We have big plans to reduce our carbon footprint and increase recycling rates from 40% to 50% over the next two to three years – and we need your help.

Did you know up to 52% of waste found in Torbay’s residual waste bins could have actually been recycled?

Or that 20% of waste in the bins was food waste, which could have been put into your food waste bin?

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture said: “We all know there’s a climate emergency and radical action needs to be taken to reduce our carbon footprint and increase recycling rates.

“Neighbouring authorities like Teignbridge (56%) and East Devon (60.5%) have much higher recycling rates and we know that we can and must do better.

“We will be developing a program of activities to promote recycling resources across Torbay by educating our communities about the impact of wasted resources and what can be recycled.

“In Torbay, we are not recycling enough, but there are lots of things currently being put in people’s waste bins that could easily be recycled and we have the data to back this up. Three weekly collections – where appropriate - for non-recyclable household waste along with other measures to encourage people to recycle more should help reduce waste and boost recycling.

“Remember, the more you recycle, the more space you will have in your residual waste bin for the non-recyclable stuff.

“So please do have your say and let us know what you think about our plans by filling out the survey.”

The Council’s Resource and Waste Strategy demonstrates their commitment to becoming a carbon neutral council and working with the local community, as outlined in its Community and Corporate Plan.

Key proposals in the strategy

Increasing food waste collection rates which are relatively low compared with other areas will be one of the top priorities, while proposals in the consultation will include:

  • Developing a program of activities to promote recycling resources across Torbay by educating our communities about the impact of wasted resources and what can be recycled.
  • An opt-in chargeable kerbside Garden waste service – supported by more than 50% of respondents to the budget consultation.
  • Trial of three weekly residual waste collections – this aims to encourage recycling and will reduce the amount of waste that goes to the energy from waste plant and therefore reduces disposal costs.
  • Charging for materials at the Household waste recycling centre used in building projects – for example, plasterboard, rubble and asbestos – this would bring Torbay in line with Devon which already charges for these items.

Mythbusting – what we’re not doing

There has already been some misunderstanding about what is being proposed so it is important that we clarify the following points for you:

  • The trial itself won’t be until next year – what’s happening on Monday 28th September is that the consultation on our Resource and Waste Strategy is going live and this consultation will last for 6 weeks. The three weekly trial won’t be until February next year with rollout to appropriate properties later in the year if successful.
  • Regardless of what happens, there will still be weekly recycling and food waste collections from households – so over a 3 week period there would actually be 7 collections – 3x recycling collections, 3x food waste collections, and 1x non-recyclable (residual waste) collections.
  • It will not be a 'one size fits all' approach – we recognise that there will be some properties that won’t be suitable for 3 weekly residual waste collections – these are likely to be the properties that currently have weekly collections and have seagull proof sacks instead of bins – so these properties, many of which are in town centres, are likely to stay the same. The strategy mentions that we will be working with landlords in some areas to improve recycling facilities etc as well.
  • Although it will save money, our top priority is helping the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. A survey of bins in Torbay found that up to 52% of stuff that was put in the household/residual waste bins could actually have been recycled – and that up to 20% of the content of people’s residual waste bins was actually food waste, which of course can go in the food waste bin.

More information


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