’ report to the council’s executive earlier this month.

North Devon is considering reducing frequency of its refuse collections

North Devon is considering reducing frequency of its refuse collections

It claims the reduction in freuqnecy could increase the authority’s recycling rate to 57% and save it £340,000 per year.

North Devon achieved an overall recycling, composting and reuse rate of 44.2% in 2014/15, and the authority is carrying out the review in a bid to meet the government’s 50% recycling target by 2020.

Residents currently have a recycling box, green wheelie bin, kitchen and kerbside caddies and a black wheelie bin. Residual waste is currently collected by North Devon council every two weeks, while food, recycling and garden waste is collected weekly.

Councillors will consider three options for future delivery of the in-house service at a meeting in September, with a view to roll out the changes by April 2017.


The options include:

  • The introduction of a chargeable garden waste service and weekly food waste collection with no other proposed service changes. This option expected to increase to 44.5%
  • As for 1 above, but with an enforced zero side waste policy and no restriction on the amount of cardboard that will be collected. This option is expected to increase recycling to 46.2%
  • As for 2, but with much smaller residual collections being changed from a fortnightly to three weekly, with a predicted 57% recycling increase.


The proposals are based on those recommended by waste consultancy Eunomia in January, which was commissioned by the council to investigate ways to reduce kerbside waste arisings, increase recycling performance and reduce service costs.

According to the council report, the introduction of a chargeable green waste collection service at £36 per year for each household and will reduce the number of green waste vehicles needed.


The report notes: “Mixed plastics, WEEE, batteries and weekly food waste collections mean that the waste that cannot be collected weekly is minimal and can now be collected three-weekly.”

It adds: “By moving to three weekly residual waste collections there is a further reduction in the number of domestic vehicles needed. However, there is a marked increase in the number of recycling vehicles required and these vehicles will be crewed from the reduced black and green collection rounds.”

The report concludes that while the move to three-weekly collections may seem “bold” it is only “realistically possible” because of plans to expand and improve recycling collections in the borough.


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