Recycling rates rise in Teignbridge

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RECYCLING rates in Teignbridge are rising – bucking the national trend.

National recycling rates dropped from 44.9 per cent to 44.3 per cent in 2015/16, but the numbers in Teignbridge rose from 53.7 per cent to 54.3 per cent. And newly released figures show recycling rates are set to rise to 56.1 per cent for 2016/17.

The improved recycling rates have come about since Teignbridge invested millions of pounds in the expansion of Newton Abbot’s recycling centre, the procurement of new vehicles and changes to the garden waste service, as a reaction to a drop in recycling in the district.

In 2012/13, recycling rates were 56.4 per cent and Teignbridge were in the top 10 councils in the country.

The council has now dropped to 28th, but rose from 33rd last year, and are confident that they can become the best in Devon and achieve their ambitious target of 60 per cent by 2018/19 under their Clean Scene project.

Chris Braines, waste and cleansing manager, told councillors on Monday: “Teignbridge is in the top 12 per cent in the national table and third in the South West, and we are proud of our recycling rates.

“Nationally recycling rates are falling, but encouragingly, Teignbridge was one of the few Devon authorities to show an improved recycling rate, despite the delay to roll out the new service.

“The introduction of the new recycling service should be considered a great success for the council. The council is now well placed to provide an efficient, cost effective, high performing and reliable recycling service to an increasing population going forward.”

Cllr Alistair Dewhirst did raise concerns that since 2012/13, recycling rates in the district had fallen from 56.4 per cent to 56.1 per currently.

He said: “All we have been doing in the last five years is getting back to where we were and the position that he had.

“In 2011/12 we were in the top 10 in the UK and now we are 28t.h. If that is not dropping like a stone, then I don’t know what is.”

But Cllr Mike Haines, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, said: “Since the investment of millions of pounds in recycling, we have seen improvements. Teignbridge Council has not ‘dropped like a stone’ since the investment was made and recycling rates have risen.”

Mr Braines also confirmed that the operational difficulties over the Christmas period which led to residents not having their rubbish collected have returned to normal.

He said: “There were four per cent of collections that were day late. These were prioritised the following day.

“There were 50 per cent less reports this year of missed collections and some routes could not be completed for outside reasons. Everything is now back to normal.”

Cllr Dewhirst said: “We should have taken into account the fact that there would be a large increase in waste over the Christmas period.”

But Cllr Haines said “I was in that four per cent and I was not inconvenienced at all.”

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