East Devon residents back recycling initiative

Waste collection bins

Waste collection bins - Credit: Archant

District council says it is working hard to iron out any teething troubles

East Devon has made a remarkable start to its new recycling service – despite some teething problems, say council chiefs.

In the first two weeks since the service was introduced to 51,000 properties in the district, householders have collected more than 770 tonnes of recycling, which is 242 tonnes more than the same two weeks last year - a 45per cent increase.

The council says it has seen fantastic participation from residents who have all presented their new containers just as was asked of them in the extensive communications they were sent before the service change.

But while the council believes the service is working well for 99 per cent of its residents, a change of this scale has led to some initial problems and it is working hard with its partners SUEZ to deal with these issues.

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A spokeswoman said: “The exceptionally high participation, the new round changes, a high rate of new container requests and the recent very warm weather has placed high demands on the contractors.

“SUEZ has introduced additional staff and vehicles over the past few days who are now working on a small number of missed collections and additional container deliveries.

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“This includes a specialist container delivery company who are helping us to clear the backlog caused by extraordinary demand for recycling containers. Five more recycling vehicles are being brought in this week (July 3) to support our existing recycling fleet.

“Since the new service was introduced in February 2017, residents have recycled so much material, that we have issued an additional 7,500 recycling boxes and a total of around 70,000 recycling sacks since to meet residents’ enthusiastic response to the new recycling initiative across the district.”

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “We are working exceptionally hard with our contractors to rollout the improved service and we would ask people to please bear with us as we work to restore the great standard of service our customers usually enjoy. We apologise for the disruption this has caused to a small number of our customers affected by these problems.

“As always we are here to help and our team of recycling advisors are visiting properties every week to work through problems or concerns.”

Dave Swire, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK regional manager responsible for the contract, said:

“We brought in extra crews and vehicles to help manage the transition to the new collection service and our team has been working hard to put this in place. On the whole it has gone well with 99per cent of collections being completed on time. We know that we have missed some customers’ collections in parts of the district and I would like to apologise to anyone who has been inconvenienced by this.

“As we’ve rolled out the new service we have had some issues and we are working to put these right as quickly as possible. We have new larger vehicles being delivered next week to manage the increase in recycling, which has been even higher than expected, and our crews are now becoming familiar with the new routes.

“I would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding as the new service becomes established, and to reassure them that we are committed to resolving the issues to provide a reliable, high quality service throughout the district.”

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