At a meeting of the Exeter Board – a Joint Committee of Devon County and Exeter City Councils – held on 27 September 2012, the minutes note that Audaye Elesedy [of Exeter Green Party ]attended and spoke to the Board under the Open Forum arrangements and asked questions about household food waste collection, recycling and recovery in Exeter, and the reasons why it did not take place at present and possibilities for the future. He also referred to grant funding available from the Department for Communities and Local Government. Members noted the excellent recycling rates generally in Devon and the particular problems for food waste collection in an urban environment and the desirability for more education to encourage minimisation of food waste as part of Devon s County Council s waste campaigning.
It was MOVED by Councillor Leadbetter, SECONDED by Councillor Sutton and
RESOLVED that that the City Council and County Council prepare a note answering Mr Elesedy points which would also be circulated to the Board members.
I’ve now seen a copy of the relevant note, dated 31 October 2012
You may recall that during the Open Forum at the 27 September meeting, the joint Exeter Board was asked a question by Audaye Elesedy about household food waste collection, recycling and recovery in Exeter, the reasons why it did not take place at present, and possibilities for the future.
Members agreed that ECC and DCC prepare a short note which answered the questions.
Accordingly below is the statement in response to the questions raised:
In the Review of the Waste Management Strategy for Devon, the local authorities have acknowledged that the most effective way to recycle domestic food waste is to collect it as a separate material on a weekly basis and send it for anaerobic digestion. it will be an important factor in reaching Municipal Waste Management Strategy recycling targets of 60% by 2014/15, and 65% by 2015/26.
However, at this point in time only East and West Devon District Councils collect food waste separately weekly. Other councils collect it fortnightly mixed with garden and/or cardboard for processing at Devon’s In-Vessel Composting plants.
Anaerobic digestion of food waste is a cost-effective means of dealing with organic waste in terms of processing, but unfortunately changing a collection service to meet this aim can be expensive.
Exeter City Council has estimated the cost of setting up such a scheme in Exeter at £1.1m in capital investment, and a further £600,000 per year in revenue costs [even after reduced waste disposal costs have been taken into account].
When the government’s Department for Communities & Local Government announced its challenge for weekly waste collection earlier this year, Exeter City Council and several other Devon local authorities submitted an expression of interest in the fund. However, the funding would only last for 3 years, after which the additional costs would have to be met by local authorities. Therefore, Exeter City Council decided to withdraw from the bid.
Some councils have added food waste to their existing fortnightly collection schemes. Although this is cheaper than a weekly food waste collection, experience has shown that it is less effective at diverting food waste way from landfill refuse collections. Therefore, Exeter has chosen to concentrate instead on maximising participation in the current kerbside recycling and garden waste collection services. In particular, Exeter recycles a more comprehensive range of plastics than most other councils.