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The Super Recycling System run by FCC Environment on behalf of SHDC is still failing 1,000 households a day according to South Hams Councillor Julian Brazil.
Cllr Brazil attended the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at South Hams District Council today, 10 June, where the "shambolic" recycling system was being discussed.
He said: "15 per cent of houses are having issues, that's 1,000 every day. FCC came up with yet another plan at 11.50pm last night. We haven't seen the details yet but from what I understand many households will have all of their recycling put into the old rubbish trucks, mixing it all together, and then this will be separated (again!) I have asked to see the contracts. Many of you will already recognise this operation.
"It looks like this new plan will be coming to the extra-ordinary full council meeting next week. Thank you to my colleague, Cllr John Birch, for pushing for these meetings.
"Unbelievably one councillor questioned why we are having these meetings! It is because of the pressure being brought to bear by Cllr Birch and other opposition councillors that hopefully things will get better - but don't hold your breath!"
The meeting, for which the minutes will be available in the near future, was scheduled specifically to address the issues with the new recycling system, as is the extraordinary full council meeting due to be held on Thursday, 17 June, at 2pm.
The latest statement from FCC Environment about the situation in full is below, if there are other updates or statements from either FCC or SHDC, we will update this article as soon as possible.
"On 1st April 2019, FCC Environment began providing all waste, recycling collection and street and toilet cleaning services on behalf of South Hams District Council extending the company's existing contract with West Devon Borough Council to deliver a range of benefits to residents in both communities.
"The waste and recycling service in West Devon, which mirrors the system rolled out in South Hams, has been successfully operating for over 10 years and residents have responded well. The new recycling vehicles now in use in South Hams have been in use in West Devon since March 2018.
"The new recycling system which is currently being introduced in South Hams is considered 'best in class' by many other local authorities in England, has been carefully designed to maximise the amount of materials collected for recycling. The system also delivers improved quality recyclate which means the materials will go on to be recycled into new products.
"Behind the scenes this system has been far from easy to implement in South Hams and FCC acknowledge that there have been service issues for some residents for which we apologise. These teething problems have resulted in some residents experiencing missed collections and we are truly sorry for any inconvenience and difficulties this has caused and continues to cause as we work with the council to rectify.
"It should also be noted that the system was designed on the basis of recycling vehicles filling up once a day and being emptied at the end of the working day but due to the home working implications of lock downs through 2020-21 and residents saving recycling for the new system to launch, the vehicles can fill up, up to two to three times a day, so they need to travel back to the depot and unload each time but we are making our way through the implications of such increased volumes.
"We are working hard to collect from residents that have been missed and to collect from the harder to reach properties on our rounds and we are getting there but we would ask residents, particularly those who have had repeated missed collections, to bear with us at this time.
"We have been questioned about the vehicles being too large for some areas; the vehicles selected to deliver this service are state of the art recycling vehicles and they are sized to maximise the collection of recycling across the District. We do ask residents to follow council advice to place their recycling bins and boxes in the right places for collection. We appreciate for some that this may mean changes to the way their recycling has been collected previously but we ask for your support on this.
"We are asking residents to bear with us in the coming weeks while these multi-faceted issues with this complex recycling scheme are ironed out and we remain confident that, once these hurdles have been overcome, that the service we have been contracted to deliver across South Hams and West Devon will deliver all of the benefits promised at the outset.
- FCC Environment."
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