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Shining a spotlight on recycling and waste in Sidmouth and East Devon | Opinion

By Will Goddard

22nd Jan 2022 | Opinion

I'm writing my first column for Nub News linked to my 'passion' – the environment, litter and specifically this time to shine a spotlight on recycling and waste collections in the area.

Being both a member of East Devon District Council and Sidmouth Town Council, plus being the Chair of the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors I have a unique insight into the work of the teams in Streetscene and Suez, who do such a fantastic job.

I sit on the Recycling and Waste Partnership Board, which meets to discuss how the contract between Suez and EDDC is going, and gives us regular updates on the service.

There are complaints, of course, but the statistics regarding recycling and waste in East Devon are impressive. As members of the public we are the third partner in this system and we all need to do our bit to keep our recycling rates as high as they are.

The teams are stretched because of the following factors:

  • More properties being built;
  • Consumption high due to pandemic effects (working from home, self- isolation, internet shopping);
  • Christmas-equivalent levels of collection every week since the pandemic started. Christmas week this year was unprecedented;
  • Regular crews having to self-isolate.
There have unfortunately been some missed collections and some spillage complaints, but the vast majority of collections have been trouble-free. This is all done for a tiny fraction of what houses spend on their council tax, which I did not realise before I was a councillor. A mere 7% of total council tax goes to EDDC. Of this 7%, 54% goes to Streetscene in total, with Recycling and Waste getting a mere 26% of the 7%. To illustrate this, if we use the band D average council tax of £151.78 a month, 7% equals just £10.62 to EDDC, with just £2.76 (26%) per month for the complete recycling and waste service. Less than the price of a coffee, per month! If there is litter left on the ground in your street when the crew have speeded through, maybe we could all be a little more tolerant? Sidmouth Plastic Warriors are happy to give out litter pickers to anybody who would take a little responsibility for their road and a 2 minute walk around after the crew have been would be fantastic teamwork! Contact [email protected] to find out more. The massive Christmas tonnage should start to decrease now, so well done to the teams for getting through so well. Thanks to all of us too for helping East Devon to be the ninth-best recycling council in the country, whilst having the number one spot for least residual waste (that goes into our black bins) per household! That is all down to households actively recycling. What teamwork! Lastly, remember that none of our waste goes to landfill - all non-recycling goes to the Energy from Waste Plant, to generate electricity. Next time: reducing our carbon and waste footprints, circular economy and true recycling.

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