Exeter’s recycling targets going up in smoke, say Greens, as Labour Council break promise on food waste collections

5 March 2018

Exeter Green Party have slammed Labour-run Exeter City Council for their decision not to introduce weekly food waste collections [1], as promised in the Exeter Labour 2016 manifesto [2], and despite acknowledging that it represents ‘the biggest single component of non-recycled waste’. The Council also admit that ‘progress towards the current 50% UK target will not be achieved without implementing a separate food waste collection.’

Exeter City Council’s recycling rate is 33%, well below the national average and way behind neighbouring Teignbridge with a recycling rate well over 50% [3]. Teignbridge Council operate a weekly doorstep food waste collection service. 

The Council say that a range of scenarios for the collection of food waste, considered by consultants, are all too expensive. But Greens question whether the issue is more about priorities. Diana Moore, Green Party candidate in St David’s ward, said:

“For years, backed by support from residents, our campaign for weekly doorstep food waste collections in Exeter has been pressing the council to act. The Council knows that without this our recycling rates will continue to be rubbish and bottom of the pile in Devon. Labour assured the public that food waste collections would happen. Now we are told they won’t. They say the set-up costs are too high, but we remain convinced that long term this would be a saving for council tax payers.”

“Perhaps if the council had not been splashing money around on its bus station shambles it would have the cash to invest in setting up food waste collections.”

The local Green Party also question whether the Energy from Waste plant and the threats of an over capacity of incinerators in the UK is ‘dampening down’ aspirations when it comes to recycling [4]. Green councillor, Chris Musgrave, said:

“The rush to burn our residual waste is undermining recycling. Nationally, recycling rates have fallen for the first time in 30 years. Many believe that the mushrooming of incinerators, which will leave the UK with more incineration capacity than there is waste to burn, is dampening down aspirations on recycling. Given this scenario, there is a worry that Exeter City Council are more worried about meeting their energy to waste targets than increasing recycling. Could this play a part in the decision to reject food waste collections? It seems that our recycling targets are going up in smoke.

“I will be pressing Exeter Labour on their broken manifesto commitment to introduce food waste collections and probing them on how they plan to improve the city’s dismal recycling rate without it.”


[1] http://committees.exeter.gov.uk/documents/g5297/Public%20reports%20pack%2008th-Mar-2018%2017.30%20Place%20Scrutiny%20Committee.pdf?T=10 from page 9.

[2] http://clp.exeter-labour.org.uk/exeter_city_manifesto_2016

[3] https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/teignbridge-to-roll-out-separate-food-waste-collections/

[4] http://www.st-ig.co.uk/files/%27March%20of%20the%20incinerators%27The%20Observer.pdf