Apology and explanation for missed recycling collections
11 April 2022
The senior manager responsible for waste and recycling collections at North Devon Council is reaching out to apologise to residents affected by recent missed collections and also explain the issues affecting the service.
Head of Environmental Enhancement, Mark Kentell, says: "We are currently experiencing staff shortages which are mainly due to difficulties in recruiting and availability of HGV drivers, but compounded by Covid sickness levels. This is making it really hard to maintain a normal service. I don’t think we’ve had a full quota of staff throughout the month of March, so it’s been impossible to complete the rounds on any given day.
"As you can imagine, it’s very difficult for us to catch up on missed rounds when staffing levels aren’t returning to normal and I think all local councils are struggling to maintain a basic recycling service at the moment. What we are focusing on each day now is trying to prioritise areas that have had consecutive missed collections and we are already asking crews to start rounds in reverse where possible, so the same addresses aren’t missed again.
"With food waste, if it has been out for over a week, then customers can put it in with their black bin waste, as long as it’s in a bag. I know this isn’t ideal, but at least it gets any rotting food off the streets. All black bin, non-recyclable waste is now transferred to an energy recovery centre in Cornwall and used as fuel to generate electricity. Our food waste goes to a biogas plant near Tiverton and is used for biogas production, so no food waste, black bag refuse or any other materials we collect will end up in landfill. Also, if people’s plastic or glass is overflowing, then they can take it to bottle banks or the recycling centres in Ilfracombe, South Molton or Barnstaple. I appreciate not everyone has capacity to do this, but it is an option for people if they can get to these facilities.
"We are so grateful that most people are very understanding of the issues and support the crews. We understand how frustrating it can be but unfortunately a small minority are being extremely abusive to our staff out on the ground, on the phones and on social media which is unacceptable and does nothing to help the situation.
"We are really sorry for the missed collections, please be assured that we are trying to deliver the best service possible at a time when we are struggling for resources."