Devon residents produced less rubbish for disposal per household than in any other county according to government figures. Defra figures for 2016/17 show that Devon’s households typically produced just 4.94kg of ‘black bin or bag’ residual waste each week – down from 5.94kg in 2012, a 20 percent decrease. Devon has also cemented its place as one of the top recycling counties in the country, with a recycling rate of 55.7 percent. This means Devon is now third in the county recycling league table behind Oxfordshire and Surrey. This is the highest position since 2011. Much of this progress, says Devon Council, is down to the hard work of Devon’s conscientious residents.
In recognition of this hard work, the public can still vote for who in their community has made a difference in the Fifth Recycle Devon Thank You Awards. This year there have been over 40 nominations in seven different categories including Your Recycling Hero, Collection Crew/Operative and Your School Recycling Hero. You can vote online here up until 16 February.
However, the statistics also reveal that a large amount of food waste is still being deposited in rubbish bins instead of using food caddies where provided. Food makes up approximately 30 percent of black bin or bag rubbish in Devon. Tips on how to reduce the amount of food waste can be found here. Tips include cooking the right sized portions, using your freezer to good effect, cooking up leftovers, and making a shopping list. In total 41 percent of the contents of ‘black bin or bag’ rubbish placed out for disposal was found to be recyclable with the current collection services that are offered. If this rubbish was recycled by householders, the recycling rate would climb to a massive 71 percent in Devon, saving approximately £6.7 million in disposal costs and £1million in lost material income in the process.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Waste and the vice-chairman of the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee, said: “Devon residents should pat themselves on the back for their efforts. Recycling is more environmentally friendly and generally less expensive than landfill or energy from waste.
Every tonne of waste disposed of costs householders around £120 and the less we throw away the more would have to spend on other services.”
To find out how to reduce, reuse and recycle more of your waste click here.