South Hams waste service rollout declared a success

Three months after big changes to waste and recycling collections in the South Hams were rolled out, the service has been declared a success.

On 20 November, we aligned the service that all residents were receiving, to make sure everyone living in the District could recycle the same materials, including food waste and glass.

The transition to putting everyone in the South Hams on the new kerbside collection service has gone smoothly, thanks to months of meticulous planning by staff and the hard work of drivers and loaders on the ground.

Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, Executive Member for Waste, said: “Getting everyone onto the exact same service was a significant challenge for the Council after we brought the service back in-house in 2022. Yet it’s one that we’ve risen to, thanks to the collective efforts of our staff to make the changes as smooth as possible.

“Collection rounds went through painstaking planning, a robust communications strategy kept everyone well informed and as a result, the number of missed collections since 20 November have been significantly lower than expected.

“Now that everyone is receiving the same service, I’m hopeful that we can recycle even more in the future.”

Cllr Julian Brazil, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “Our residents were very supportive while we made the changes, largely embracing them and supporting us through the transition period. Thank you to everyone. 

“I’d also like to thank all our staff who have been involved with the rollout, including our drivers and loaders, who have been working their socks off on the ground to make sure the service runs smoothly.

“There’s still more to do – our recycling rate is currently 44.5%, a number that we are keen to improve. Recycling more of the materials we use is important in the fight against climate change, and it’s something we all can do to play our part. Devon has a county-wide target of a 65% recycling rate by 2035, so we all need to up our game.”

“We know everything’s not perfect, and some people are still experiencing difficulties, but we are in a much better position to deliver on our ambition of reducing overall waste.”

Most South Hams residents experienced some alteration to their service, either changing how they presented their recycling, or having a different collection day. For thousands of households, it meant they were using kerbside boxes, a white reusable sack and food waste caddy for the first time.

Months of meticulous planning has meant that the number of missed collections was significantly lower than expected. They are on a downward trend to meet industry standards of no more than 80 missed bin collections per 100,000 collections by April 2024.

The fact that all residents can now recycle food waste and glass means that the South Hams is now fully complying with the Government’s Simpler Recycling reforms, well ahead of their implementation in 2026.

We are now working on making more improvements to its entire waste service, including street cleansing.

The success of the service changes were discussed at our Executive Committee meeting on 7 March.

To find out more information, including reading the full report on the waste service, go to:

The meeting can be viewed in full on our YouTube channel


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