Recycling scheme 'already a success'

PUBLISHED: 16:16 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:13 15 June 2010

THE NEW recycling and waste collection service launched by EDDC has already been an outstanding success to such an extent that the current fleet of vehicles has been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of materials being recycled.

THE NEW recycling and waste collection service launched by EDDC has already been an outstanding success - to such an extent that the current fleet of vehicles has been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of materials being recycled.Just three weeks into the new arrangements in the Axe Valley, the council is finding that volumes of all items for recycling are higher than expected, with plastic bottles topping the list.The brand new food recycling service has started well, with a weekly average of 20 tonnes of food scraps collected in the first three weeks.Estimates of the volume of plastic bottles that would be recycled by residents of Axminster, Seaton, Beer, Colyton, Musbury and Uplyme were in the order of 1.5 tonnes a week. In the first three weeks of collecting, the volume of plastic bottles picked up is 3.5 tonnes a week - over double the quantity expected.This additional volume of bulky items (uncrushed plastic bottles take up a lot of space on the collection trucks) means that crews are having to return to their drop-off points more often, causing delays in completing rounds. This is having a knock-on effect on rounds the following day and these delays are likely to continue for a few weeks until the first of several purpose-built vehicles come into service.Councillor David Cox, EDDC's portfolio holder for StreetScene, responsible for the new service, said: "This is the sort of problem that in a way we are delighted to have, as it shows just what an overwhelming desire there is in East Devon for more recycling."Starting the service in the Axe Valley at the beginning of August quite literally opened the floodgates. We were expecting a moderate over-supply of materials in the first week as people would probably have saved up. But that should be clear now and yet we are still receiving much more volume than we had counted on."This means our recycling rates in East Devon will go up even faster than we had hoped, which is a good thing. But it also means there will be a short period when people may find our collections roll over into the following day, as crews manage the extra load with their existing vehicles."I would like to apologise in advance to any residents who are inconvenienced by this problem. We have looked at alternative ways of handling the extra volume but there is nothing we can do until the extra vehicles start to come on stream in a few weeks' time."In the meantime, I would appeal to residents to help us by crushing all plastic bottles so they take up less space. And could they also please bear with us for a few weeks until we have more vehicle capacity".

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