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Three Weekly Waste Collection Trial

On 21 September 2021, following an 18-month trial of a three-weekly black sack collection, Members of West Devon Borough Council's Hub Committee have agreed to conclude the trial without extending the three-weekly collection to the rest of the Borough.

All households on the trial will be returned to a black collection once a fortnight in October. Residents on the trial will be written to with details specific to their property. Please see frequently asked questions below for more information.


What were the outcomes of the trial?

There were many positive outcomes from the trial including

  • an increase in recycling,
  • no significant rise in fly tipped waste,
  • a good understanding of participants of the reasons behind the trial
  • the majority of participants were able to cope with having their black sack waste collected once every three weeks.

There were very few complaints from the trial areas though some still voiced concerns about storing three weeks of waste particularly in the summer months.


Will three weekly collections be rolled out to the rest of the Borough?

The Council has chosen not to move forward with introducing three weekly collections at this time to all households and will be ending the current trial.


Why are you not introducing three weekly black sack collections?

The decision not to proceed at this time has been largely influenced by expected changes to the National Waste Strategy. This is likely to affect the amount and types of waste collected from residents by Local Authorities in the future.

In addition, there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 lorry drivers across the UK and this is impacting collections in West Devon. The Council recognises the potential impact of making a major service change at this time.

We cannot ignore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns - as more people worked from home and the number of home deliveries increased, the quantity and types of waste being put out by residents changed significantly. We will continue to monitor the nature of the waste collected in the Borough and how this could impact a move to three-weekly collection in the future.


What about the positive environmental impacts a three weekly black sack collection could have?

The trial was designed to get a better idea of how three weekly black collections would affect the amount of waste and recycling we collect and therefore allow us to model what resources would be needed. Unfortunately, while the trial showed clear trends of increased recycling the degree of which is unknown due to results being impacted by residents being at home more during the national lockdowns and the sustained increase in home working since then.


Will you introduce three weekly black sack collections in the future?

The Council has not ruled out a three weekly black sack collection in the future. Once more is known about the developments in the national waste strategy and driver shortages the issue will be revisited.


My property was on the trial, will our black sack collection change back to a fortnightly black sack collection?

You will still receive a black sack collection as currently scheduled on week commencing 4 October. Trial properties in Bridestowe and Okehampton wards will then have a collection the following week, 11-15 October, and then once a fortnight after. Trial properties in Tavistock wards will then have a collection the following week, 18-22 October, and then once a fortnight after.

The day of the week your collection is made on will not change and your recycling and food waste will continue to be collected weekly. Garden waste will continue to be collected fortnightly from subscribing households.

You can check your next collection day here.

Please note your black sack collection will still show as three weekly until after your collection on week commencing 4 October.

We will also be writing to all trial properties directly with information specific to their property.


Would moving to three weekly black sack collections reduce the number of vehicles you need and help with driver shortages?

Not necessarily. The aim of a three weekly black sack collection is to encourage residents to recycle as much as possible as well as consider how much waste they create. This will inevitably result in less black sack waste being collection which would require less refuse vehicles. However it may also result in more recycling being collected requiring more recycling vehicles.

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