Labour guilty of green spin and recycled excuses over ‘dismal’ recycling rate, say Progressive Group

The Progressive Group of Councillors has accused the Labour led Council of making ‘puffed up’ claims that Exeter produces less waste than any other district in Devon, while its recycling rate remains the lowest in the County by a long way [1]. 

Green Party Councillor and co-leader of the Progressive Group, Diana Moore, said:

“Exeter Labour are making puffed-up claims about Exeter being a ‘low-waste city’ because it creates the least waste per head in Devon. But a whopping 75% of the city’s waste is incinerated or sent to landfill. This is a case of Labour’s green spin going up in smoke.” 

“The recycling rate is now down to 24.5%, just half the County average and the lowest in Devon by a country mile [2]. Residents are being let down by Labour who have failed to get on and spend the investment that has been agreed by Council to roll out food waste across the city and modernise the equipment in the materials reclamation facility.

“All this means Exeter cannot be considered a low-waste city.”

The Progressive Group also accuses the Labour-led Council of ‘passing the buck’ onto the public for the city’s low recycling rate. 

Liberal Democrat Councillor and co-leader of the Progressive Group, Michael Mitchell said:

“Labour are pleading for help from the public to help boost the city’s recycling rate. Of course we all have a responsibility to do our bit, separating waste correctly to maximise recycling. And Dennis the Dustcart [3] offers excellent advice in this respect. 

“But Labour are passing the buck and recycling excuses on Exeter’s pitiful recycling rate. They have given no good answers on why they have failed to get the licence in place to process food waste, so two thirds of the city has no food waste collection service. 

“Labour’s promised food waste collections must include everyone. We need this roll out to speed up and cover the whole city as soon as possible. That’s the way to boost Exeter’s recycling rate. Then we we can move towards genuinely becoming a low-waste city ” 


[1] Exeter producing less waste than most other cities, new research reveals – Exeter City Council News see Appendix 1 or details statistics. 3,424 tonnes is rejected by the materials reclamation facility per year.

[2] Waste Performance Statistics 2022-23.pdf ( Exeter’s recycling rate for 2022-23 was 24.5%, a reduction of 1% on the year earlier. This compares to a recycling rate of 59.5% in neighbouring East Devon and a Devon average recycling rate of 54%. 

[3] Dennis the Dustcart can be found on Facebook.


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