Report to:

Overview & Scrutiny


23rd April 2024


Waste and Recycling Services Update

Portfolio Area:

Natural Environment – Cllr Lynn Daniel

Wards Affected:




Dale Cropper


Principal Waste Specialist






That the Executive RECOGNISES:

1.    The performance of the waste and recycling service over the last 12 months.

2.    The presentation provided from the contractor’s representative on performance.

3.    The work being undertaken to drive forward continuous improvement of the service.



1. Executive summary


1.1.   This report updates Overview & Scrutiny on the progress and performance of the waste and recycling service over the last 12 months.


1.2.   It sets out the work undertaken to improve the recycling service and provides a summary of collection performance.


1.3.   It confirms the recycling service is fully compliant with the requirements as set out in the Environment Act meaning the Council is offering:


·         A weekly food waste collection to all residents

·         Weekly recycling of paper, card, plastics, steel/aluminium cans and glass.


1.4.   The Council’s recycling rate in 22/23 was 53.9% with a Devon wide target of 65% by 2035.



2.   Background




2.1.   The Council entered a joint outsourced contract with South Hams District Council in 2019 to deliver waste and cleansing services.


2.2.   In January 2023 South Hams District Council sought to exit the contract due to poor performance however, the Council entered a deed of variation with the contractor to continue with services in West Devon.


2.3.   Service performance in West Devon was impacted when the South Hams element of the contract saw a significant decline. However, the contractor alongside Officers have worked hard to improve the performance to ensure West devon residents receive the best possible service.


2.4.   The Council alongside other Devon Districts signed up to what is known as the ‘Devon Aligned service’. This kerbside collection service meets the requirements as set out in the Environment Act and West Devon has been delivering this for some years.


2.5.   The Environment Act has further requirements in which it sets out further changes to what is to be collected at the kerbside and how we report future data.


2.6.   West Devon Council in partnership with other Devon Districts has in recent years carried out a ‘waste composition analysis’ to understand which materials are still be put in the residual waste that could be sorted to be recycled.


2.7.   Officers were tasked to look at improving engagement and communication with residents to improve recycling rates across the Borough.




3.   Communications and engagement


3.1.   Officers have drafted a robust communication strategy which will be presented and approved by the Waste Working group. This sets out to improve the West Devon recycling rates.


3.2.   This year, Officers in conjunction with Alupro have successfully delivered a Borough wide campaign named “Metal Matters’ to reduce metals from being disposed of in the residual waste and encourage residents to recycle them more outlining the benefits of this. Steel and Aluminium cans currently account for around 3% of waste in residual waste stream that could be recycled.


3.3.   Work is currently being undertaken to improve the livery on West Devon vehicles to refresh the messaging with regards to the look and content, as this hasn’t been reviewed in several years.


3.4.   West Devon continues to utilise tools and online resources such as ‘Wrap’ and ‘Clean Devon’ to deliver consistent messages particularly around food waste during holiday seasons and targeted events throughout the year.


3.5.   Officers have recently submitted a bid to secure funds to help remove chewing gum residue from streets as part of a wider clean Devon initiative. 



4.   Service performance.


4.1.              The contractor’s performance in West Devon since January      2023 has been consistently performing to a high standard.


4.2.             Now the service is stable following on from the contract variation, Officers have now reintroduced with the contractor and senior management a quarterly client/contractor meeting. A monthly performance report is submitted alongside these meetings for discussion to ensure all performance is closely monitored. This meeting is alongside fortnightly operations meetings in which day to day issues can be discussed and resolved.


                A full review of the fleet has been carried out with the contractor with four replacement vehicles scheduled to be purchased this year. This will improve performance and ensure as effective and efficient service as possible.


4.3.             A forward fleet plan has been put in place to ensure that a comprehensive vehicle replacement programme is in place.


4.4.   The KG residual waste per household in 22/23 was 313kg, this is down from 321Kg in 21/22. The Devon target is 400Kg by 2030 meaning West Devon is well ahead of this target.


4.5.   The Contractor has submitted a presentation on performance to discuss with Overview & Scrutiny committee (Appendix A)












5.   Proposal and Next Steps



5.1.   Officers will continue to drive service improvements and work with the contractor where there are missed collection issues to ensure that the key performance indicator of no more than 80 missed bins per 100k possible collections is achieved as per the contract standards.


5.2.   Officers will continue to review the Councils wider waste services such as street cleansing and toilet cleaning and will ensure services meet demand for the busy summer period ahead.



6.   Implications





Details and proposed measures to address






Financial implications to include reference to value for money



The revenue position of the service is set out within the Revenue Budget monitoring report for 2023-24




Supporting Corporate Strategy


The Council has a statutory obligation to deliver waste and recycling services.

Consultation & Engagement Strategy


There is no consultation or engagement required as part of this report

Climate Change - Carbon / Biodiversity Impact


The Council can work towards increasing its recycling rates and contribute to reducing its overall waste arisings

Comprehensive Impact Assessment Implications

Equality and Diversity






Community Safety, Crime and Disorder



Health, Safety and Wellbeing



Other implications





Supporting Information


Appendix A – Contractors O & S presentation


Background Papers: