Devon households produce the lowest amount of ‘black bag’ waste in the country

Posted on: 1 February 2018

Devon residents produced less rubbish for disposal per household than in any other county according to government figures.

Defra figures for 2016/17 show that Devon’s households typically produced just 4.94kg of ‘black bin or bag’ residual waste each week – down from 5.94kg in 2012, a 20 per cent decrease.

Devon has also cemented its place as one of the top recycling counties in the country, with a recycling rate of 55.7 per cent.

This means Devon is now third in the county recycling league table behind Oxfordshire and Surrey. This is the highest position since 2011.

Much of this progress is down to the hard work of Devon’s conscientious residents.

In recognition of this hard work, the public can still vote for who in their community has made a difference in the Fifth Recycle Devon Thank You Awards.

This year there have been over 40 nominations in seven different categories including Your Recycling Hero, Collection Crew/Operative and Your School Recycling Hero.

You can vote online here up until 16 February.

However, the statistics also reveal that a large amount of food waste is still being deposited in rubbish bins instead of using food caddies where provided.

Food makes up approximately 30 per cent of black bin or bag rubbish in Devon and 23 per cent in Torbay.

Tips on how to reduce the amount of food waste can be found here.

Tips include cooking the right sized portions, using your freezer to good effect, cooking up left overs, and making a shopping list.

In total 41 per cent of the contents of ‘black bin or bag’ rubbish placed out for disposal was found to be recyclable with the current collection services that area offered.

If this rubbish was recycled by householders, the recycling rate would climb to a massive 71 per cent in Devon, saving approximately £6.7 million in disposal costs and £1million in lost material income in the process.

In Torbay 53 per cent of a dustbin’s contents were found to be recyclable. Torbay’s recycling rate would increase from 42 per cent to 66 per cent if it was recycled.

Cllr Andrea DavisCouncillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Waste and the vice-chairman of the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee, said: “Devon residents should pat themselves on the back for their efforts.
“Recycling is more environmentally friendly and generally less expensive than landfill or energy from waste.
“Every tonne of waste disposed of costs householders around £120 and the less we throw away the more would have to spend on other services.”

Exeter City Councillor Duncan Wood, the chairman of the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee, said: “This is very good news for everyone. The figures show the significant progress that Devon and Torbay residents have made in reducing, reusing, recycling and composting household waste.
“This means reduced costs and a reduced impact on the environment.
“But there is still work to do. If everyone ensured that less recyclable material was put into general waste there is no reason why we can’t become the top recycling county in the country.”

Local Authorities in Devon and Torbay will be investing in targeted communications to assist householders on how they can reduce their waste and further improve their recycling habits. They are also aiming to offer similar collection regimes to reduce confusion for residents.

To find out how to reduce, reuse and recycle more of your waste click here.

2 comments on “Devon households produce the lowest amount of ‘black bag’ waste in the country

  1. Jeremy Irwin says:

    Even if we climb to 71%, we still need to bridge that remaining 29%. There are too many different recycling schemes (Teignbridge and South Hams differ in what they will collect for recycling and how they collect it). There needs to be some rationalisation with every Local Authority aspiring to match the best in each field of recycling. So it’s a B from me: good, but more needs to be done to get up to around 95% recycling as well as a reduction in what we consume as well as making it more environmentally friendly, like biodegradable drinking straws rather than single-use plastic ones, to give just one example.

  2. P. Long says:

    I am amazed thar 41% of black bin rubbish could be recycled.
    I can only think it is laziness or is it from properties that do not have room for the
    Recycling boxes?
    We keep ours in the garage, but householders in flats etc must have a problem

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