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Recycling News

Friday 21 March 2016

Screen shot 2016-03-28 at 19.38.06

We’re good recyclers here in Exeter. Better than the stats would suggest.

As such good recyclers, you will be aware, naturally, that the EU has set a target as part of the Waste Framework Directive of achieving a 50% recycling average across EC countries by 2020, and that any country not seen to have done its bit to make this happen will be fined. Yes? …No? Well, it’s true.

Accordingly, the UK government has dictated that the UK’s average recycling rate must hit 50% by the time Big Ben chimes in 2020.

In 2014, the UK had an average recycling rate of 44.9% – up from 40.4% in 2010 [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. UK Statistics on Waste, 15 December 2015].

Wales’ recycling rate shot up by nearly 11% in this period.

Scotland climbed more than 8%.

Northern Ireland scrambled up a tad shy of 6%…

…and bringing up the rear, perspiring, panting: England, which didn’t even make it 4% further up the mountain in five years. This is all the less impressive considering more than half of it came in the first year (2010-11).

Wales vs. England 

So, what about Exeter?

Well, it’s important to note that this isn’t just a straight fight between the green and the grey bins. Taking into account home healthcare waste, street sweeping and litter bins, recycling banks, brown bins, and everything that passes through the recycling centres, Exeter’s residents send on average an ant’s hair under 49% of their waste for recycling.

But here’s where we can all be rather proud: Exeter’s average household waste production (kg per household) last year put us among the twenty lowest districts in the UK. Top 20! Or is that bottom 20? Either way…high five!

Unlike most other councils, here in Exeter we operate our own MRF and run all our collections in-house rather than contracting them out to a private company. This means we can sort all the recycling ourselves and sell it for the best prices, saving over £1million of public money per year.

The way we collect the recycling – in big trucks that compact all the waste – allows us to collect more recycling mixed together (‘comingled’) in one big load. We take all types of plastic packaging, for example, whereas many other councils will only take bottles.

There is definitely scope for improving our recycling rate, though. Nearly half the contents of the average grey bin in Exeter could have been recycled. We could be saving a further £500K!

We know that you dedicated recyclers try to do your bit. This is about us all encouraging more people to get into the recycling habit properly. We paragons of recycling can be the motivators here. Let’s do it.

Here’s a funky-looking flowchart that may help:

Waste flowchart

Part-Night Street Lighting…what happens elsewhere?

I have been reviewing Devon County Council’s policy over Part-Night Street Lighting [PNSL] and comparing it with other local authorities.
Last month I was reminded of the criteria DCC use for PNSL, when they gave reasons why the lights weren’t going to left on for Christmas’ Eve and New Year\s Eve.
  • All main routes in the City,
  • A network of walking home routes developed through the consultation process,
  • Areas of high night time activity, like the city centre,
  • Areas under public Order CCTV surveillance,
  • Other lights agreed based on evidence and police support.
So what happens elsewhere?
Appendix 1 gives some good examples of exemptions and perhaps DCC could do with looking at some of them!
– areas where speed limit is 30mph 
This is probably in place – certainly is in Cowick, but only after lobbying by Heather and myself. Could be worth checking other wards?
– areas with 24 hr operational emergency services sites including hospitals
Again, lobbying by Cllr Andy Hannan has covered this for RD&E, but is there anywhere that isn’t covered?
– where there are potential hazards on Highway (traffic islands, etc)
certainly NOT in Cowick
– remote footpaths and alleys linking residential streets
We have this for the one linking Buddle. Lane and Merrivale Road (after lobbying) but no other in Cowick. Other wards?
– areas with sheltered housing and other residencies accommodating vulnerable hospitals
N/A in Cowick, but what about elsewhere?
– Pedestrian crossings and subways 
not sure how DCC have implemented this around the city
I see that Wokingham BC have added bus stops to their list of exemptions – I’m dubious about that one as PNSL happens when buses aren’t running!
In recent months, DCC has gone quite quiet on the actual roll out of PNSL throughout rest of city – I wonder how things are progressing elsewhere in Exeter?