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Three-Weekly Black Sack Collection Will Not Be Rolled Out Across Borough

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.

Black Bag Waste

This means returning all households in West Devon to a collection once a fortnight from October. Everyone taking part in the trial will now be contacted to let them know their three-weekly black sack collection will now be collected every fortnight.

The trial, which started in February 2020, was designed to provide the Council with information so that they could decide if the three-weekly collection should be rolled out across the whole Borough. In other areas of the UK this approach has been shown to increase recycling. Reducing black sack waste and increasing recycling is in line with the Council's Climate Change aims.

The findings from the trial suggest that residents themselves would not be against three-weekly black sack collections if they were to be introduced at a future date.

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.

The Council would like to extend their sincere thanks to the 1,000 residents in the wards of Bridestowe, Okehampton North, Okehampton South and Tavistock South East who have taken part during the trial. 

West Devon Borough Council's, Lead Member for Natural Environment, Cllr Lynn Daniel, said: "This trial has been very useful and has provided us with some helpful data, despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic's lockdowns.

"We know for instance that there was a clear correlation between the reduction in the amount of black sack residual waste and the increase in recycling. This is exactly what we want to see happening and is completely in line with where we want to go with our Climate Change Plan.

"Unfortunately, due to the extreme shortage nationally of lorry drivers and the expected changes to the National Waste Strategy, it really would not be the right time to start having a major shift of our waste rounds, so we will revisit this in the future when the time and conditions are right.

"We really want to express our thanks to the residents who have taken the time and effort to feedback their experiences of the trial. Their input is invaluable and we really do appreciate their help. It has all been worthwhile and we've learnt a lot from the exercise, which we can use to build upon in the future, so thank you.

"Our current recycling rate is 55% but we know that a lot of waste being put into black sacks can be recycled and we urge residents to recheck what can go into the boxes or white sacks." 

Issued 22 September 2021

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